Blessings of Blossoms and Friendship

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I LOVE this time of year!  The weather begins to warm-up, flowers blossom, gardens start to grow, and the vitamin D from the sunshine seems to have a positive effect on us and those around us.  It’s like an instant facelift for the mood.  I have always loved the warmer weather, although I live in the Pacific Northwest, where we do experience a lot of rain in the fall and winter.  That may very well be why I appreciate the spring so much.  It often feels like we have been living in a cave for months and finally get to experience sunlight.  Don’t get me wrong, I love where I live; the mountains, trees, and amazing landscapes are truly amazing, it’s just that spring is so welcome after months of grey.  I love color, which is why I enjoy watercolor painting so much.  Each color hits the paper and something amazing happens…the paint washes through the paper fibers, sometimes mixing and melding with other colors, creating a unique look and feel to each painting.  I love that no two watercolor paintings are alike.  Even if I tried to recreate a painting to the exact brushstroke, it would not be the same.  The paper may be less or more dry, or more coarse.  The amount of color or water on the brush impacts the way it flows across the paper.  Adding new color is often like an experiment, I can’t wait to see the color take off, creating my painting right before my very eyes.  I probably sound a little crazy to someone who doesn’t paint, or hasn’t experienced the marrying of one paint color to another, either on purpose or by chance.  While there are painting methods that are somewhat predictable, I have found that watercolors truly do their own thing, creating a unique mesh of colors and flow that are often not what I expect at all, hence the segue to my topic today, “blossoms of friendship”.  I have many friendships with many different type of people.  Each friendship is unique and dear to me.  I have friends from high school that I may not see every day, or even every year, but each time we talk or get together, it’s like no time has passed.  I have friends on Facebook that I have never met in person, but enjoy friendly banter back and forth.  I have friends that became a friend while working together.  I have some friends that I can’t even recall how we became friends (forgive my aging brain)…Whatever the case, I appreciate each and every friendship in my life, for what each one brings.

I am not always a good friend.  I try to be there for those that need me during the dark times, as well as the good times and truly appreciate those that are there for me during those times as well.  I have lost parents, grandparents, and a newborn child.  I have suffered serious, and non-serious illnesses.  I have been I have been through the darkness of divorce and other unpleasant life events.  Through each of these experiences I have been fortunate to have friends by my side (literally and figuratively), and I hope that I am (or can be) that friend to others…it’s not always easy, and I may not always be able to be there in person, but the sentiment is certainly there.

I met up with friends from high school recently.  It was as day filled with trips down memory lane; so many wonderful memories, many I had forgotten (and many I had not).  There was the time that my friend, Kristi, knowing that I was highly-allergic to poison oak, took a short-cut through a section of field that was filled with poison oak.  She figured we were just quickly roaming through, so it wouldn’t be a big deal.  The next day, my swollen-shut eyes and puffy face said otherwise.  I still react this way when exposed to poison oak, and I always think of Kristi when I blister up (nothing but love for you my friend).   Sure, I could have died (okay, perhaps that is a bit dramatic), but it made for great entertainment back then (and still today, when we laugh about it).

I had a unique, and somewhat challenging childhood that many aren’t aware of, aside from my closest friends.  I was raised by a couple that were named my Godparents and had legal guardianship of me.  My Godmother was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic, making life greatly challenging at times.  She liked everything in its place and was aware of even the slightest change.  I was not allowed to cook, even through my teen years (other than boil water), as she didn’t like the kitchen to get dirty.  One time, when my Godparents were out of town, Kristi and I took advantage of the situation and made oatmeal on the stove top, prompting a significant panic when it boiled over onto the burners (Kristi still has anxiety over this to this day).  We also used the blender to make milkshakes.  We were pretty proud that we got the kitchen sparkling clean, leaving absolutely no trace of our betrayal (each appliance used had its vinyl cover back on as not to give us away).  That is….until my Godmother did her “walk-through” in the kitchen and promptly asked me if I had used the blender.  I panicked; looking around to see what might have given it away, and before I could respond, she said, “you didn’t put the plugs back in the correct outlet”.  I was given a verbal lashing and promised not to use the appliances again, without permission.   While this event induced anxiety at the time, it is one of our favorite memories of our childhood together, and we laugh about it now, (God rest my paranoid Godmother’s sweet soul).

Kristi remains one of my best friends and we reminisce about the good times we had together, as well as the struggles we got each other through.  Today, we experience different challenges of motherhood, working, aging, parents with declining health to mention a few.  Another good friend, Janet, just went through a serious health scare; a brain tumor thought to be malignant.  Nothing brings you back to reality and treasure a friendship like the possibility of losing that person.  Fortunately, after two surgeries, and nearly two weeks of waiting for pathology, it has been confirmed there is no cancer, and she has no sign of a tumor (as in it wasn’t a tumor at all, but appears to have been inflamed brain tissue).  We are grateful for answered prayers, and for the rekindled friendship that often gets lost in daily “life”.  Sometimes you don’t know or appreciate what you have until it’s gone.  So very thankful that I still have this friendship, and it’s stronger than ever.  I don’t know how I would have survived my childhood without my friends, like Kristi and Janet, and so thankful for each and every true friend that I have been blessed with. While we all may not see each other with any kind of frequency, the love and friendship never fades.

So, what does any of this have to do with blossoms (in relation to the title of this blog)?….well, absolutely nothing really, other than each friendship grows in it’s own unique way.  Some are beautiful, nearing perfection.  Some have thorns, but we see the beauty in its complexity.  Others are complicated and may not last long, but we remember the beauty that it held while it blossomed.The meeting of someone may seem insignificant, but when a friendship evolves, there is truly something beautiful that is to be treasured.  I am always striving to be a better person, a better mother, a better partner, a better friend.  I’m not perfect, but I love with all my heart and hold each of my friends near and dear to my heart.

My question to anyone out there reading this…what have you done lately to cultivate your friendships?  Perhaps a phone call, or text, scheduling a get-together, even if only for a brief moment to connect.  I highly recommend you reach out to someone.  Don’t let the passage of time allow you to feel embarrassed for not connecting sooner.  Better late than never.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed with daily life and the struggles that come with it, but there is much joy and fulfillment in connecting with the friends (and family) in our life.  Don’t delay, as we are never promised tomorrow.

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were too afraid to have and the decisions we waited too long to make.”  – Unknown Author