Last month I had a rare moment to sit down and actually read my favorite magazine cover-to-cover. Real Simple. Long after the days of Seventeen, Premiere, Cosmopolitan… my life was made complete by this magazine. I am a forever fan and subscriber. Real Simple. Ah! Just the magazine’s name relaxes my shoulders and brings a content sigh. Real Simple. The title conjures up images of neatly organized rows of fresh, white, cotton pods. All is well in the world when reading Real Simple.
And there on page 16, these words caught my eye: The first ever simply stated blogger contest!
Yes, Real Simple, you have my attention. Read on.
…’write a blog post of no more than 300 words that answers this question: Who is the person you are most surprised to be friends with?’
I thought for a moment, and the light bulb blinked on. Coleen. My neighbor. It’s her! …
So here it is, my less than 300 word, blog post entry about the person I am most surprised to be friends with. It did my heart good to soak in this for a bit. And, it was secretly fun to enter my first ever blog contest!
She’s 50. I’m 30. She coaches High School volleyball. I stay home and pour into my two young sons. In her spare time, she golfs, and makes a mad martini. Give me a free day, and I’m reading or decorating, margarita in hand! No two people could be more different. What solidified our friendship, is the common wall our homes share.
It began as neighborly mailbox chats and driveway waves, but became a quick friendship. At first, we politely exchanged brownies and rice krispy treats with a knock at the front door. Almost overnight, our back sliding doors became the meeting spot.
Since then, we’ve traded countless eggs, swapped must-reads, had girl nights to watch The Bachelor, eaten obscene amounts of chocolate, and offered decorating tips.
But deeper than sharing ingredients, novels or decorating advice, we’ve opened our hearts to one another. She has shared about personal pain, and the emotions that follow. She has loved my boys like they were her own. She’s cried with me.
I, in turn, have voiced my struggles with life and parenting, with the sweet trust that every day brings new joys and celebrations.
She is part of our family. I find comfort in knowing Coleen is next door, should I need a listening ear, or extra hand. And she knows I am there for her. To listen when she is having a lonely moment, or delight with her in a day spent with her niece and nephew. I’ve learned that friendship is not in the meeting, but in the maintaining.
Just yesterday, she was off to the store, and asked what I needed. “Just creamer.”
When she brought it by later, along with a surprise of some chocolate yummy-ness, I reached for my wallet, but she was already halfway out my back door.
“Don’t worry about it,” she waved over her shoulder, “that’s what neighbors do.”
No, I smiled, that’s what friends do!