OK, this is not really an ode. And this isn't even an original idea. I stole it from The Bishop's Wife. But it was a great idea (The Bishop's Wife has many good ideas), so I decided to copy her. Don't Hate Me Bishop's Wife!
I don't exactly remember meeting Mary for the first time. But I do remember thinking that she had that look that I liked. The striking dark hair, the funky cool glasses, the retro cool skirts. (Despite liking this look, I have lots of grey in my naturally dark brown hair that I color light brown to try and hide the grey, glasses so ugly that I almost always wear my contacts, and fat-lady looking skirts. Because, um, those are the only kind of skirts available for uh, fat ladies.)
Oh, I do remember now. She was eating at a Chinese restaurant near our house. It was our favorite restaurant back then. It has since moved, and a new Chinese restaurant is in its place, but I digress.
I had seen her and her family at church the week before, and decided that since she was new, she wouldn't know that I wasn't usually the type of person to just go up to someone in a restaurant and say Hello.
So I did, and she didn't seem to think I was so strange. We got talking about our kids, and found out that her third child was close to Flower's age, and that Jelly Bean (who was a baby at the time) and her oldest daughter shared the same name, although neither of our children went by the formal version of the name.
And then things just went on. I don't remember when we started being friends, but I remember how she was always so sweet. She would say to me in the hallway "I'm so happy to see you!" and it didn't sound fake. And it always came at a time when I was stressed, or lonely, or unhappy, and made me feel all warm and glowy.
One day, we got talking about our families and our lives, and we discovered that our families knew each other. In fact, she lived very close to my parents when we were all living in Utah (I was living in the dorms in the same town, but I lived at home during the summers.) We knew some of the same people, and all the local places. What a small world.
And then when she started coming to Girls' Night Out things, she became my idol. She was just the kind of mother I wanted to be - natural, but practical. Thoughtful and purposeful, yet real. And just loved being a mother. You can see it in her face. Even if she didn't have any of her 5 children with her, you would know that she was a mom. And not because she is frumpy (she's not!) or she has spit-up in her hair (none that I've ever noticed).
And she was a reader. She IS a reader. I was a reader in a former life, but I've let my life become my excuse for not reading anymore. (Although I just finished Matters of Faith last night. Review coming soon.) But she has 5 kids - two more than I have, and still manages to read. We were at Women Living Wisely recently, the one about Books, and we were talking about books that we loved as kids, and she listed all the books that I read back when I was 12, 13, 14. I said to her "Too bad we didn't know each other back then. We could have been book friends!" On Sunday, she said to me "You know, we can still be book friends!" So I'm really going to try and do better about reading and reviewing. (I promise, I'll post my review soon.)
And she loves flowers. And cool, antique stuff. And lives in a great, old house with all of its quirks (and lack of air conditioning apparently. I'm so sorry Mary.)
When I got pregnant in 2006, we decided that we wouldn't tell most people until I was about 20 weeks along. Sadly, I lost the baby at 13 weeks. I had told a couple of people, however, and someone told Mary. Mary came to me, and said "I'm so sorry. And if you ever need to talk, I'm here. I lost a baby once at 11 weeks, and we hadn't told many people either." It was just comforting to know that I wasn't alone in my pain. And that she got it - that it was still devastating, even though we had been blessed with 3 children. She got that I loved my kids, and that I knew that I had blessings, but that it was sad. And hard.
And then she had her 5th baby, a lovely, precious, little boy on March 28, 2008. He entered this world the same day that our lovely, precious, little boy left this world. Some people would think that it would be painful to have that connection with a friend, but for me, it has helped me. In many ways.
Happy Birthday Mary. Hope you had a lovely day.
Postcards from Pennsylvania
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