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Thursday, April 2, 2015

TBT: My First NON-FAMILY "Bestie" - The 30 Year Reunion

My fifth birthday party circa 1975
(Gretchen is in the red striped shirt, I am beside her in the light blue)
While on Facebook last week, I found out a childhood friend of mine recently had a stroke. It was a shock for me to read and memories flooded through my mind almost instantly of our time spent together as friends in kindergarten and first grade. She was also a summer companion for many years as I grew up and spent time going back to visit at my grandparent's farm about a mile from her house.

We can find out a lot on Facebook these days. Some things I will admit, I wish I really didn't know. I see it as a blessing and a curse. We can keep up with each other if we want, but we can ignore what we want to by simply acting like we didn't see that post. I have hated it because there are times I feel moved to call or send a note but then I second guess and think "aww, I haven't seen them since (whenever)"

Guess what the voice was saying in my head as I processed the information about my sweet friend Gretchen? Yep...wondering what I could do was the first thing and then wondering would she even remember WAY back when we were in middle school? I knew I couldn't attend the benefit coming up for help with her medical bills but I WAS going up to southern Minnesota to visit my Grandma THIS week!

Here is Gretchen and I in my baby sister's crib while she
is being held and watching - I have no clue what we were doing!
Let's face it, I am SICK of my own assumptions about what other people might think. As my mom said over the weekend when I was debating calling and "bothering" my kindergarten "bestie" when I went up north on Monday, Mom answered "well, if the shoes were reversed and she called you up when you were sick, what would you think?" Well DUHHHH! Was my thought...and that was that. Armed with her phone number and the pictures we were going to share with Grandma, the girls and I got in the van and headed north. We actually prayed as we left that we could be God's hands and feet to Grandma and to anyone else we see today!

Our visit with Grandma went as well as could be expected (I reported on that yesterday if you missed the post) with dementia. It was time to get in the van and figure out what we were going to do next in Waseca, Minnesota! When we got settled in the van, the girls asked me what we are going to do now. Stacey said "Mom, it is time to call your friend!" I had left her a message on FB on Sunday night but hadn't heard from her and I was a little nervous to call out of the blue but yes, it was that time to dial the number. In my mind I am hoping and praying that she remembers me and isn't wondering who is the crazy woman on the other end of the line!

A summer visit to the farm (circa middle school)
Yes, I realize it, some people reading this are thinking I am crazy and that is because we are all made differently with our different hang ups. My problem is, there are enough people in the world that haven't remembered things that I remember that every time I am in this situation, I fret about the same thing. That is why I felt it was time for me to GET OVER IT! I checked my messages though before placing the call and she had responded. She wanted to get together and so I called. It was amazing how her voice on the other end of the phone brought me right back to my grandma and grandpa's kitchen where I would call every time I came to visit and see what she was up to while I would be there.

How fun it was to reunite with a long-time (because we are not old) friend and pick up where we left off. There was a lot to catch up on and we spent about two-and-a-half hours talking and laughing. We now have kids and husbands and jobs and wow...we are grown ups! That sweet dear friend I had in the very early years of my life had grown up to be a sweet dear woman with a family and life that warmed my heart. What I set out to do, encourage her and bring a little sunshine to her day really blessed ME in a big way.

My girls talked much of the trip home about my friend Gretchen and how cool she is (Stacey was endeared to her from moment one when she answered the door in an Under Armour shirt!). The girls listened and laughed and shared in the conversation too. I was proud of them for hanging out with their mom and her friend without complaint. The time really did fly.
We both agree that we still look the same!

She is slowly recovering and I am so thankful for that! And it was so good to see that for myself. The girls were impressed with her attitude and her determination and who doesn't want great role models for their kids. I really was moved by how much the girls got from our visit. She is a busy lady with a senior and middle schooler and we were so blessed by her attitude and faith filled spirit! Sometimes we go into a situations thinking about how much WE can give and God uses it to minister to our hearts.

No more "talking myself out" of things. Life is too precious and people that we have been blessed to know in our lives are too big a treasure to hide in the back of our minds where we can lurk into their lives on Facebook whenever it is convienent for us. I have done enough of that and I would rather REALLY keep in touch. I don't want to just care, I want the people I care about to KNOW I care! What a blessing our trip to Minnesota was!

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