Thursday, June 12, 2014
For the Duration
I have a friend, well actually I have a lot of friends, but this friend has been my friend for a very long time. I met him at the skating rink, in 5th grade, and we were instant friends and have been since then. His name is Todd, and he and I have been there to support each other since we met. When we were kids, we hung out a lot. We went to homecoming together, left surprise Christmas gifts on each other's porches, went on ski trips and beach trips together....along with a group of friends. As adults, our families have vacationed together, our oldest girls are best friends, we double date, and always wish each other a Happy Birthday. When Todd and I were in middle school, my parents both worked outside of the home. I usually had to walk home from school, which was a long way, not 10 miles, barefoot, uphill in the snow kinda long; but a good 2-3 miles kinda long....which is long way for a 12 year old to walk five days a week. Sometimes I could get a ride from a friend, but usually I just hoofed it. One day, I got a ride from Todd and his sweet mom Lynn. I remember meeting her and thinking she was about the sweetest person I had ever met. Anytime she picked Todd up, and I was around; she would give me a ride home. Then during football season, Todd would stay after school for practice; but Lynn would still come and pick me up and give me a ride home. She was a sweetheart. Sometimes she would take me to the grocery store with her or have me over for tea while she waited for Todd to finish practice, and I loved it. Throughout our middle school years but especially our first years in high school, our parents became good friends too. My parents adored Todd, and his adored me. Then when we were juniors in high school, Lynn died from brain cancer. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Easter morning, and for some reason I was not at my grandparents' house like I usually was; but I was home alone. I remember crying all day, all week, and thinking how much Todd must miss his mom; because I missed her terribly. Our senior year, Todd and I hung out a lot. We both had on and off boyfriends/girlfriends, but we still managed to hang out a lot. Each football season, there was a game that was dedicated to the moms of the players. Each player's mom would wear his jersey and was honored on the field. I remember how honored my mom was when Todd asked her to wear his jersey, and I remember how honored I was too. During college, Todd and I commuted together; and we took a lot of the same classes as freshman and sophomores. Todd dated one of my closest friends, and they eventually got married right out of college. NPayne and I got married a few short years later, and both of our families began to grow. Todd and Joey have 6 children, and we have 5. Their third child and oldest daughter and Addi are the best of friends and have been since birth. We have spent a lot of time with them over the years, and even when there is a lapse; there's never doubt about the friendship and its durability. My parents were always welcoming and inviting to all of my friends, and we spent a lot of time at my house growing up. When my dad died, most all of my lifelong friends came to his funeral. A group of my guy friends served as his pall bearers. Then when my mom died, the same group came to support me and served as pall bearers. The morning of my mom's funeral, we had a viewing for family and very close friends. Todd was one of the first ones there. I told him he didn't have to come so early, because the funeral wasn't for several more hours; but he said...."I'm here for the duration." And I knew he was. I am so blessed to have met Todd all those years ago, and I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends....some lifelong friends for over 30 years, some I've met through church in the last 17 years, some I've met through work or other friends in the last few years. But what I'm most thankful for is that they are here for "the duration".