Monday, October 27, 2008

Hello, Old Friend

There is something about old friends. They know you. They will always accept you back even after months (or years) have passed without much interaction. I received a late birthday greeting from my old college friend Sarentha last week. She and I actually got closer after college, and there have been times that we talked fairly often -- seeking and offering support and advice as we each relocated a time or two -- but more often than not that Christmas greeting and picture will remind me just how out of touch we are. But no matter -- we have the foundation, and it will not be shaken.

I had a long chat with my dear friend Angela last night. After I left Houston four years ago, we used to talk weekly, then perhaps every few weeks, and now it seems like a quarterly weekend call is all we can manage. Did we cast blame at one another for calls that go unreturned or weeks that went by with no contact? No -- we expressed our dismay that it happened yet again, and then we talked. I heard the smile in her voice and then as I found out what was really going on in her life, some tears. The time and distance hasn't eroded the ease and comfort.

Kyle's been back at school for about 6 weeks now. As was my practice last year, I've tried to set aside a few hours one morning a week to sip coffee and write. But this year has been different. Aside from a little love affair with Starbucks' new Pike's Place house roast, and their new free refill policy, my needs have changed, so a weekly visit is not always in order. Kyle is at school three days a week and I have more time to myself. I'm also doing more shuttling getting him there an extra day each week, and picking up Amanda from her extra-curriculars at school. So sometimes the biggest luxury for me is to just go back home.

Something today prompted me to return to the familiar comfort of my first coffeehouse love, so
I'm sharing a visit with another old friend right this very second -- Panera. I missed the comfortable warmth of Panera versus the more sterile Starbucks environment. I missed the tables of other women enjoying their freedom together. I missed the moms and grandmas treating their toddlers to a muffie. I missed the menu, so today I enjoyed what had to be the best egg and cheese sandwich on the tastiest and softest Ciabatta bread.

Sometimes absence does make the heart grow fonder. Just like there is always room for me to add a new friend to my heart without replacing the function of my old friends, I'm glad that there's room in my life for two coffeehouses. I'm glad that I have the extra funds to be able to afford to treat myself. I'm also thankful for my real friends who are there for me. I'm glad that they accept the changes in my life, and that I roll with the changes in their lives.

Life is good.


Katrina said...

One of my best friends from college visited me last spring, along with her family. Though we've been known to go months without emailing or calling, we picked right up where we left off. There's never any condemnation, only happiness at connecting again.

And I, too, have a place in my heart for both Starbucks and Panera. Each serves a different function, but each is well-liked. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with you Jennifer! It is always to get back in touch with someone. Sarentha is always so good about keeping the cards coming and writing in them.