This is me and my bestie at my son Peter’s wedding. The day would not have been complete had she not been there to share this special life event with me and my family.
Patty and I have been friends since we were 14 years old. We were two Catholic girls from large traditional families thrown into the local public high school. Somehow we found each other amidst the 700 kids in the class of ’74. Our friendship solidified and took on a more spiritual dimension when we attended late night Catechism classes on Mondays at St. Boniface Parish in Anaheim.
We cleaned up real well for this picture, but you should have seen us this weekend. Crazy hair, workout clothes, minimal makeup.
Patty drove up from Southern California, sensing that I was somewhat disoriented due to moving in to my new place while simultaneously holding down my full time job. She came to my rescue- arriving on Friday night around midnight and staying until Wednesday morning.
When her feet hit the ground Saturday morning, the dust mop was blazing a trail on my new hardwood floor and pictures were being sorted and transported to appropriate rooms. Patty made lists of what we needed from Bed, Bath and Beyond, Walmart, and (our personal favorite) TJMaxx. While out shopping, she scanned shelves for her favorite dish towels. “You have to have more dish towels and I just LOVE this brand!” She took it upon herself to interrogate a salesperson at Cosco concerning the pros and cons of a set of pots and pans I was lusting after.
She sat with me and “Allison” from 3-day Blinds while I got a bid for shutters for the entire house. After Allison left, Patty was on the phone calling “her people” to compare price points and swiftly made the determination that the bid was much too high! Off we went roaming my new neighborhood, looking at peoples’ windows to see who had shutters. “Those are nice! Let’s go and ask where they got them!” An hour later we were leaving Annie’s house with full knowledge of the guy who did shutters in her last three homes. Not only did we get a great window treatment lead, but we made a new friend as well.
Patty promptly scheduled “Ed” to come and measure my windows and give me a bid for shutters while I was at work on Monday with my homemade lunch that she made for me. When I came home, she presented all the figures and announced that this was the best deal! She had also made plans for a coffee table that I ordered on line to be returned after measuring my space and seeing that there would be no room for knees and other extremities. There were detailed notes on who she spoke with, their phone numbers, item numbers and instructions on who to call if the return didn’t appear on my bank statement in a week.
We sorted through all the items in my china cabinet and the sideboard, giving everything a new home and a feeling of stability. Being that I am the woman with the most tablecloths in the world, I was surprised that my sideboard drawers were only half full. Where were my table cloths? And where were my sons’ senior pictures that were on the sideboard? A light bulb went off- I had packed a lot of things in the old black Amelia Earhart chest that hadn’t made it into the house yet. Off we went to the garage. “Get something for us to sit on while we go through this trunk!” she instructed.
There we sat for the next hour or so, going through my parents’ old trunk, unearthing not only my tablecloths and sons’ pictures, but also old newspaper clippings of my dad’s race for Mayor of Compton and my mom’s engagement announcement from an Atlanta newspaper. Pictures of my brothers and I at all stages of growth. Baby clothes and wedding dresses- mine and my mother’s. We talked about our fears of getting older and needing so much to be supported and loved in our lives. We cried and laughed and then cried some more.
We agreed that we are both very independent and unusual women. And that neither of us is likely to go down without a fight. We both cling to items that bring meaning into our lives. We both take pride in our homes and do our best to create a haven for those we love. We both had as our major career path getting married and having a family.
When Patty left on Wednesday morning, I had instructions for the rest of the week and a handful of notes detailing every transaction she had maneuvered in the last five days- along with another homemade lunch she made for me to take to work.
My life has been so dominated by male energy. My very influential father, five brothers, and three sons. I’ve had many blessings in my life- and I am grateful. And this friendship is a gift I find quite profound.
God must have known, when he scripted the story of my life, that I would need a Patty.
Ok.. I am sitting here enjoying a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon so I guess I am not giving up red wine for Lent. Do I really have to give something up? Why not add something significant. Why not do something out of my comfort zone. Something that matters. Something that makes me uncomfortable or that makes me stray from my neurotic daily routine.
I’ve been toying with the idea of living life with more awareness and intention. Not multitasking. Not flitting from here to there. Not changing the subject mid-conversation.
Living with intention.
So cooking a meal is just cooking a meal. It’s not talking on the phone and cooking a meal. It’s not checking my email and cooking. It’s just cooking.
And reaching for my seat belt after getting into my car is not reaching with one hand and turning on the radio with the other one and checking to see if I have gas and wondering if I need my oil changed. It’s just reaching for my seat belt.
Calling my step mother and asking how she is doing is not just a task that I can check off my list of things to do but actually a loving and intimate communication with a woman who stepped in and decided to love me and my family even though we aren’t really related.
Are you giving something up for Lent?
Or are you adding something that challenges you, stretches you, makes you stop and think?