A few months after moving into our first home, I was attending choir practice when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to the woman behind me, who introduced herself as Wendy. She said that she wanted me to know that if I ever needed a babysitter, she had a daughter who would more than love to watch our little Nicole.
A week later our family was invited over to Wendy's house for dinner. And to this day, 16 years later, she remains one of my dearest friends.
Wendy was and still is a woman who always had much to do, but she made you feel like you were the best part of her day when you stopped by to visit.
Nicole and I would often find ourselves walking a few houses down to Wendy's house to spend the afternoon. I would sit at her kitchen table while she loaded the dishwasher, ironed a pile of laundry, or mopped her kitchen floor.
The whole time she would happily visit with me, listening to what was going on in my life, and would often share her wise opinion with me. Wendy is 11 years my senior and I always looked to her for advice (and still do!).
We spent eight very happy years being neighbors to our dear friends. There were many dinners shared, game nights, movies watched and even a few camping trips. We were treated as family and were invited to many of their extended family events and came to know and love them as well.
I still remember the day we told them we were moving to another house, to another part of the valley. I tried to reassure Wendy, who had tears in her eyes, that we would still be close and would remain dear friends forever.
She wisely said, "It's just not the same."
I look back on that time with such fondness, wondering sometimes why we ever chose to move. Life was simple back then. I seemed to have so much more time to sit and visit with friends.
I am happy to say though that we still remain dear friends. There have been times when our lives have gotten busy and we haven't been as good at keeping in touch as we should. But when we do, it's as if no time has passed since we last saw each other.
I am grateful today for dear friends. I have been blessed with a small number who hold that title. Some I get to see more often than others. But I think about them often and feel so very fortunate that they are part of my life.
Thank you my friends, for your love, your advice, your time, your smiles, your thoughtful gifts, your service, your texts, emails, and comments. I want you to know that I do not take any of these things for granted.
What would we do without friends?