I wish I had written down the exact day that you came into my life…….such a pivotal moment it was; but I had no idea just how much you were going to change my world! It seems my world was divided into two parts…….before you, and after you. My question is how did I exist without you? I thought my life was normal, this discontentment was what adults felt……it was just life.
I reluctantly trudged through my day, falling away from once close friends and family to just being a mom. I tried to push through…..I succeeded. My success was wearing baby vomit, working all day to come home to more work…..and I was exhausted. Not in the way a person is tired from extending themselves, but spiritually worn out. I picked one foot up and then the other……just making it through one day, one minute, one second at a time. It became rather burdensome to make it through the struggles this old life threw at me.
The once ready to smile, laugh all the time girl had dissipated into the girl that just wanted to disappear…I forgot how it felt to have the sun shine on my face. Oh, not because of my kids but in spite of myself. I forgot, that I mattered. I mattered, my happiness counted, my joy was important……..and I was happy, happy my girls took a step, said a word, kissed my cheek, but I had forgotten me. I had forgotten such a vital part….the part of the mommy they needed, the mommy that giggled, the mommy that took a moment to relish in just being myself!!!!!!!
I was working full-time, being a mom, and coping the best I could to find a way to do what was best for my special girl, Braelyn. Then this amazing thing happened….as luck would have it you were going to start watching kids from home…an enviroment where I thought Braelyn would thrive with more one on one. I had watched you with your own kids, with the daycare kids…….and I knew you had this gift. Little did I know how much you would change my daughter…..the little girl that was misunderstood. That little girl flourished in your care, she gained confidence, the positive reinforcement, and the love you showed her made her feel like perhaps she could fit in. My heart twisted as she had tried without success to feel like she was good when she simply didn’t understand how to fit in. You embraced her, and Brynlee…..My heart grew the day I picked them up and came in to find you sitting in the floor with Bryn in your lap and Braelyn chatting away, laughing, she looked so at home. She looked like she had found her place, the place she could just be herself. I loved you for that.
Little did I know, after a few dinners with you and your family…..I realized that I had found MY place. I am not sure exactly when it happened, or the moment you became my human. It just did. Somewhere along the journey I found myself, and I owe you for that. I owe you more than I can ever give in one lifetime. Once more I laughed, once more I smiled, and I felt more like me than I had in a very long time. You just accepted me, my flaws and all. Not only did you get my silly sense of humor, you shared it! Before I blinked you were my go to friend, my always there friend, my can count on you for anything person, my laughter when I was stressed, and my sounding board. You were my cleaning buddy, my spend the whole day doing nothing or everything and having a blast.
I remember one afternoon, after I had left my job, I came over like I often did to just hang out. It was a warm summer day and all our children were playing, we were sitting in lawn chairs goofing off, and Dani was getting tired. You got a phone call, Dani lifted her tiny arms up to me and for the first time said, “Bo Bo” I scooped her up. Slowly we walked through the yard, I rubbed her hair and watched as she drifted off to sleep in my arms. It hit me that I loved your kids as much as you loved mine. I packed her back to the lawn chair as she finished her nap. I watched as the kids played childhood games and knew they were developing life long friendships with your babies, my heart swelled. Then I looked over in the middle of our conversation, we were laughing so hard tears were spilling from our eyes. I leaned back and for the first time in a long time, I felt the sun shine on my face once more. The warmth, the comfort the just being with the person that got me……and I knew I had found the best friend that I had needed without even knowing I did.
You caught me unaware, you changed me, you shifted me, inspired me, uplifted me. You are the first person to pay me a compliment. I am the first to tell you when a pair of jeans look good on you, or that I love the way your makeup looks that day! You are the one I call when my heart is burdened, I am not good with sharing sappy emotions but I can with you. I can call you sobbing and by the time we get off the phone I am me once more, we always end with a laugh! I can shoot it to you straight and you love me for it, even though goodness knows I am brutally honest! You will never know, I could spend a million years telling you how much I love you but I will try to hit on the key reasons that you are my human.
- You can read my mind, my face, my thoughts, and that would be terrifying if it was anyone else. If I am thinking…….”GAWD, I want to throat punch this person.” But I have a fake smile plastered on my face, I can look at you and see you grinning because you already know I want to punch them.
- You know that I HATE kid birthday parties which may possibly make me a terrible person, you love me anyways because you know when it is your childrens birthdays that I will be there because I love them!
- You know all my quirks, the way noise gets my anxiety flared up and you just take over getting onto my kids so I can calm myself…..and the best part is they listen to you!
- You offer to keep my children even when your hands are full, you can sense I need a break and you just take them. Not from obligation but because you love them.
- You are one of the best moms I know, you inspire me to be a better mom every single day.
- You are so kind. I often get onto you because I hate to see anyone take advantage of your kindness…….but I love you because that same kindness is what makes you..YOU!
- You are patient, I am not but you don’t seem to mind. I have witnessed you, ten kids in your care, some in diapers, others potty training, some crawling and others running……yet you seem to know the needs of every child. There can be screaming, crying, and mass chaos running amuck and I am ready to admit defeat after five minutes. One kid is fighting, another is hungry, that one just spilled all the cereal, oh crap that one poured out the last of the milk, and that one just punched the other one…..I am in time to jump ship mode, and I look over and your demeanor is the same. Calmly you break up the fights, clean up the cereal and milk, and feed the hungry children, all while I look on in amazement. I find myself unknowingly following your lead and doing all the things that need to be done! I tell myself I could’ve done that…….only my way would have involved way more yelling and borderline psychosis than your approach did! Truth is I could not do what you do and you accept this part of me, and I am amazed by what you can do!
