i have these friends, and if i was in middle school still i would call them best friends or some other intensifier that is unnecessary as an adult, because the folks who stick by you when you're at your lowest are merely friends. the other guys in your life suck - they suck your emotions and your money and your time and anything else you have because they do not really care for the things you care for. And that is not to say that these suckers are bad. They just do not care for the same household and the same children or the same struggles that you juggle. They also have folks who suck from them. it is the reciprocity of relationships with other human beings.
Deep breath for the exposure coming. i save up my nickels for my Lucy! MY lucy is walking through the same struggles as i with different details.
i met my lucy through a series of events that may not have resulted in a friendship, but i'm so glad that it did. My lucy seemed to be the perfect wife, mom and neighbor because when she closed the door to her row home and stepped outside, she put on her smile and offered everything she had to whoever asked her for help. And it has been my experience that the more you offer, the more is requested.
Cue '80's style montage with plucky music in the background. The neighborhood was alive with parents running to local hardware stores, drug stores, supermarkets, and yes, the liquor store; looking for supplies to get through the evening of a 3-D school project that all our children had to complete before morning. It was a time when ovens broke and we used toasters to bake cupcakes for our kids' birthdays in the middle of the night and when we would call for recipes for a 'quick bbq sauce' because our cupboard was bare. ("just meet me half way down the street and take mine," after the illusion of making something from scratch is blown!) But i digress to this school project: It was bad. covered in glue and glitter, stacks of the wrong sized foam board that had been measured once but cut twice and tense from listening to the homework child crying because the project is too fancy and only needs to be a shoe box, when clearly i just saw cupcake man in the hardware store talking about the 'foundation' under the 'decoration' and believe his kid is going to kick my kid's ass in the presentation.
i'm not sure the next progression of events that found me knocking on my lucy's door unannounced, but i was there, bottle in hand and frustration smoking from my ears. and she answered her door. now, this person who had been the epitome of perfection to me, answered her door and invited me in with an apology for the mess in her home. and it was a mess. it was a reflection of her family not putting their everyday things away, the school project vomit all over the dining room table and possibly decorations for an upcoming holiday strewn about the house (or was that a different day?) . But in the mess, this woman apologized, sifted through for two glasses and we sat together and Lucy'ed. we talked about the things we needed to work out in our heads while communing with one another. And in the end the school projects got done (for the whole neighborhood) and we woke in the morning having little or no sleep from being up all night with the glitter and glue and got on with our lives.
Could I have made it through that night without my Lucy? yup! without a doubt -what's the alternative, not seeing the sunrise? Could she have made it through without me being her Lucy? of course.
But here's the thing... seeing the perfection in the middle of chaos reminded me that the folks with whom we share our mess are the folks who don't mind so much the mess we bring to them. They are always there, for nothing more than a nickel. nothing more than the smallest thing with which we can repay them. because when they need the doctor to be in, they may have nothing more than that nickel as well.
I reflect on this night every time i need my lucy or one needs me to be lucy, which happened to be yesterday again.
The struggles of yesterday become the sunrise of today. And when there is time, i will turn in my nickels and demand the respite from the mess with my lucy as i expect her to do with me.