Friendships that never die…
The morning after my birthday, I received a text message on my cell phone. I was surprised to find that it was from my friend, I’ll call her Wander. Although I don’t know for sure how long it has been since I have been in touch with her, I will estimate that it has been between twelve and fifteen years. She had a dream about me during the night of my birthday, and felt impressed to call my sister in the morning and ask for my phone number. I was amazed to find that after all these years, she dreamed of me on my birthday.
Wander is one of the sweetest people I have ever had occasion to meet. We were friends in high school, through college, and then after. I found myself laughing at her text messages just as if no years had passed. I was so grateful to be back in contact with her and considered it another birthday blessing. She, like it has been said of Nathanael of old, has no guile. She’s a pure soul, incapable of deceit. I learned that in the intervening years, she had, then beat, cancer. I am grateful that God kept her alive for her 5 young children.
I actually got a two-for-the-price-of-one gift when Wander contacted me. She put me in contact with our mutual friend, Tray, later that day. I’ve not seen Tray for eight years, last at my mother’s funeral. Just seeing her face there, ready to be a support to me, got me through that agonizing morning and afternoon.
My friendship with Tray has always been a source of light and truth for me. She is extremely intelligent, independent, and could make having teeth pulled seem like fun. Her caring and her compassion got me through many dreary days as a single mother. She is 29 and always will be. She’s a deep thinker.
Post-Randi was off to a good start. I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon getting some housework done, because later that afternoon, I had a date!
Night on the town with two lovely daughters, both of whom are really skinny
The date was with my daughter Em. Also coming with us was her friend, a woman who I think of as a daughter too. She is very shy, until you get to know her, or unless she is dancing on stage, like an angel. I will call her Angel Dancer.
Em and Angel Dancer picked me up close to 4:00 p.m. They decided to take me out of town the day after my birthday since they were trying to honor my request to not do anything for my birthday. The closest large city is about 90 minutes away, so we had some time for good conversation. My daughter Em is amazing to me. She’s compassionate, elegant and humorous. She grew up not having much, yet she can hob-nob with millionaires and feel totally at ease. I love her a lot.
We stopped for dinner at one of their favorite restaurants, P.F. Chang’s. Now there is one thing I have to tell you about eating dinner with skinny women. They don’t really eat. That’s why they don’t look like me.
Em ordered some honey almond looking kind of chicken, Angel Dancer ordered lemon scallops and I ordered orange peel spicy chicken. I was thoroughly enjoying my meal when I noticed that the girls looked like they were finished. Most of their meal was still on their plates. Three bites, tops. Granted, they did have LETTUCE wraps for an appetizer. It’s bad enough to go to dinner with skinny women, but when they stop eating after three bites, it’s downright humiliating. Never having been one who succumbs to peer pressure, I just kept right on a-eatin’.
So the waiter comes over to the table, and sees that the skinny women have stopped eating already. He did not notice that I was still eating because I was not skinny. He smiles and says, “Was it just too much? Can I get you a take-out box?”
He brings back take-out boxes, and boxes up the honey chicken and the lemon scallops before grabbing my plate and boxing up my dinner! While I was STILL EATING. I still had like five little pieces of chicken left. I almost said, “Hey! Watsa matta? Cantja see I’ma still eatin’ my dinna?” But then I would have drawn attention to myself as a non-skinny woman, so I let it go.
After we left the restaurant, Em tells me that a few of my friends gave her some money to take me clothes shopping. I should tell you at this point that unlike normal women, I do not enjoy shopping. Guerilla shopping is what I do. I scope out the store, figure out the quickest route in and out, make a missile-like path to my desired item, hit the checkout stand, and get myself out of there. I am not an impulse shopper. I am the steel sphere ricocheting in the middle of a pinball machine. In-store advertising is generally wasted on me.
Worse than eating with skinny women is going clothes shopping with them. Everything they try on looks good on them, so they simply have to decide things like, “Do I like this color?” and “If I buy this, can I use it as an excuse to buy something else that will also match?” I have to make decisions like “Does this make me look elephantine or simply cow-like?” and “Is there a way to push my stomach up so that it looks like my pectoral region is actually bigger than my stomach?” Skinny women do not understand the concept that some sweaters are butt-huggers, and so they must be purchased to either ride above the butt or hang below it. They look at you blankly and say, “I don’t get it. What do you mean by ‘butt?’”
Em and Angel Dancer handed me about 15 cute shirts to try on. That is to say that they were cute while still on the hanger. Once they made the transition from hanger to body, they no longer had any resemblance to the original item. I finally decided on a Christmas-red button down shirt, which still mostly looked like a shirt when I put it on.
The foreign nail polisher man
Walking through the mall, I felt my hand being grabbed. I turned and looked and it was a very handsome young man with a foreign accent (ha ha, skinny women!)
Daughter Em, knowing what the man was up to because she is a shopper, said, “Let him do this!” and walked off into a store with Angel Dancer. The man looked at my hands and asked me to pick out which of my fingernails was the worst. Hmmm…no one has ever asked me that question before. I decided randomly on my right thumb. Still holding onto my hand he asked me, “So that was your sister who told you to let me try this?”
He’s good, huh? I used to be in sales. I know the tricks. My sister. “No, that’s my daughter.”
“No way! So you got married when you were twelve then? I cannot believe that was your daughter. You are far too young.” Still holding my hand. Talking in that gorgeous accent, which I later found out was Israeli. Hmm. This must actually work on some women. Not guerilla shopper!
