Forever friends

I carried to South Korea a spiral-bound notebook with a silver dragonfly on its cover.

My friends had filled it with encouragement and recollections of shared memories meant to sustain me through lonely times.

The love behind their words has sustained me through so much more than my season in South Korea.

Last night I heard one of my sisters let herself into my house as I washed bottles.

My baby was asleep. My five-year-old was so immersed in Doc McStuffins that he barely noticed her arrival.

Amelia joined me in the kitchen. When I stepped away from the sink to make salad, she took over at the sink and started washing dishes.

She’s coming over to lend a hand a few nights a week.

Her hands are helpful; her presence, invaluable.

I left the house a few minutes later, no longer a jumble of too many to-dos and worries about what I could actually get done.

Why had stress abandoned me the moment I heard her key click in the lock? My relief was about both her and more than her, but I couldn’t lock onto why.

I entertained many possibilities, but cast each away as not quite right.

Until I found the one that was.

 

trex selfieI thought of a picture from my most recent trip back home. In the middle is my younger sister; on the right, my much beloved sister from another mister, Sarah.

She was one of those who wrote in my dragonfly book. A few of her words there sprang to mind, and I suddenly understood my relief.

You never take love for granted, even when you should.

Until Sarah, I thought I’d be forever alone save for my siblings, my mom and my godmother.

Sarah was my first not-blood forever friend. She was the first person not my sibling nor one of my siblings’ friends who chose my friendship, and whose love I could feel stretching forever in both time and space. She didn’t care how colorful my mom was, who my dad was, what times I’d missed the mark or what I would or wouldn’t make of myself some distant day. I was already somebody to her.

We shared Ms. Pac-Man and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, happy eggnog and dragonflies. We shared both hard times and laughter in the sun along the Oregon coast.

She loved me for me, no matter what.

More than that, she showed it.

The sound of the key turning in its lock last night marked another turning point.

It wasn’t only the sound of forever love showing up but the sound of me actually hearing it.

For so long I thought I would always have to go it alone save for my blood siblings. I steeled myself for that and reinforced the steel so deeply I haven’t been able to tear it down even understanding, distantly, I no longer need to steel myself against the outside when it’s now filled with so much enduring love.

The sound of Amelia’s key in the lock was the sound of me understanding I can take some love for granted now.

I will be forever thankful for it. I will never take its givers for granted. But I think it’s OK, now, finally, to embrace that I am no longer the little girl lonely and huddled under the kitchen table trying to escape screams and crashes.

I think it’s OK to take for granted not the love itself, but the fact it is here to stay.

To know I will never again walk alone.

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  1. January 20, 2015 at 5:08 am

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

  2. nicciattfield
    January 20, 2015 at 5:13 am

    That’s beautiful. I think it’s the connections and the care that breaks down lonely and fearful spaces. It brings us the greatest gifts our lives have to offer. Those of us who get to make emotional communities and families along with blood ones, are truly fortunate. Compassion is the true safety, i think.

  3. January 20, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Beautifully said. As usual. 🙂

  4. January 20, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Whoa…this spoke to me. What a wonderful gift of memories your friends wrote you to “sustain” you during the lonely times. Living abroad can be lonely. And, how wonderful Amelia is not far away to drop in to lend a hand.
    Daughter and grandson need me right now. I can show up often here in TX, not so when she they were in CA. I’m so glad husband understands so I’m able to help pick up grandson from aftercare where he plays hard :), get started on homework, have dinner started or ready and a little more laundry done by the time she gets home. Most of all I’m grateful to just be present so they know they aren’t alone, the biggest statement of all.

    • January 21, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      Wait, they moved?! I’ve kept daydreaming of the next time you visit here, but it sounds like I ought check that off the daydream list. Dagnabit. But not really dagnabit, because them being close to you is a fantastic thing.

      Most of all I’m grateful to just be present so they know they aren’t alone, the biggest statement of all.

      I love this so much. It really, really is the biggest and best statement. ♥

  5. January 20, 2015 at 7:46 am

    The process of healing is a gift. It hits the heart so beautifully, thank you.

    • January 21, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      It really is a gift. It’s one I only thought I understood before. Amazing how understanding comes in ripples instead of waves, huh? I imagine there are more ripples washing my way this very moment. What an exciting thought!

  6. January 20, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    I love this, Deb. This past year I have gained a friend who is like your Sarah, and yet, every time she offers to help me with Maycee or our horses or whatever she comes up with a part of me still questions, “Why?” I don’t know if I ever want to take the loving gestures for granted, but like you, I certainly know that I will never take HER and the friendship, true friendship, she has offered for granted as long as it is a part of our lives. Perhaps as more time goes on and I see the lasting nature of it I will learn to trust. Sending you lots of hugs! XOXO-Kasey

    • January 21, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      It’s a beautiful thing for me to read this and wonder where you and the friend you describe will be in five years, and ten, and twenty. It makes me think of my mom and godmom as young women. There was a time they didn’t know each other, and yet that not-knowing shaped itself into a lifelong friendship that defined my childhood.

      And looking at it that way, I wonder what Maycee will remember? That, too, is a lovely thought!

      Trusting is challenging when bygone times made it hard, but … it’s worth it, so worth it. Even if it doesn’t always work out, the times it does work out are everything.

  7. January 20, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    I have o e of those people in my life too. They are a treasure.

  8. January 20, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Your post tonight is bringing to mind all my forever friends who are so special and dear to me. I feel unaccountably lucky, too, for the presence of these people in my life.

    • January 21, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      I always stumble over what word to use. Lucky? Blessed? Fortunate? It used to bug me that I couldn’t find just the right word. Now I’m just glad for the thing, no matter what words are used to try expressing it. 🙂

  9. January 21, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Never taking love for granted is something that gets easier as we get older. I think we take love as our due when young. Its when the years go by, we see what a gift it is. Lovely post.

    • January 21, 2015 at 8:35 pm

      Thank you! I always took it for granted from my siblings, no matter how we argued, but … beyond that it was unimaginable. Now it’s not only imaginable, but lovely, fulfilling truth. I am so grateful.

  10. January 21, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    You ALWAYS leave me speech-less….always.

  11. January 25, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    This is lovely. Having friends and family to help and to share is indescribably precious. I try too often to do everything myself all the time, and I think that’s like a stone wall that keeps love out. This reminded me to let it in more than I am. Thank you. ❤

  1. August 8, 2015 at 7:59 am
  2. October 26, 2015 at 10:12 pm

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