My sappiness is no secret. So it should come as no surprise that I have shed many a tear over your relocation. There are just so many things tangled up in our friendship that I feel tenderly about -- like the way you love my kids. (Exhibit A: the picture at the top of this post). And the way they love you. And the way your eyes were brimming with tears when you held Lily for the first time in the hospital. I loved that so much. And lest you think me disillusioned, let me assure you that I know it's not just my children who tug at your heart strings. Nope. I certainly know better than that. It's every child. You know I like to refer to you as the "Earth Mother". An absolute nurturer, you are. A soul so tender and genuine that children immediately feel safe and loved when they are with you. And they should, because they are. It's your gift, (one of many), and it is so, so beautiful to watch.
I feel like I'll have a maternal handicap without you -- you were like my wingman in the Mom Game. When I couldn't calm Henry out of a tantrum at playgroup, you could. When I forgot to bring water, you had a thermos full (and you weren't so neurotic about germ-sharing as I tend to be). When I felt like the crumbiest mother on the block, you hugged me and told me I was doing just fine and reminded me that tantrums and battles of will are standard fare for three year olds. When Lily needed to be held while I played hostess, you opened your arms and nodded your head and snuggled her quickly into easy slumber. Ack. I cannot even write about you and Lily in composure. And to further reveal the extremity of my schmaltzyness, I'll remind you how I cried (not just misted up, but full flowing tears) watching you say goodbye to Tyler, (another friend's baby), just because it made me think about you saying goodbye to mine, and that was a thought I could not abide with dry eyes.
I've already alluded to the fact that loving the babes isn't your only gift; you have such a willing heart for service. At the first mention of an appointment, you offered babysitting. Every single time. And if you couldn't do it, you offered Jesse's services. I still get a little slack-jawed and wide-eyed thinking about the time you (totally sincerely) offered a whole week of babysitting to the mother of one of the more rambunctious children I've known. I could sit at your feet and learn charity for days and days, Ms. Hyde.
And real quick, because my eyes are getting heavy, but also because I want to have these little bits safely chronicled for future reference, I would like to say that you make the best mashed potatoes I've ever eaten. And, I will forever be in your debt for:
1. the delicious bacon method you introduced me to (sprinkled with brown sugar and coarse ground black pepper and baked in the over -- mmmmm! I did not know bacon could be improved upon. I was So. Very. Wrong).
2. the prodding it took to get me to start grocery shopping at Market Street. My budget is mad at you though, because while the ambiance and quality and delicious samples are far superior, the bottom line is harder to swallow than the Wal Marts.
3. steel cut oats. It was due to your repeated raves that I finally bought them. And now (as you well know, ) I am a zealous and devoted convert.
4. and the nights you washed the guest bed sheets and let me sleep at your house when my husband was out of town and I was too scared to sleep alone. in fact, i think it was one such sleepover that sort of put us on the BFFL path. (Wink!)
It makes me kind of sick in my stomach to think that you're somewhere between here and Mobile, en route to Florida, and that you've got my son's best friend and my husband's best (Texas) friend, and my best (Texas) friend (you) in that car and you're never coming back. I kind of want to yell STOP! and will you to turn around, but I kind of don't because like I told you Thursday night (through tears, of course) maybe Miami needs you. Or, more correctly, maybe one Miamian needs you. And I'm pretty assured of this fact because I know that Plano needed you because I was here. And I needed you. And I hope it's not too presumptuous to say that Plano also needed me -- because you were here. And you needed me. And we both ended up here (quite mysteriously and inexplicably, even to our own selves) if for no other reason than to find each other.
And we did. And we had needs. And we met them. And it all kind of smells like destiny, but I think that word is inestimably cheesy, so I won't call it that. But I also won't call it that because I believe it was something more. Something more like Providence.
And Sarah, I know the last few weeks of your Texas time were immeasurably hard. And I know that you felt like you were on the receiving end a lot, but dear, it wasn't so. 'Twasn't so at all. I drank greedily from the cup of your experience and wisdom. And the things we shared gave me more poignant opportunities for expansion and growth and insight than I can recall at any time prior. And it (and you) shored up my faith and defogged my perspective and helped me remember that God is good. And near. And intimately aware of us. And with that assurance, I finally feel like I can send you off to Miami with a calm heart.
But not with dry eyes.
'Til we meet...