July 20, 2016
While delivering fundraiser items for my daughter’s school trip the other day, I stumbled upon a friend. We reminisced, as old friends do, inquiring about each other’s well-being and families. We laughed over remembered silliness. After sharing photos and updates of the children, my friend expressed disbelief. “No, these grown people can’t be your children. I still remember your pregnancies.” With a hand stretched out at hip level, he said, “They must be about this tall, right?” Of course, all but the youngest is much taller than his estimate.
In truth, when first I made the acquaintance of this friend, I was younger than my eldest child is now. My friend grabbed his head in disbelief. “No, it can’t be. I feel so old!”
The funny thing was when I left his company that afternoon, I didn’t feel old at all. In fact, I felt invigorated. I recalled the woman I was when he and I spent hours discussing college theories or swapping tales of esoteric truth. The woman I was in college believed in her power and worth. My college self could make a difference and would change the world. Bosses couldn’t help but recognize my worth. I’d blaze a proverbial trail of glory.
So why do I question myself now? When did I allow the seeds of doubt to take root?
I am not certain I know the answer, but for a little while at least, I wasn’t just Mom whose meals sat uneaten and unappreciated on plates after dinner time. I was a person whose ideas weren’t greeted with derisive snorts and teen-age-inspired eye rolls. My voice gained strength and my heart beat unimpeded. Cares of the world lightened just enough that shouldering their weight didn’t make me stoop. I saw possibilities and recalled certainties, as I did when I was younger and less jaded by life’s less-than-pleasant realities.
Although I expressed my delight when we hugged goodbye, my friend may never know how grateful I am for the chance encounter or the importance of his time. However, this letter serves as a remembrance of the experience. Thus I recognize the restorative power of friendship. It serves as a way to incite a more profound appreciation of the person I was and still hope to become. I take a moment to recall youthful aspirations and laugh at immature follies. After all, on such a foundation, I build my life’s platform.
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