I was thinking about life long friendships, I was thinking it was rare but when I stopped to really think about i remembered some of the amazing people in my life that were there because my parents were life long friends with them.
The importance of these people is immeasurable. These people have been there through thick and thin and are like family to my sister and I, because of their friendship with my parents.
One person sticks out in my mind almost instantly. Val. My Dad was best friends with her and when my Mom moved to town they quickly became the best of friends as well. They were always together from a young age, through dating and marriage and kids. Enter me (and Crysti, Derek and Danielle) We grew up thinking we were really related and created these amazing bonds together. We joked for years that Val was my rightful mom because of our sarcasm and sailor mouth and that Danielle was my mom’s daughter because of her craftiness and organization. The truth is I loved Val like a mother, like the crazy Aunt you run to when the door opens. She told it like it was, never sugar-coated a thing, gave the best advice and made the best snack trays you can imagine! I admired her and her straight forward and raw attitude.
As I got older I didn’t see Val as much, I was a typical twenty something partying and not realizing the importance of maintaining these life long friendships. When she got sick I thought she’d get better. She was never going to leave everything would be fine. I saw more of her, checked in on her, emailed her with my silly dreams about her and prayed for her. She called me one night, talked for almost two hours. She was telling me about the importance of spending time with your kids. She said three kids was good but any more and I would have less time individually. (because of this I am so aware of my quality time with each of my boys) She never changed to us, she never faltered, never told us she wasn’t feeling well or was tired or complained about anything! Danielle organized a paint class for a few of us, Val was in the hospital but got a pass to come for a couple of hours. We brought the biggest spread of amazing snacks (in true Val fashion) we painted…we laughed, tried not to cry and talked. Yes we knew, we didn’t forget and no we didn’t talk about it.
When it was time to leave I hugged her, the biggest hug i could. I smelled her and felt her. We pulled back and she said “See you soon Jul” I smiled and said goodbye.
I think of her often, I watch for her signs and I believe that she is always watching.