I am mostly dressed, but I go back and put on a necklace for courage. It is made with extra love, and even has inspirational words on a couple of the beads. “Faith,” I read, then “hope,” hearing the words spoken by the necklace’s creator. It buoys me up as I prepare to face the elements, and that sense of lightness makes me smile to myself. I’m thinking about our two gulls and a buoy, and the giggles we’ve all shared.
Outside, the trees are bending and shaking in the wind, rain whipping at my face and clothes. I turn my back to the gale and fish my key ring out to lock the door behind me. Deep in my pocket I feel its soft wood, another gift from my treasured friend, knowing it is emblazoned with my hard-fought status: “Mama”.
That elicits another grin, as I realize it’s been five years we’ve been in this together. From the first, she was my stalwart supporter, the first person to sing to my daughter and the woman with whom I celebrated all her firsts. Even as she struggled through her pregnancy, she somehow found enough energy to be our girl’s biggest fan, and time to watch her so my husband could come with me to attend a myriad of tests on our unborn baby.
My husband was at home with our girl while I was in the hospital with daughter two – and despite that her hormonal hell had not abated, my friend brought me food and caring, just what I needed, supplanting the soul-destroying desolation of hospital catering.
And she’s been there for me ever since, encouraging me through depression and dilemmas; crises and career angst. She’s been that little spark of courage, held tightly in my fist, deep in my pocket, through the worst storms, and the hallelujahs ringing clear to acknowledge our new lives’ accomplishments.
But above all, she’s been an inspiration. She’s kept on giving and believing, being present and persevering, succeeding in improving the world through her work, her marriage, her art, her motherhood.
Happy Birthday, my bestest friend. Let your grace shine on.