I ease into my Friday with e-mails as I text an old friend.
I meet her for the first time when I am twenty-three. I open the door of our rental in the Pennsylvania mountain’s and find her on the couch swiping nail polish across her fingers. I, ever the one to make a fuss and she, ever the one not too, looks up just long enough to say,‘hello.’
I like her immediately. She is full of moxie and seeks no seal of approval. A leader who is confident in who she is.
I will call her “Oprah,” because she too, is a ‘Queen’ (she will like that reference) of people. She is a magnet and friends turn to her to share their stories, their struggles and their laughter. She in turn, offers her wit and wisdom in a direct manner that few can pull off. The “Queen” picks people up, dusts them off and tells them to get on with it…….Life that is.
For some reason on this Friday, I tell her of a memory I have of her from years ago. We are out with a group of girls for ‘cocktails and chatting’ and I hear her say something about me.
At the time, all I can think is, “What? No, Colleen’s loud and she talks a lot????”
“Oprah” doesn’t recall what she said, but that little (big) thing is a memory defining moment for me. It is one of the moments that remind me of why I am grateful for her.
This nostalgia reminds me of a time in my twenties when I send my family memories of them for their birthday’s. The little (big) things that remind me of them.
I start with my brother. I scribble a few things inside his card…….
When I think of you, this is what I remember.
When I was fifteen and I sat in the car crying after I got my braces off (I thought my teeth were huge). You were confused and said, “I thought you were supposed to cry when you got your braces ON not OFF.” Regardless, you didn’t call mom and ask permission. You just drove me home instead of back to school.
Then when I was sixteen you took me to get my drivers license. I failed the test (personally, me and our ever loyal mother believed it was because I asked the instructor to put on her seatbelt. For the record I did go back the next day and pass with strict instructions from mom to say nothing to the instructor). On the way home, in your infinite wisdom ten years my senior, you asked if you could buy me McDonald’s. It was your way of trying to make me feel better like when I was little and you would drive me home from the dentist.
Then there was the time in college that you sent me money with strict instructions to use it on anything, but another perm (perms are always a bad idea anyway).
I add a few more memories and send it.
I call and my sister-in-law tells me that my brother chokes up while reading it and hands him the phone.
“I feel terrible I don’t remember any of those things,” he says.
“That’s the point,” I say. “These are the little (big) things that you did effortlessly that made a huge difference for me at the time. We don’t really tell people about the ‘moments’ that define our relationship……of what we are really grateful for about them.”
I don’t know why, on this particular Friday I chose to tell “Oprah” what she said those years ago and why it was a ‘memory defining moment’ for me or why it took me so many years to repeat it to her.
It might be that today, “Oprah” needed to know there’s something special about her and be reminded that, as she says, ‘We are friends for life.”
It might also be time for me to buy a few cards, scribble a few lines and remind a few others of the little (big) things that make me grateful for them.