I'm sick of it. It's one of the by-products of being in school for so long and living in a college town I suppose. Two great families of friends have moved away in the past couple weeks. I've been able to avoid feeling the sadness, because I was traveling. I was able to safely live under the peaceful oblivion of just thinking I was going away for a trip back home and nothing would be different when I got back. Ignorance is bliss. But now I'm back in Waco and they're not here and I don't like it.
First, I had to say good-bye to my good friend MaryAnn. And even worse, my family had to say good-bye to her family. MaryAnn and I met through our shared time in the Stats department at Baylor. She says she remembers the first time she saw me, I don't remember names and faces, so I can't say the same. But over the years, and especially in the past couple years, she has become one of my closest and dearest friends. She is a fantastic Christian sister who was always able to understand my point of view and thankfully was able to hep me get my focus and thoughts back to where they needed to be when I was struggling. We became accountability partners and did our best to keep each other grounded. I was most impressed with her parenting skills. I don't know how she did it, but she somehow managed the life of a growing kid, graduate school, a husband, extended family and numerous volunteer positions. I was constantly amazed at her poise and grace as she navigated the often difficult path. She was always able to find the strength to manage through prayer.
MaryAnn offered so much more than sage advice. She along with her stories of the antics of her family we're always a good break from the humdrum of research. And her servants heart was open to help anyone and everyone. I can't tell you how many times she anticipated my need for a little pick me up in the middle of the day. For me, these pick me ups generally involved food treats of some kind, but that's just another reason we got along so well. We both have an appreciation for good food. And she could cook up something up out of anything. One of my favorite memories is when Stanton and I were at a loss for dinner ideas and MA helped out. We were getting in the car to go home and I asked Stanton what he wanted for dinner. He didn't know. Exasperated, I told him (mostly joking) to go ask MA what was for dinner. He came back with one of our favorite recipies - ravioli casserole. It was an instant hit. Easy to make, delicious, and easy to modify to make new. And MA in all her amazingness just came up with it. And I have to mention that she makes a pasta salad with olives that I'll actually eat. I HATE olives. And I love that salad.
I will always remember what a blessing she was in the hospital the day I gave birth to Chaselyn. She kept Stanton and I calm and relaxed and gave us someone else to talk to when we really needed it. She prayed for us and was just the most amazing help.
I realize now that I have written a lot about MaryAnn in the past tense. Which I don't like. Because she is all of those wonderful things still. And she IS a great friend. We probably won't have quite as many impromptu conversations in passing through the office. We may not get to see each other as often. And our family cookouts will probably be a little further apart, but I still expect her to keep me accountable. I know that when I'm feeling out of whack she'll be there. I know that when I'm at a loss for how to handle the kids she'll be there for me to call. And that's a big deal to me. I only have a handful of friends that have stuck with me through a move. And that collection of girls are some of the most important people in the world to me.
As I said, what's even worse is that our families won't be able to grow up close together. Chaselyn was just getting to the good playing stage where she and MaryAnn's daughter could relate and play together. And I know that MA will miss seeing Cake (Chaselyn) and Jelly Belly Bean (Jacob) grow up in real life. And I'm going to miss her sweet little girl more than I can say. I can't believe how much she has grown in the time we were here together in Waco. And I just know she's going to keep getting more and more intelligent and more and more beautiful everyday. I'll miss having that sweet, respectful, wonderful little girl setting an awesome example for my kids on a regular basis. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wonderful husband MA has. He's a world class fella. It was always inspiring to hear the little things that he would do to support his wife. And I could just see the love oozing from him whenever he was around the kids.
But I know they are following the path God has laid for them. I know how hard it is to leave family and the comforts of home to transplant your family in a seemingly far away land. And I know that without the peace of knowing that you're there for a reason, a move like that could be devastating. So I miss MA in her family. But I'm not sad. I won't let myself be sad. It's a wonderful thing that they are doing. And I know our friendship can make it through a few hundred miles. No problemo.
Love you MA! I'm so proud of you! I miss you and your sweet family.
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