Sunday, September 30, 2012

Second Grade Friends

A story in too many parts...


My second grade year was a big one. It's where I met a great friend. Several months after school started, Mrs. B. announced that the class had a new student. I was beyond thrilled because the empty desk was next to me. I was going to get to sit by this new girl, L, and I just new she was going to be great.

L came to school in an Incredible Hulk t-shirt and torn green jeans. She had super short hair. Mrs. B. introduced her, and I swear, 25 jaws dropped because that child that Mrs. B. was warmly introducing? It was not a girl. No, that was a boy. The whole class agreed. My heart sank. I was going to have to sit next to a new boy, and that would not be nearly as fun as having a new girl in class. But wait, Mrs. B. had used a name that very clearly belonged to a girl, and then I was just confused.

Me? I wore dresses, preferably ones with lots of fabric that could twirl out from my waist as I spun around. I was, in all aspects, a stereotypical girl. L was not. She was in second grade breaking gender lines. I wasn't sure we could be friends.

But as it turns out, we became best friends. We were in class together from 2nd through 6th grades, and then overlapped many of our classes in middle and high school. I consider myself responsible for her being a role-playing-game enthusiast, though I have absolutely no interest in them. And she is responsible for my high school debate career that resulted in a full-ride scholarship to both undergrad and grad school, though she has less than no interest in debate. This is just one of many examples of how L always gives more than she gets.


I'm still friends with L today. Who knew a second grade friendship could amount to so much? We have a third close friend, J. I can still tell you both of their addresses and phone numbers when they were growing up, and I could ride my bike directly to their former homes.

We all met at J's home a few years. I can't even believe J's husband let us stay. Seriously. There was a lot of estrogen in that house, and I'm not sure he got more than a sentence or two in the whole weekend. L, J, and me? We had loads of fun. L even gave us a gang symbol and named is the AW3 (Avondale West 3). She's always the life of the party.


I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about how my writing is essentially peak-to-peak writing, always focusing on the high points. This is extremely intentional. First, nobody gets mad at you for writing a post they look good in. Second, the peaks are what I want to remember. And when my kids are in therapy some day, I want them to have solid evidence that we had loads of good times.

But in reality, life is about getting through the valleys. It's about trudging through all the day-to-day stuff. It revolves around getting through each day, and remembering to say thanks at the end.


If you want to be extremely depressed, do a google search for ALS. Then think about how your friend's husband was just diagnosed with this awful disease. The same husband that when he was first described to you by that friend, you knew instantly they would be married. And you also knew they would live happily ever after because this guy was perfect for your friend. Perfect.

This guy stood by your friend when her mother died. This guy, who is brilliant, and funny, and an awesome dad - is you're friend's counter balance. Where he loves discussing philosophy, she'd rather read a SciFi novel. When he was moved to tears at Ground Zero and called her, she was cursing the old plumbing in their house as she replaced a toilet while he was away.


L is a psychologist and her husband is a psychiatrist. She's the friend to call or email when there's something really strange going on. She's genius at sorting through stuff and getting to the heart of the matter. I cannot recall one time she's given me bad advice. At least not since we've both been adults.


My friend's husband is living with ALS. I have no doubt that L will be the one squeezing out every good moment from now until he stops living with ALS. She'll be laughing her two relatively young children through the whole damn thing. She'll be figuring out the trick to living in this moment, right now.

I'm hoping she'll be living the life I'm writing about - peak-to-peak. Even though I know she'll be spending a lot of time hanging out in the valleys. She is, after all, human.


If you have a higher power you call on, please ask that higher power to give my friend L and her husband a break. Even just taking the edge off the valleys could be of profound importance.

Much love,



  1. Many prayers going up for L. and her family.
    What a lovely post.

    1. Thanks, TSM. I used to think getting old sucked because everyone's parents were in such decline. Now I think getting old sucks because all of my friends suddenly seem so vulnerable, and I'm starting to realize we're all in decline as well.

  2. It is hard to see our friends suffering....