- You can make me laugh even when I want to cry! I just go to you like a refill of happy and you fill my cup! It takes me a little more gas to get where you are now, but still after about 5 minutes with you, I feel myself alter. The suffocating burdens of life, and housework start to dim, and before I know it, we are a fit of laughter in the floor, or even just sitting in the same room silent enjoying each other’s company. We don’t have to use our words lol but when we do they are complete goofiness, and when we both want to just sit together……well that is okay too!
- You get me……….you just get me! Like so many human beings on this earth could choose or try to get me…..but they would fail! With you, there are no explanations needed, no pardon needed, no warning of “hey, I am a dark, and twisted person who may not always be the best version of myself.” You are my no apologies needed friend, nah with you I can just be me…..all the dark places can surface without worry of being judged
- You aren’t a quitter. You and I have this in common. We go the distance, we have stamina and endurance, we keep on keeping on even when it hurts. That isn’t to say the hurting doesn’t get to us some days. But when those storm clouds of life come our way….when we feel like giving up, and we almost do………we don’t. I have been on the ledge; at the breaking point, ready to jump or pull the trigger just stop the hemorrhaging and you will calmly step up. When we want to give up or give in because this life is hard……we have a contact on our phone that will bring us back to reality, remind us how blessed we are, it is like calling in your own personal life line! My hostage negotiator, my tell me the truths even when they hurt!
- You can just tell me the truth and I listen. Well, not many have this. Actually, NONE of my friends have this trait EXCEPT YOU! Most are too intimidated to tell me the truth, the honesty is too raw and they cower beneath my dominating personality, but not you. You will tell me what I need to hear, and I thank you for that more than you ever know. Thank you, for not backing down on my VERY blatant personality but giving me what I need! I may seem upset because you are offering a new perseption on how I should think about a situation……..I Need THAT
- You make me feel valued, needed and important. It sounds so silly and I wouldn’t admit it to any other soul in the world……..sounds positively pathetic and I don’t want anyone else to see that vulnerable part of me. BUT, I like being needed, it is what I do, I am the one that people come to, even though it is painful when I need them in return and I feel so lonesome. I do this to myself, I allow myself to be the therapist even when I need a dose of therapy! You are my therapy, you come to me when you are sad, but you listen when I need to be heard and THAT, well that is everything!
- You don’t hide. I tend to run, when life gets hard, when the hurts are many and the happiness is few….I run. I run from myself, from my circle of safety, from my hurt. I run. Not only do you run too, but you are where we run. I ran one day only to find you..YOU were on that long, hard road and you made me face my fear, my nemesis, my enemy. You didn’t leave me, you ran with me, and the reason I can allow you to walk alongside of me is BECAUSE I know that I get to return the favor.
- You listen. I often call you when my day is bad OR when it is wonderful! If something horrible or IF something wonderful happens to me, you are the one I want to share it with. Why? Because if I am crying you will listen, you even may cry with me, if I had some funny, or happy or AMAZING thing happen to me, you laugh, you appreciate the moments that others cannot be bothered with.
- You bring out my silly, and make me young again. If we are together, best believe we are doing something juvenile, be it dancing to the most recent hit song or blasting some old school n’sync or mariah carey, we are doing it loud and proud! Whether we are cleaning the oven, and dancing with a fork in our hand, or if we are in the car with at least 7 kids to witness our craziness, we do not care. I have witnessed the veritable eye rolls from our kids as we attempt to twerk or act like total fools whilst trying to do a duet. We have created so many stupid dance moves and it is all okay! I love it….and our kids are better kids because of it!
- Being silly with you makes me a more approachable mom. Just the fact that we aren’t above putting hair bows in our hair or talking like some derranged people…..our kids may roll their eyes, or look on acting embarrassed. The truth is, when we have fun…..our kids do in return! We aren’t stressed about their behavior, we are just being ourselves and our children get to glimpse the fun, carefree person we can be. It makes them open up and let loose…that has to be worth more than anything!
- We both believe in God. That sounds like a small thing to most, but in reality it is everything. I can have friends that don’t have faith, or do not believe in spirituality, or God but to have a friend who shares my beliefs is huge! We are imperfect, the two of us, no doubt about that! But the fact that I know you believe in the written word, the Bible, and when I am human and I fail you don’t judge me and vice versa. Knowing that I can call you when my failings have landed me in need of prayer…..well, that is more than words. Do I fail? Yes! Am I a sinner? Yes! But that doesn’t change the fact that I am a christian! Having you on my team, gives me even more reason to keep my belief system!
- You are just YOU! You are possibly, no wait, CERTAINLY the best version of me, you are the warmth on a cold, dark day, you are the definition of who I want to be…..You are me.I thank God every single day for allowing me to have a best friend who compliments my faults, who brings out the best of me, and who pushes me to keep on trying when the world is crashing down. Thank you for being my human…you are my favorite! This is just a list of a few things that I love about you, there are a million more, I could sing your praises all day but it would never be enough! I am beyond glad I got you in my corner! Your bestie for life! April Mangrum