Monday, June 3, 2013

A grandfather clock, a family of bluebirds, and a lifelong friend

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… 
It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” 
-- C.S. Lewis                          

As I sit in the dining room of my best friend Dawn's home, I am thinking about the value of a friendship that has withstood the test of time -- the test of new friends coming and going, of divorce, widowhood, single motherhood, getting back in the dating game, remarriage, step-children, new careers. The list could go on and on. For 50 years, Dawn and I have been there for each other. 

As I listen to the birds flocking to Dawn's menagerie of bird feeders outside, the grandfather clock in the living room chimes, a lovely reminder of the love her grandpa had for her grandma as he crafted it for her as a wedding gift oh so many years ago. A Van Gogh print hangs on the wall behind me and simple, but elegant furnishings surround me.

I've been here since Friday. Today, Dawn and her husband rose early and headed to work. I am alone.

This house has become a haven for me during this time of transition as I've been forced to face the rest of my life without my mother. Since Mom's death in January, I've made multiple trips to my hometown of Manheim, Pennsylvania to tend to the multitude of things one must deal with when their parents are gone but the family home is not. My sisters, niece, nephew and my own kids live in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, NYC, Binghamton, Washington (PA), and Pittsburgh. No one lives here. So when we merge on our childhood home for time together (of work, laughter, memories, and tears), there isn't enough room for all of us to sleep in the three-bedroom house where we grew up.

That's why, while they're all dealing with a chaotic morning of the little ones' energy spurts (they're four, three, and two) and the baby's demands (and five-week-old Marley has been quite demanding), I am spending the early part of my day in the peaceful oasis Dawn calls 'home.' I don't want to leave.

As I made my tea this morning, I watched out the window as a family of bluebirds took turns visiting the feeder filled with meal worms. Happiness? Yep.

Perhaps, as C.S. Lewis said, friendship isn't necessary. But I sure wouldn't want to try to survive without it.

Sharing my Monday morning thoughts with you,


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