Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What does support look like? A story of two bookends...

Four years ago, I started a long, stressful and often terrifying journey I never imagined I'd take and transitioned from being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to a working-outside-the-home, single mom. The emotional tolls of my divorce and subsequent custody case, along with the fear of being alone for the first time was almost too much to bear.

During that dark time, The Mommies Network was there for me. I was supported and loved and cared for in so many ways. I will never be able to repay the women who helped me during this time in my life.

Two women in particular went above and beyond... I jokingly called them my bookends, because they were so different from each other, but so good at coming along either side of me and literally holding me up when I felt I couldn't stand a moment longer.

Both of these women I met through my local TMN chapter, CharlotteMommies. Both I had just met within a year of my life completely falling apart. Yet these two women changed my life -- they supported and loved me in my darkest moments. I am a better person because of them.

Two years ago, I wrote this thank you to them and it still holds just as true today:
I have had many friends over the course of my life. I am blessed to have many people who I love and who love me back... who have been there for me through good times and bad times... who have given me hope when I had none, who have let me cry when I needed to cry and giggle like a maniac when I needed to do that too :)

But the past two years have brought two amazing and special people into my life and tonight, as I sit here, surfing the internet and spending time in thought and introspection, I felt the need to just tell the world how really special they are to me and how grateful I am to have them in my life.

To my dear friend, my heart, Carrie Smith...
Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for coming to my house to learn about homeschool and starting a friendship that I know will last until we are old and gray. Thank you for teaching me that faith isn't something that you just share with other people, it is something you have deep inside of you and you let sustain you. Thank you for being kind and loyal and loving. Thank you for loving me enough to take my phone calls at all hours and for coming to my house just because I need a hug. Thank you for making me a part of your family and for loving my children almost as much as I do and for letting me love yours almost as much as you love them. Thank you for loving me enough to speak the truth, even when you don't think I want to hear it. Thank you for crying with me and laughing with me. Thank you for giving me a home when I didn't have one and for letting me come by for a visit without even having to call (or even knock!). Thank you for being my FAMILY. You are a woman of great faith and love... and I am honored and blessed every single day to have you in my life and to call you my friend.

To my dear friend, my confidence (even when I don't have any), Mian Baker...
Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for not thinking I was full of myself for wanting to teach you something and instead just loving me and teaching ME something instead. Thank you for letting me come to your house that day with my pitiful gift of pizza and coke and starting a friendship that will last a lifetime. Thank you for being the person I can call when I am in a panic and always knowing how to calm me down. Thank you for going over and over and OVER things with me until I get them (and then going over and over and over them again when I falter and forget). Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for always standing by me, even when you don't agree with what I'm doing. Thank you for letting me come to your house for lunch and then whipping up a fabulous meal so I don't have to eat a cheeseburger for the umpteenth day in a row. Thank you for all the nights you sat with me because I was afraid to be alone and all the times you hugged me tight because I was crying so hard I couldn't stand up. Thank you for being a fierce friend and being the first person in my whole life to stand up for me and defend me when I couldn't do it myself. Thank you for breaking down the big things into small chunks so I can find a way to attack them one by one. You are a woman of great confidence and loyalty and I am honored and blessed every single day to have you in my life and call you my friend.

The two of you have held me up during the hardest time of my life. I am a better person for knowing you. I know that I would not have made it through the past eighteen months without your constant support and love. I hope you both know how very much you mean to me and how very much I love you. You are both the most amazing, brilliant women I know and I cannot even begin to thank you for all you have done for me and my girls.

To my dear bookends... you are amazing. I love you both!

To Carrie and Mian, thank you, a thousand times over, for all that you have given me -- your love and friendship and support.

Everything is better with a supportive friend (or two!) and a long talk over a hot cup of coffee with a good friend can make even the worst days seem a little less horrible. I hope that many of you are lucky enough to have bookends -- those friends who support you through good and bad, who are always there when you need a hand (or a shoulder to cry on).

I made my donation to The Mommies Network's Annual Appeal this year in honor of my bookends, and the many other wonderful friends I have made through TMN.

Please join me in helping TMN to continue to bring women together and help them find support and friendship. I don't know how I would have survived the past four years without my dear friends... and I hope that together, we can continue to help women find those connections for years to come.

Online fundraising for The Mommies Network Annual Appeal 2012

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