there is nothing like a little bon jovi song to wake you up in the morning... and halfway to 40, people! and today’s featured gal is perfect for the halfway mark. she is a girl that i have know almost my WHOLE life (and that is a long time) and she kind of bridges my early life to my later years (now it sounds like i am 80 or something). and i didn’t even really plan to throw her into the steerage at lucky #20 spot, it just happened that it is a good time to throw her into the mix...
when i was growing up, my mom and dad had a “birthday group” of friends. they celebrated birthdays together (hence the name). these were also their closest friends. and because this group did a lot of things together, all of their children did a lot of things together. and thus i met meg.
she was a couple of years younger than me and of course, in childhood and teen years that makes a HUGE difference. but then once i graduated college and started teaching (first in charleston and then in gwinnett county outside of atlanta) meg came back into my life.
my mom told me on the phone one day that meg had graduated from college and was looking for a teaching job. so i told my principal and she interviewed meg and voila, soon meg was teaching at the same school! she moved into an apartment in the same complex where adam and i lived and we carpooled to school (and went to quick trip every morning for a caffeine and sugar buzz). that was the most fun teaching EVER. we were right across the hall from each other and then we had portable classrooms right beside each other. it was so great to have a little piece of home with me. our fourth grade (hers) and first grade (mine) classes did reading buddies and projects together.
meg helped me move into our newly constructed home in dacula, ga. i remember us sitting at the whirlpool tub with our feet in the tub soaking them because they hurt from up and down the stairs with boxes all day. meg was outside of my hospital room while i gave birth to millie (she was so thrilled that i had her on a half day of school so that she didn’t miss anything important or have to make sub plans).
and then meg had the audacity to marry a guy in another state and move there. it was all her sister’s fault. she introduced her to this GREAT guy and the next thing you know, meg was married and moving to the same town as her older sister, tracy. i think tracy was jealous of all meg’s and my trips to the ABC store (and that is the ABC school supply store people, get you mind out of the gutter!)
i was in meg’s wedding and was fitted for the bridesmaid dress less than a month after giving birth to millie and the skinny twig/girl who took my measurements for the dress couldn’t even say outloud what size i would need based upon my bosom measurements (keep in mind i was nursing a baby!) she only could point in horror at the number on the paper. i was a bit shocked at the size number as well and asked if they would employ omar the tentmaker to put that dress together....
anyway the wedding was beautiful, meg was married and moved. and teaching was never the same. well, mostly because i had stopped teaching too since i had millie. i did teach part time at another school for the next few years, but i missed meg next door.
meg and i keep in touch, we talk on the phone, she sends the best birthday cards. for about a year she lived down the street from me here in tallahassee. it was GREAT. she made the cutest cookies for EVERY event in my children’s lives that year. then she moved again. and it was phone calls and cards.
in the late evening of february 24th, the day my mother had her stroke, my dad and i were at the hospital waiting for the doctor to come and give us the prognosis. everyone else had gone home... except meg’s parents were waiting in the waiting room. they had said that they would stay until the doctor came. it was WAY past their bedtime and hospital visiting hours, but they just felt like they needed to stay.
and they were right. once dad and i had met with the doctor and he basically told us that the stroke was not something that mom could recover from, i went out to the waiting room to tell meg’s parents. i did this for two reasons. one was because i knew that my dad needed a moment to be alone with my mom. he was not going to cry in front of me and i wasn’t going to break down in front of him either at that point. we all were being strong for each other.
i walked out to that waiting area and saw mr. and mrs. g. two people who had watched me grow up, had thrown my bridesmaid luncheon, had sent baby gifts for all three babies, and had rocked all three of my babies. and i laid my head in mrs. g’s lap and cried while mr. g rubbed my shoulders.
it was one of those full circle moments where i realized why i live in my hometown. no, it’s not because i like to see everyone i know at publix while i am in my gym clothes and haven’t brushed my hair all day (though that is a heck of a good time). i love being with people who have known me all of my life. they have seen me through thick and thin (mostly thick if you are referring to my waist line and propensity to wear omar the tentmaker’s latest fashion offerings).
i know that in this millennial age that it is increasingly rare to live in one’s hometown and have friends like this. in fact, meg doesn’t even have this luxury. she still lives in another state (though it is in the same town as her sister). i am incredibly blessed by this continuity (and accountability, these people watch me like a hawk).
in fact in a few minutes, mrs. g will be at my house to make the coffee for our Bible study group (i am not allowed to make the coffee. i can whip up a meal for 25 at at a moments notice, but the art of coffee alludes me). i am in a woman’s Bible study with my mom’s friends, with women who taught me in elementary school sunday school, and some newer friends also. i know the fullness of the body of Christ. it is full indeed.
there are people who love to reinvent themselves, to move away and become who they were meant to be. i just grew into who i am, i am continuing to figure that out day by day, and the same people who watched me take my first steps still watch me along my journey today. they truly know how much i have changed and how little i have changed. oh, the paradox that is life. the constant mixing of the old with the new. always glorious and yet so mundane...