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sure of you

I have a lifelong friend. Literally, lifelong. As in, the only people who have known me longer are my family.

I first met her in kindergarten. She has only a vague recollection of knowing each other then, but I remember our first meeting very clearly, in the basement playground (where we were sent for recess when the weather was too bad to be let outside). We became the sort of best friends that can only happen in kindergarten, which is to say playing together at recess, except when we didn't.

I moved to a different school at the end of that year, the first of what would be several moves to several different schools. She moved, too, so that we were ships in the night until we finally crossed paths again in fifth grade when we both landed at the same school for the first semester. Then it was another move for me, and another move back, ensuring that in the seven years of elementary school, we never had a complete school year together.

The summer before our freshman year, the year when it really, really helps to have a familiar face amongst the scary crowds of upperclassman, she moved far, far away, all the way to the other side of the state. Somehow, we managed to maintain our friendship with only letters and the occasional visit when she was in town. Other friendships fell away and new ones started up, and we weren't always so consistent in our correspondence, but by some divine blessing, we stayed in touch.

The same summer I happened to be working as a nanny, she moved to the same town where I was working. We were the only people our age we knew there, and by then we had the benefits of drivers' licenses and actual things to do, which meant a summer of adventures and hilarity, the kind of inside jokes that become a secret language. But the summer ended, and I had to leave her behind to a new school for her senior year, and I have rarely felt so badly for leaving someone behind as I did then.

In the years that followed, we had years together and years apart. We went to the same college and she helped me get a job where she worked. I later had a chance to return the favor. We commiserated over classes and relationships and job woes and all the other travails of being in those difficult stages of adulthood when you still feel like life is just going to pass you by.

But life most definitely did not pass us by.  Marriages, houses, careers, families.... And always, the constant move, from this apartment to that one, this college town to that one, this state to that one. Moving has been a constant for us both, but throughout it all, this friendship has been the constant, the important thing that remained no matter where we were in relation to each other or anything else.

Earlier this week, her daughter started kindergarten. A difficult time for any parent, yet my friend has steered through this transition with the wise and gentle grace that makes her such an inspiration. As we talked about it recently, we both laughed and marveled at how long our friendship has lasted, despite everything. She said that despite all the bittersweetness of sending her beloved daughter off for the first day of school, one of the thoughts that consoled her was that perhaps her own daughter would be meeting her lifelong friend. She could not, she said, hope for anything more blessed than that.

A few days ago, a care package arrived on my doorstep. Inside, there were all the necessary tools of the first day of kindergarten: markers and crayons, colored pencils and watercolors, glue in my favorite color and a pretty notebook with page after page of tantalizing lined paper just begging for my most innermost thoughts to fill them up.

"Happy Friend-iversary!" the card said. Signed, my lifelong friend.


Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes Piglet?"
"Nothing" said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. I just wanted to be sure of you."
                    -- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner



lunch, Lunchbot Duo:

  • sausages
  • cucumbers
  • green beans
  • tomato
  • apricot
  • pluot slices
  • Babybel cheese
  • cashews and dried cherries

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Reader Comments (6)

OMG! this may be my favorite post. how beautiful!

Aug 26, 2011 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterTara

Oh man! I am supposed to be done with tears for this week! I can't even tell you enough how much this post means to me, although I suspect you must know. Earlier today I was thinking of you, in fact, as I made S her first Bento lunch, which included a star shaped egg with star shaped cheese bites as gap fillers. Hee! I am more than proud to have you as my lifelong friend and look forward to so many more years of our friendship. My cup runneth over!

Aug 26, 2011 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterTammy

Tammy: Mine as well. Mine as well.

And kindergarten bento! Oh, my heart! Did she love it? Pictures, I want pictures of these things!

Aug 30, 2011 at 7:42 PM | Registered CommenterBitty

Tara: Thank you! I think it's one of my favorites, too. :)

Aug 30, 2011 at 7:42 PM | Registered CommenterBitty

Sorry I didn't take a pic of the lunch. I'll work on that! She helped me make the cheese stars, so it wasn't actually a "surprise" for her lunch but she loved it while we were doing it. I'm sure there will be more--I just have to plan for time better. School lunches must look pretty bad these days...she wasn't even tempted to get lunch when they were going to have mac and cheese (one of her favorites). She's taken a bag lunch every day, which is more than fine with me.

Sep 4, 2011 at 7:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterTammy

I can totally believe that even her favorite food being served wouldn't tempt her away from her bento. Even if the school lunch looked appetizing...I've turned down free expensive pizza at work to enjoy my bentos. :)

Sep 8, 2011 at 9:54 AM | Registered CommenterBitty

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