Happy Sad

Thursday, June 4, 2009

When my kids catch me crying and laughing at the same time they describe it as "HappySad". That is the perfect description of my mood today. Our most recent guest just checked out of the "Carpenter B & B"--though I really should just call it a 'B' unless serving oneself to dry cereal counts as a gourmet breakfast.

My dear friend Ashlee arrived from Florida on Monday and returned home early this morning. As I drove out of the airport I felt on the verge of tears and the brink of laughter. It was such a good visit but I missed her instantly. We had stimulating dinner conversations, great walks, a long bike ride, political discussions over cups of coffee and reminisced about our D.C. days well into the night. Our friendship spans 18 years and we met in the most unusual way.

In June 1991, I was working at Nordstrom in Tysons Corner, Virginia. I had been living back there for 4 months and still had not made any friends other than my co-workers. I was longing for an honest-to-goodness friend, not those who didn't have a choice to be with me simply because we were employed at the same place.

One summer evening I left work around 8:00 and as I exited the employee door there was a huge tour bus parked right in the crosswalk. In front of it was this sweet, young girl in her little red Nissan Sentra, crying in the drivers' seat. I walked over to inquire what was wrong and through her tears, she proceeded to tell me how her car had broken down and the tour bus driver had been honking, yelling and swearing at her get out of his way. I ran back in the store, found a couple burly security guys and asked them to help move her car. After the mission was accomplished she told me that her boyfriend was waiting for her downtown at George Washington University and there was no way to get a hold of him. (don't think cell phones were even invented back then) I told her "I don't know where that is but if you can give me directions, I'll give you a ride." (I really was desperate for a friend)

As we cruised down the Capitol Beltway, we discovered many common interests and a shared love of adventure and meeting new people--that probably explains why we would both get in a car with a total stranger. Unfortunately she was only in town temporarily. Her summer internship would end in August but she hoped to relocate early the next year after graduation from the University of Florida. We connected a few more times that summer and when she returned to the area, Trey and his partners hired her to work at their mortgage company.

Over the years our lives have taken many different directions but whether we talk once a month or see each other every five years, nothing changes. To look at our individual lives from the outside it might appear that we have less in common than at our friendship's beginning. I'm a full-time mom with three children. She's married, child-free with a master's degree and a successful consulting career. Sometimes I can feel inferior to that and wonder, "why would she want to come out here and immerse herself in this chaos when she can go anywhere in the world?" Yet she does it because she's invested in our friendship. It humbles me as I think about if I would be so considerate had the tables been reversed. She doesn't expect me to make changes in my lifestyle because of her presence. Instead, she finds a way to fit in to the madness. She doesn't demand that I neglect my family simply because she flew so far to see me.

We both love to tell the story when others ask "Now, how do you know each other?". Her mom has said to her, on more than one occasion, "God meant for you and Dana to be friends." I agree.

1 Comment »

One Response to “Happy Sad”

Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

okay that is just the sweetest story I've read in a really long time... you would have never made that friend if you hadn't gone out of your way to help and be there for her... what a motivator/reminder that you kind of have to "be a friend to make a friend." :)