Sunday, February 11, 2007

Moments

I was driving this evening, on my way to meet a friend at the airport. I had a lot of time to think. And I kept thinking of moments.

In our college days, it seemed like most of the moments Helen and I shared were silly moments. Cartwheels in the front yard of the apartment we shared - putting on a show for our roomates. Costume parties that we enjoyed just a bit too much. Something involving an enema that she repeatedly hid amongst the belongings of unsuspecting roommates.. Oh, my.

Those are certainly dear memories to me, but they are not nearly my fondest.

When I agonized over my decision to marry Paul, which I'd love to say was a no-brainer. But no-brainers aren't so easy for people whose brains always seem to get in the way. Helen asked me "Do you WANT to marry him?" And my answer was "yes." Her simple reply was "that counts." I cannot type those words without tears in my eyes as I remember the amazing grace her two word reply seemed to shower on me.

She was my maid of honor. And the honor, by the way, was all mine.

The time I told her I was pregnant with Lainee. Helen, who seems to have a corner on the joy market, offered what was the most sincere expression of unselfish and unabashed happiness that has ever been directed toward me. It took me by surprise that even she, my best friend, could be that happy for me. That moment cemented in my heart the desire to bless others simply by sharing their happiness. My version always comes out a little more berzerk-o than Helen's, but if you have been blessed by one of my displays of happiness for you, then you have Helen to thank for that.

She traveled with me in October of 2002. Four of "the girls" went out to visit our fifth wheel in Los Angeles. I was five months pregnant and a long way from my doctor. Too bad I had also started spotting. Yes, I called my doctor. Yes, he thought I was okay. Yes, I was still a little concerned. And Helen picked up on that right away, suggesting that we both forego the walk to Santa Monica pier and just sit down somewhere together so I could rest. But without a legitimate reason to do so, I didn't want to rain on the parade. We walked to the pier and we walked to the shops, and everywhere we went, Helen renewed her offer. She knew where an expectant mom's mind goes - even if the doctor has reassured you. Towards the end of the night Helen took the weight of it off of me. She just sat. And she invited me to join her.

The thirtieth birthday present she gave me. A tiny matchbox with a small piece of paper inside. On it, she wrote the thirty things she loves about me. A treasure.

The day each of my children were born. Helen was there. You couldn't stop her if you tried - it's her calling to meet new babies on the DAY THEY ARE BORN.

And when it came time for me to bring my youngest baby home, Helen was there, and would not have missed that homecoming for the world. Frazzled from all the things that would frazzle a mother who has been half way around the world with a baby who wasn't always chipper, I walked down an airport terminal and saw her standing there, waiting to greet us. She didn't presume she could hold Bethany. She was content to watch and say "welcome home." And when she asked how I was doing, I don't know if I fell apart from the exhaustion or from the simple fact that she was there to ask that question. With eyes full of tears, I said, "I am a wreck," at which point Helen could have oinked at me and I'd have thought them the sweetest words I'd ever heard. She hugged me instead. And I hugged back.

Tonight, I actually debated... because it was a long trip and it was late at night (and now early in the morning.) But deep in my heart of hearts I knew that this was going to be another moment. I was not going to miss it.

So, tonight, I stood on the other end of the terminal, and I waited to greet her (and her two new sons) near the end of a long line of others who had come to do the same. First in line, of course, was her daughter - squatting in anticipation as she watched her parents walking toward her holding her two new brothers.

I watched Helen, holding the younger of her sons, as she slowly made her way toward me. Maybe I cried just because everyone else was. Maybe I cried because of how her little one seemed to fit perfectly in her arms. Or, maybe I cried because I know what it's like. The relief over returning to the familiar and the simultaneous fear that everything familiar is about to be turned upside down.

But as I watched her it came as no surprise that, despite her obvious exhaustion, she was, indeed, joyful. Helen's emotional stability, which has always been far more certain than mine, was intact. She was not in need of any pep talks. So when it came my turn to greet her, I simply hugged her and asked, "So, what did you bring back for me?"

After retrieving bags and saying goodbye, I got back in my car for the long trip home. I had a lot of time to think. And I kept thinking of moments - and how I cherish every one.

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9 Comments:

Blogger BooMama said...

Absolutely beautiful...and such a sweet testimony to those friendships that bridge all the phases of our lives - and to those friends who love us unconditionally and unselfishly.

Sun Feb 11, 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

*sniffle*

;)

Congrats on the kids, Helen. May the bonding be fast and strong.

Sun Feb 11, 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Tricia said...

A beautiful post for a beautiful friend. You are truly blessed!

Sun Feb 11, 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Dublin Mom said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Mon Feb 12, 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Dublin Mom said...

I didn't remove my previous comment because I said something scandalous, just so you know.I only wanted to change some typos!

I wanted to thank you for this beautiful post about an amazing woman. Helen has been my hero for as long as I can remember, and is just the best sister and friend a person can have. It's really nice to read such wonderful things about someone I love.

And thank you for your vivid description of the scene at the airport. I'm sad I couldn't have been there, and you really helped me to picture it (I can just see K squatting in anticipation). Did you take any pictures? Can you e-mail them to me?Thanks, Jane

Mon Feb 12, 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger PEZmama said...

JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANE!

The pictures I took were awful. None show Helen clearly. I am telling you, I was a complete goob at the airport. But I will send you what I have!

Mon Feb 12, 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Blessed Beyond Measure said...

Precious post - thanks for sharing it with us.

Mon Feb 12, 06:15:00 PM  
Anonymous mom a said...

I have always thought that Helen is totally awesome, and I feel good that she and Lori are still close.
Congratulations to the entire family; you will all be blessings to each other.

Tue Feb 13, 12:15:00 AM  
Anonymous sarahgrace said...

How very blessed you are to have a friend like that! Thanks for sharing a little bit of her with us...

Tue Feb 13, 01:14:00 AM  

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