This morning, while Sorcha was getting ready for school, I gave her a hug and noticed something different…something I could no longer do. For a long time, when she would run up to me for a snuggle, as she leaned on my shoulder, I would bend my head sideways and lean on her head. Eventually the “lean” turned into a “rest”. She would run up to me, the hug would begin and since her head came to just below my chin, I would simply rest my head on her head looking forward.
However, this morning while mid hug, I realized while resting on her head, I was looking up and not forward. I was taken aback! Suddenly, out of nowhere, my little one had become too tall to be a head rest. She is no longer a head shorter than me—it appears she has quietly snuck into the area of, when it comes to growing taller, catching up. Soon, we will be eye to eye and some day, I just know it, I will become her head rest as I lean on her shoulder.
This isn’t so bad really; Sorcha won’t be the last person to treat my head as a perch for her chin and she certainly isn’t the first, which brings us to the person in the title of this blog entry.
When, not that many moons ago, Sorcha fit under my chin, I told her a couple times, that the height difference between my friend Wendy and I, when we were kids, was a head difference and Wendy would often come up behind me and use me as a head rest. I remember finding it amusing as my lack of height never really bothered me and I was happy to help with the resting of her head. To me it was sweet and showed the world that we were friends.
Wendy and I met over 30 years ago back in grade 3. She was shy, shyer than I was, and I longed to be her get to know her. She seemed interesting and smart, both traits that turned out to be true. I’m not sure if it started in grade 3 or if it wasn’t until grade 4, but eventually we started walking halfway home together. We would walk with each other until we reached Aldene Ave, remembering every day to shake hands for luck. (You see, Wendy had been attacked by a big dog at some point, on that street and we figured a “you’ll make it past the dog” handshake would ensure safety. She never got attacked after our handshakes started so I’m thinking it worked. )
For a few years, we were what you would call “school friends” meaning we just hung out together, although not exclusively, at school. It wasn’t until the summer going into grade 7 that we started to hang out together outside of school. It was a big step in our friendship and with it came sleepovers, cookie making (along with exploding blenders if I recall), Froggie’s Diner and recording ourselves on tape pretending to interview famous people.
We went through a lot together. Wendy was the first person I confessed my love of Michael J. Fox to. (It may not seem like a big deal to you, but to me it was huge!) She and I went to camp T-Bird together and were “Wild Outposts” for two weeks. I stayed with her and her family while my parents headed to Ottawa to find a house and she was with me when I said goodbye to my cat Rocky before we left Victoria.
During my 4 years in Ottawa she was…let’s face it…the unfortunate recipient of my longest, most tedious, poorly written, letters. When we returned to Victoria, I had assumed we would be going to university together, but Wendy had decided that SFU, not UVic would be her university of choice; a decision that crushed me at first, but later came to an eye opening experience for both of us. My many travels to Vancouver to visit Wendy changed my life forever. They enabled me to see life beyond Vancouver Island and forced me to live outside my comfort zone. It gave me courage to realize what I wanted out of life and move on to new things.
In October 1997, at my wedding in Ottawa, Wendy (along with a few other very good friends) stood as witness to my marriage to Sean. In October 2001, she held my baby Sorcha and in December 2002 I held her first daughter (after politely turning down the offer to look at the photos of her daughter’s birth). The miracle of life in my arms, the good friend in the bed in front of me, our spouses at our sides, smiles on our faces; I marveled at how far we’d come, at how much we’d grown up and changed and been through. We had taken very different roads to get to that moment, but through it all we were still friends.
There’s so much more I could write, but that’s true of anyone who has been a friend with someone for as long as Wendy and I have been friends. I’m not saying it’s all been rosy. We’ve had our ups and downs, but the fact that we are still friends shows that the core of our friendship, the seed that started it all, still remains.
Wendy, I wish you a very happy birthday. I hope that you have a good year, the last of your (and mine!) thirties, and I thank you for being my friend.