Thursday, July 28, 2011

A lesson from a friend

I've "facebooked" my friend Kathy recently. It got me thinking about how much my friends have brought to my life and how much I have learned from them.  I don't see Kathy much anymore but she is no less important to me. She would be surprised to know how much she has taught me.

When we met over 25 years ago Kathy and I were the only adult wait staff at the Spaghetti Works restaurant. In another world we wouldn’t have given each other the time of day.We are quite different women. But motherhood worked its bonding magic.  She and I were the only mothers amoung a staff of college students. We both had newborns AND we pregnant with our second children. Yikes!

 Kathy was tall, blond, funny, bright and hardworking. She looked like a teenager.  In fact she was only nineteen.  ( I was merely blond and hardworking) .We ate spaghetti together after work and soon had play dates with our kids ( although we didn’t think to call them that then)  and dates with our husbands. She has been one of my dearest friends for 25 years.
I still carry with me her nuggets of wisdom about budgeting  and making a good life out of a little income. But mostly I've learned about marriage.

In another world she would have been a CEO or CFO of corporate America.  Between her pregnancies she went back to school to get her bachelors degree. She got cancer instead.  She taught me paper towels are cheaper than napkins, the difference between thrifty and cheap and how to afford the  very fun things of life like the final four tickets they always seemed to get.  Kathy and Jeff started out young and poor. Two babies came before the first cancer two more after .Before she was forty she dealt with cancer a second time and her son was in  car accident that left him paralized. Life hasn’t turned out like they planned. 

 Kathy and Jeff are still married to each other. They have a good life. They are  one of the most handsome couples I know.  I still see that nineteen year old girl underneath the scars of life.  I still see that young carefree couple full of optimism and joy.  Most importantly I think they still see that in each other.  They teach me why it is good to have a partner to journey though this life with. When Kathy and Jeff were at their altar nearly thirty years ago they had no idea what they were signing up for. Life can be hard. Marriage can be hard.  Life usually turns out differently than we expect.  I think this is why we cry at weddings.  In the optimism and naivite, of love of the young say their "I do's". They have no idea they are signing up for. Jeff and Kathy didn't.  We sure didn't. But I'm glad we signed up.

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