Saturday, May 14, 2011

To Anna....With All My Love

There is an old saying about being lucky to have had three good friends in life, but in mine, I have found, I have been blessed with a great many more.  At the age of 52, I find myself surrounded by a great many people that I do not even consider to be just good friends, for they are my best friends.  I do not use that term lightly, for to do so, would diminish the term's value and meaning.  To me though, these individuals embody the very definition of the word "best".   They have truly celebrated the joys that life has brought me, as well as helped me to shoulder all my burdens.  Perhaps, it is when the burdens are the heaviest, that the depth of their friendships are demonstrated the clearest though, for joy is easy to share, but sorrow, not so much. It was often during those hardest of moments in life, the ones when hot tears burned my cheeks and when I could see tears of their own flowing down theirs that I truly understood how lucky I was to count them among my friends.   They were never just sad during the times when my heart ached; during those times their hearts ached, too.
There was a time in my life, when I had very few friends with whom I was close, and the ones that I did have were seldom women.  Those boys, now men, are still a part of my life, and remain as important to me as do my own two brothers.  What surprises me today though is that the majority of my best friends are women and I owe that, I think, to a few women in particular.  It is a group so small that I can count its number on a single hand. I met them at different times in my life, but it was their love and their loyalty, that truly enabled me to let down my guard, with so many others. They helped me to open my heart to all the other women who now hold such an important place within it.  These few are the best of the best, and to me their friendships are like the horizon, for I do not need continuous proof of its existence.  I know it is always close by, and that it goes on forever.  They are there for me without question, and the relationship is reciprocal.
Of these few there is one whose life is most intertwined with mine though, and her name is Anna.  She is truly remarkable in every way, and has been a part of my life for the last 27 years.  Our friendship began at work, but spilled over into our home lives, as we brought together our daughters, Holly and Alana, who were only a year apart, to begin a friendship, which still endures to this day.  Alana was the last of Anna's two children, while I went on to have three more, but Anna played as an important a role in my other daughters' lives, as she had in Holly's.  Their childhoods were filled with one night sleepovers at Anna’s that transformed into three day stays and, even then, they only came home when I resorted to threats.   She didn't make pancakes that came frozen out of a box...she made them from scratch and shaped them to look like Mickey Mouse.  I might have bought them their dolls, (although she bought Olivia a whole collection that she still has to this day), but it was Anna who, when the girls awoke one morning after a sleepover at her house, had crocheted the beautiful blankets that they found those dolls covered up with.  It was Anna who taught each one of them to swim and Anna who taught them how to fish, while I, for my part, stayed on dry land filming the events.  I have videos of her putting the disgusting worms on their lines, and then bravely removing the flapping fish from off of them, after they were caught. Anna has always been fearless. She sewed all 5,000 of the girls' annoying Girl Scout badges onto their vests, after coming over to my house and, to her great horror, seeing that I was attaching all of them with safety pins.  All their birthday cakes, as well as my own, were baked by Anna.  One year she made me one that was shaped like tea pot; not flat like a picture of a teapot, but three-dimensional, like a real one. It was so beautiful that I refused to allow anyone to eat it, and for three months I kept it, until it collapsed in a heap, much to Anna's amusement and to my dismay.  For Olivia, her Godchild, she sewed all of the Christmas outfits that she and Olivia would decide upon together, while pouring over patterns during the weeks preceding the holiday. Years later, with her usual flair for genius, she presented Olivia with a quilt that she made for her, consisting of swatches of fabric from every single one of those dresses she that she had so lovingly sewn for her.  One birthday, she and her husband, Mark, gave her a room as a birthday present.  They knew of the unused space we had underneath our basement stairs, and they surprised her by carpeting the floor and putting fabric over the ceiling.  They then filled it with hand sewn pillows of every shape imaginable, to rest upon, so that Olivia and her friends would have a cozy "oasis" to read and to play in.
She has stood by me in my hard times, too.  She was there at the hospital when Dave was first admitted and we found out that he had Multiple Sclerosis.  Her support for both of us has never wavered once, through all the years.  She made meals for my family after each of my back surgeries, and then spent hours while I recovered, cruelly beating me at Scrabble.
She has not only shared my personal joys, but often has been the reason for them; like when we would take vacations together to her family's cabin or to our travel trailer, in Port Sanilac.  One of my very favorite memories is when, while up for a fall weekend in Port Sanilac, she and I walked together, along the residential street that hugs the water.  We noticed that one of the residents had amassed an enormous pile of leaves on their front lawn so, without any words passing between us, we both suddenly burst into a run and jumped into the middle of them. Just two typical women in their 40's, behaving exactly as one would expect...if they only happened to be several decades younger than they were.  A car passing by us actually stopped to commend us on our decision.
There are so many more memories that I could share, but I think the point is made.  I have been blessed with the friendships of many remarkable women, and most definitely, by one named, Anna.  I am sure you are asking yourself at this point, "Well, I see why Amy wants her as a friend, but why does she want Amy?" ...Don't worry; I am not offended.  I asked Anna that question, myself, once.
"You make me laugh," was her reply...somehow, that has never seemed like reason enough.  Here's hoping that a heartfelt posting on a blog helps to even things up a little more.  Thank you, Anna...thank you for being my "best" best friend.


  1. Another wonderful story so warm and funny and I would say that Anna is very lucky to have you. Sometimes the smallest things we do (like make people laugh) can be very important in someones else life. AS a new friend I would be honored to share one little moment with a person like you Amy !!!

  2. Safety pins to "sew" on Girl Scout patches???!!!
    Now, why didn't I think of that? :)
    Friendships like this are true treasures! It's
    wonderful for both of you (and for your families), that the two of you met!
    I myself am richly blessed to have you in my life too, Amy !
    Love ya lots, Barbara

  3. thank you both for your kind words! and barb...sometimes i used tape, instead of safety pins. one day, when i was working with anna at the bank she asked me what i was doing. i was re-taping my skirt, because some of the tape i had used earlier to hem it, had come off. i explained to her that rather than sewing it i would just tape it. she was incredulous, since she was excellent at sewing. actually, someone probably saw me, stole my idea, and invented that "stitch witchery" tape you iron on for hemlines. :D

  4. WOW! what an honor to be the subject of such a wonderful post. Amy makes me sound down right I laughed and cried (mostly cried) while reading this. Amy,
    thank you for all the love you always show me and for all the laughs and fun we have goodness and in bad, in sickness and in also thanks for 4 more "daughters" to love. You are maaa-vel-ous.
    I love you

  5. just found a photo i wanted to is evidence of the truthfulness of my story. on the raft rests, alana, holly, jamie and gina...anna already taught all of them to swim. in the distance you can see anna, teaching a very young olivia... while i, of course, remain on dry land, taking the photo. ;)