The Overwhelming Kindness

^^^ Not sure who’s the Babysitter and who’s the Babysittee, but this faithful buddy has constantly been by my side.

Even in these early days, I have been humbled by the outpouring of love and support from friends from every stage of my life.

And let’s be honest, after 47 years, I have cycled through quite a few stages: early life and high school, college, medical school, residency, fellowship, my first job post-training, my current iteration.

(And I’m not ready to call it quits yet!)

The nature of my life has been to put my head down and soldier on. One year I spent 135 nights in a hospital, working.

I know because I counted them. That was not a good year.

And I’ve said it before, but Time is now my most precious commodity.

It is scary to see it passing – I still have dreams where I am in college, facing a final I forgot to study for, then wake up remembering that I am solidly middle aged, Ugh – and the cancer diagnosis sharpens the focus that Time may not be on my side the way I’d assumed it was.

Time has also gotten in the way of cultivating my relationships. I am ashamed of this; I know so many wonderful people and I am furious with myself that I didn’t tell each and every one of them every day how I love them and what they mean to me.

And so, My Dear Friends, I Love You.

Thank you for being an important part of my life, whether you gave me a ride to school sophomore year when I didn’t have a driver’s license; when your friended me on Day 1 of Biocore while I was a perpetually floundering college student trying to find her way; when I was delivering a baby in the OR at 3 AM and you let me stand on the Good Side during a c-section; when I really didn’t need the calories but you made the Cookies You Know I Can’t Resist and brought them to work (they were delicious).

Above all, I hope I have (mostly) been the kind of Friend to you that you have been to me.

Much love.

Thank You Upgrade

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I’ve previously posted about writing thank you notes, as well as instilling the habit into my children (mixed results there, people).

But I saw a tip recently that I love, and it makes thank you notes even better.

Here it is: Lead with “you” and save the thanks until the end.

Example:

Dear Friend:

You are truly the hostess with the mostest. No one can throw a party like you do, and your mimosas and pancakes are out of this world. I am so lucky to have a friend like you! Thank you for inviting me to brunch.

Love, Fancy

Why it works: everyone loves to hear about themselves. 

Try it!

Crossing The Burning Bridge

Through a recent set of strange circumstances, my old friend’s attorney stepmother was appointed as a legal guardian to my estranged uncle.

Crystal clear, right?

I had to call the guardian to discuss an upcoming court date, and through the conversation we circled back to realize we knew each other from two decades ago.

My old friend, the stepdaughter, was truly one of my dearest throughout high school, college and the early years beyond. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding; that’s how close we were.

And then we drifted.

Why? I don’t even remember.

To my recollection, there wasn’t a specific incident or moment when we split apart, but in the spirit of true Midwestern guilt, I’m sure I inadvertently did something awful. Really, if there’s a way to stick your foot in your mouth, I will defy physics to make it happen. Regrettably I am like that.

Being a good friend is something I really value, and the friendships that have fallen by the wayside always eat me up inside.

The stepmother was kind enough to share contact details and before I could re-think my decision, I reached out to my friend via email. We’ll see if she reaches back.

The whole incident reminds me of a song I don’t hear that often, but when I do, I remember how much I love it: “Anchorage” by Michelle Shocked.

Here’s the opening:

I took time out to write to my old friend
I walked across that burning bridge
Mailed my letter off to Dallas
But her reply came from Anchorage, Alaska

 The best part comes later in the song when the friend tells Michelle to keep on rocking, girl.

That line gets me every time: keep on rocking, girl.

I really hope she writes me back.

P.S. I still like the song but have totally turned against Michelle Shocked herself, who apparently now is a born-again Christian homophobe. Well, I guess I’ve changed a lot since the 90s, too, but geez! Not like that. 

 

Happy Surprise

Earlier this week, I discovered that one of my friends – with whom I am incredibly connected via social media but am not fortunate enough to see often in RL (Real Life) – and I would be staying at the same hotel in Florida.

Except that we would miss each other’s trip by a single day.

Argh.

I checked into the hotel tonight. She checked out yesterday.

Yet … when I arrived, the desk attendant said that there was a package waiting for me. Huh?

My kind friend had left a gift and note, waiting for my arrival!

Seriously, how awesome is that?

I think I am going to adopt this idea for when I know a friend or loved one has a special trip coming up. It’s not hard to get something sent to a hotel ahead of time; it just takes some forethought and organization.

And the payoff is so worth it! I can’t tell you how excited I was by this happy surprise.

A million thanks to you, L!