*NOTE: All pictures liberated from Life at 40 Something*
This is my friend, Larena. Today is her birthday. Feel free to go over to Life at 40 Something and wish her a Happy Birthday.
I first met Larena when I was in the 7th grade at age 12. Wow, 35 years ago, do we feel OLD Larena? ;-) She was a very wise, old soul, even back then. I came into a new town, new school and walked into a class already in progress in the middle of the year. Terrified doesn't begin to describe the fears a 12 year old feels at being thrust into change at that vulnerable age. The last thing you want is to be different and have everyone look at you. I took a seat in the aisle next to Larena's seat.
During a quiet free time, Larena spoke to me. I was dressed up for my first day at the new school so I could have fit in with a number of cliques. Larena introduced herself and tried to find out a bit about me. Then she told me about each group of kids around the class, who they were, what types of people they were, if I chose to join one group, which group I couldn't be friends with. After explaining who all the cliques were, which ones you could mix and mingle with, which ones were trouble, she asked which group I though I might fit in to. I asked her which group she was a member of. She then told me she was friends with one or two in this group, one in that group, none in another and so on. She said she was friends with people she liked and didn't let people tell her who she could and couldn't be friends with. She then asked me again, which clique I was going to be friends with, I told her, "you." From then on out, we were friends. I admired her honesty, character and strong sense of self, even at that age. I wanted to be friends with someone with confidence and a backbone, all things I wanted to acquire. I could have come in and joined with the popular kids, the athletic kids, and so on, instead, I joined up with the independant kid who was blazing her own path. She has taught me so much over the years.
I know unfortunately that she has been a much better friend to me than I ever was to her, mostly because I was so needy from age 12 through age 30, and she is a natural born caregiver. She counseled me through my darkest moments and gave me shelter when I needed it. She also taught me hard lessons when I behaved badly, and still, stayed my friend. I am here today, because she was there for me then. There aren't many people you can honestly say that about, but she has been a true blue friend. So today, on her birthday, I wish her the company of the people she loves, and there are many. She's a collector of strays, animals and people, each needing mothering and guidance. She gives of herself endlessly.
I wish her time in nature in her beloved mountains of the Pacific Northwest. She has a true spiritual connection to nature and you can see the peace on her face when she is outdoors. I also wish her fun and happiness. I wish her such robust laughter that she cries from the effort. I hope you have an awesome cake, celebration and day. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LARENA!!!
Okay, you didn't think you were getting away without a corny song for your birthday did you? This song is in my head every time I come out to the Northwest. I remember watching the show, "Here Come the Brides" just to hear this song. Now it can be stuck in your head all day. :-)