The Arbor Vitae 2013

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HONORING FRIENDSHIP

March 7, 2014

Tags: friendship, school, firstborn, lobby, Lynne

Friendship


Almost 47 years ago on a crisp fall day, I stood in the lobby of my apartment building with my firstborn son, awaiting the arrival of the small school bus that was to take him to school - without me - for the first time.
I was fighting off tears, but he was happily oblivious to my distress, effervescent with excitement, his dark eyes sparkling in anticipation of this grownup moment.
The bus drew up in front of our building, and he pulled frantically at my hand to run to meet it. I wanted to grab him and take him back upstairs. I knew what he did not, that he was leaving me to move into a world which would now be more and more of his own making. I would not be able to intervene or protect. The world of the school bus would be his to navigate alone, and I knew that some of my privilege of motherhood would shrivel and die the moment he stepped alone into the bus.
The bus pulled away, and my tears came. I stepped blearily back into the lobby where a friendly white-haired woman named Rose, sat behind the desk. She peered at me from behind glasses with sparkling crystals embedded in the frames.
"Mrs. Naggar," she said softly, calling me over to where she sat, "Don't cry. He'll be fine. It's a very nice school. Look!" pointing behind me, "Here's Mrs. Barasch. Why don't you ask her? Her girls go to the same school."
I turned, rubbing at my eyes, and saw a friendly woman smiling at me. We started to talk, and friendship began. We have been talking ever since. We shared good and bad life moments, laughed with each other, celebrated with each other, wept with each other. Over the years we met each other's families, shared dinner parties, recipes, and knitting patterns, books we loved and movies we hated, life-changing moments and times of celebration.
Friendship continued long after Lynne and her family moved out of our building, eventually also encompassing a professional side-bar: Lynne went to art school and began to illustrate and write gorgeous picture books. Our lives connected again in a different place, and I became her literary agent.
So today, as she moves toward her March birthday, I honor a friendship that began long ago, and flourishes more than ever as we both age. Our conversation over lunch has changed and shifted over the decades, but we are still the same, swept by the same tides of time, validating each other and supporting each other as we confront the challenges and triumphs of our lives.
Friendship is a unique gift. Thank you, Lynne, for yours.




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