Anyway young handsome Israeli man began using a buffer on my right thumbnail. He buffed from one side of the buffer, then a second, and finally a third side of the buffer. He held the buffer over my hand and said,
“Now promise me you won’t start screaming.” Yeah, sure.
“Are you promising me? When I take away this buffer, you will not begin screaming?”
I promised. He took away the buffer.
“AAAHHH!” I screamed. My thumbnail looked like it had been polished with diamonds!
Just then Em and Angel Dancer walked back up. The man made his offer for the whole kit. I declined. (He thought he had me at the scream.)
He made another offer. I still said no. Finally at the third offer, Em said, “For that price I’m buying it for you!”
I won’t tell you what price we settled on because I respect the “tricks” of salesmanship. Needless to say if a handsome man in the mall grabs your hand and makes your nails shimmer like jewels, wait until his third offer before you buy.
Next on the agenda was going to a movie. We wanted to see Blind Side and arrived twenty minutes early, but it was sold out. All of the other movies started later, which is a consideration since we have 90 minutes to travel afterward, so the skinny girls decided on going out for dessert instead. I was not hungry yet, but the poor skinny girls, having had only three bites, were.
We ended up at Cold Stone Creamery. If you haven’t been there, the ice cream store has three sizes: Like It, Love It, and Gotta Have It. The Like It size seemed really small so I decided on Mint Chocolate Chip Fudge Brownie (yeah!) in Love It size. Little did I know, they PILE the ice cream way past the bowl, so the Like It would have sufficed. We sat down to eat and you guessed it—skinny girls were done after roughly three, maybe seven, bites. (They should have a Can I Just Sniff It size for skinny people.) They waited patiently while I savored the mint, the chocolate, the fudge, the brownie. Finally Em suggests that I finish my dessert in the car so we can get going.
We had traveled roughly fifteen minutes when the skinny girls saw the Golden Arches. “Fries!”
Em maneuvered through Drive-Up and asked me if I wanted some fries too.
“No, thanks. I’m still working on my Love It.”
The skinny girls got their fries and I will admit to stealing one or two out of Em’s box.
A nice ending to a fun evening
We drove home, mostly conversation-less, tired, and just trying to keep our eyes out for deer. As much as I jest about their skinny-girl eating habits, I do adore them both and had a great time with them. I’m grateful for my grown daughters and those girls (I have a few) whom I consider my daughters.
When I got home, around 11:30 that night, all was quiet. Computer Geek and Weston had gone to see Avatar for guys night out and weren’t home yet. On my kitchen table was a package from Foreign Quang reader Adam. He had warned me it was coming, so I knew inside was a package of black licorice. He had read on my sidebar that I like it, and he works at a place that sells it, so he thoughtfully sent off a package.
I opened it and was surprised to see THREE different varieties of black licorice along with two different tins of cocoa. You have to see these black licorice Scottie dogs. Aren’t they adorable?
I was so grateful that someone took the time to pick out things that he knew I would like. Someone who had never met me. Thank you, Adam.
While I was alone, waiting for my men to get home, I started thinking about the week of my birthday. I had seriously wanted to focus only on the meaning of Christmas, and on Christ, and on being a better person. Yet, it seemed the week was destined to be about me, me, me. I had told friends and family my plans and had requested no birthday events, but when they happened I graciously accepted. I got lovely cards and gifts from two of my blog readers, my friends and family took me out, people stopped by with gifts and food, I was put in contact with old beloved friends, and received lots of calls and well-wishes. If anything, my birthday was more celebrated than ever before. What had happened? Why was my week with Christ seemingly thwarted?
Sunday brings an answer
The Sunday before Christmas our church had a Christmas program that involved singing and dancing. I was asked to help the dancers get in and out of their costumes between numbers so I spent time making sure all looked the same and had the right accessories on. Then I would rush back to the auditorium, trying to catch pieces of the musical numbers that were performed between dance numbers.
My son-in-law sang several numbers, among them O Holy Night, my favorite Christmas song. My eleven-year-old student angelically sang Breath of Heaven, which she had dedicated to me. Em and Angel Dancer performed spiritual worship dances that brought tears to my eyes. It was 2 hours of singing and dancing devoted to Christ. As I ran back and forth between the hall and the dressing room I had occasion to think about my week.
It hit me in a rush. In my effort to focus mostly on Christ, He in turn wanted me to focus on something else. He wanted me to know that WE are His hands, here on earth. WE are the ones, who through our kindness, our humor, our thoughtfulness, turn people toward Christ. Our behavior is our greatest testimony that He lives! How we treat our friends, our family, even total strangers, speaks volumes about our commitment to Him. And while I was trying to show my love for Him, He overwhelmed me by showing me, through the actions of others, how much HE loved me! I came away with a new resolve, just in time for Christmas, to try to become more like Him.
It doesn’t have to be a once a year celebration. Christmas happens to us every day, if only we allow it. Christmas happens to others every day if only we make it happen for them.
In that spirit, I would like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for your loving support throughout the year—for all your kind comments, your emails, your phone calls, and your gifts. May we each go forth and make every day Christmas. May we always hear a cry for help. May we act upon the good intentions that we have. May we always respond in kindness and compassion to our fellow souls here on earth. And may we truly love each other, the way He loves us.