Moving always gets me thinking about the people I left behind, the ones that changed me with their presence in my life. Some are obvious but others may never know the positive impact they had on my life, on the person I have become. This year, as I moved and turned 40, I have been thinking a lot about the various people I have met along the way. In the olden days, I might have gotten out my engraved stationary and sent them a letter. In today's world, in my world, I am going to be posting these letters on my blog. Saves me paper and postage, and more importantly, hopefully reminds us each of the impact we have on one another's lives because from each of these people, I have learned how to be a better person.
Today is the first letter.
(I could not decide if I should actually use the person's name here. And now I have "You're so Vain" stuck in my head as I worry that too many people might think this is about them. But I respect my friends too much to put their names out on the web. Also, this is just the first letter. There are more to come as I work my way through the many years and people in my life.)
Let's try again.
I miss you already and you were just here. Have I told you how much hope it gave me to know before I ever left California that you were coming for a visit? I worried the plans might fall through. Life does get in the way. And things hadn't really been going my way much in the last year. But you made it. You came to visit me. You spent money on an airplane ticket. You flew across the country. You took time out of your already crazy busy schedule that has gotten even more crazy to be with me.
I shouldn't have been surprised. You are the friend that shows up with a cup of coffee and sits with me outside the library while my kids are inside for a summer program. This adult only time accomplished because you called in a babysitter to watch your kids so you could come be with me.
You are the friend who stops by with my favorite crackers and expensive cheese that I could not afford to enjoy when the paychecks stopped.
You are the friend that does those things without asking my permission first, which is good because I would hate to have someone go out of the way for me, to spend money on me, to rearrange their schedule for me. I fear so much being a burden to those around me. I learned long ago to stop being so demanding of people and to instead make myself easy to get along with. I am the easy friend. The one that is flexible and willing to do almost anything to hang out.
But sometimes life is bigger than I can handle on my own. And you stepped into that with me. You showed me how friends may not be able to fix everything or carry all our burdens for us, but friends can do little things that remind us that we are loved, that life is going to be okay because we get to do it together. Even the hard parts. Even the parts that have me taking more than I am giving.
You taught me that friendship isn't about keeping score. I have to admit that I have kept track of so many silly things, like who called last, who paid last, whose turn it should be to make the next move. Not because I care, but because I don't want the other person to think I am a burden, a one-sided friend.
But in keeping track, I also got insecure. I worried about reaching out too often and being seen as needy. I worried about talking to much and not being a good listener. I worried about not being seen as cheap or stingy or neglectful or forgetful. I worried... I worry still.
You, my friend, taught me how to show love in very simple ways. A cup of coffee. A bag of pretzels for my son. A hug. Driving on margarita night. A few minutes of conversation while the kids begged for us to stop talking. An airplane ticket.
You, my friend, care deeply with a passion and a love that I want to add to my repertoire.
Until we are together again, know that I love you!