Sometimes you don’t even know just where to begin about Your People. So you just start with a good story.
We were so excited. The room we chose in this cabin had a queen-sized bunk bed. We’d never even seen such a thing. That means 4 of us Divas could stay in the same room. Awesome.
I definitely couldn’t sleep on the top because I get up about 47 times during the night to pee. (Teacher bladder side-effects) And that’s disruptive enough when you’re sleeping in the same room together, let alone trying to navigate up and down a top bunk in the dark. No way, Jose.
So Missy and I snagged the bottom bunk while our two other Diva-friends climbed on the top. But this was a strange set-up. The top bed was secured underneath by thick ropes instead of beams of wood, so when our friends climbed on top, there was naturally some sagging. Those two friends found themselves rolling toward the middle of the mattress, basically creating sort of a top-bunk taco, while Missy and I now laid underneath with a mattress about 6 inches from our noses.
Maybe this wasn’t such a cool set-up after all.
We laughed about how ridiculous it all seemed, but it was still somewhat functional so we tried to calm our minds to get ready for some sleep. But just before our final lights-out, when our eyes had adjusted to the dim room, we noticed something.
It was a stain. A rather large stain on the bottom of the mattress right above us. It was darkish. Brownish reddish. And pretty large. Did I mention it was large?
Did I mention 6 inches from our noses?? Yeah.
There were several minutes of lamenting this (now very obvious) stain. Debating what it possibly could be. How did it get there? Could it simply be someone had a (very substantial) bodily fluid accident? If so, why was there some splatter around the edges of the stain? Dear Lord. And if this is what’s on the bottom of the mattress where cabin renters could see it, when WHAT IN THE HECK does the top side look like? Gulp.
It was official. We decided right then and there that the mattress above us (SIX INCHES above us) had clearly been the scene of a horrific murder sometime in days past. Our peaceful cabin in the woods was now starting to give us creepy vibes.
And believe it or not, that wasn’t even the most surprising part of that weekend, but somehow we all made it through with only slight emotional damage. Good times.
Ah, the stories. The stories we have that create the inside jokes that create the looks that know what you mean without saying a word are the very fabric of Our People. It’s the stuff that holds us together throughout an entire life.
Missy is one of my dearest friends, and that’s a huge understatement. There is absolutely nothing in the universe she doesn’t know about me. I can best describe her as a deep well of wisdom and loving advice. She’s one of the safest places in the world to take my heart’s concerns.
This is a friend you need in your treasury of People. She’s my Strawberry Pie Friend. She’s a busy momma of three amazing little ones. Her husband works hard as a teacher while she works hard from home, caring for her kiddos and ensuring they grow up to be good citizens of the world. She has a close family and lots of little networks of friends. Her life is very full.
To hear Missy tell it, things are hectic. It’s hard to balance everything. She has a lot of important hats to wear, and sometimes they’re all stacked up on top of her head all at once. She sometimes feels overwhelmed at trying to do everything and do any of it well. We’ve all been there, right?
But let me tell you what it’s like from my perspective: This girl gets it. She knows that loving big in all the small moments is the only way to do life.
She models a healthy marriage by making sure she and her husband have time together, away from the kids. Who else is going to assure them that mommy and daddy love each other and all is secure?
She cares well for her home, which in itself can be a full-time job when you have little feet and hands all over the place at all times. Her home is a welcoming, beautiful space that makes you feel comfortable as soon as you walk in. But it’s about so much more than having a nice house. Missy knows that a welcoming place is part of overall hospitality, with which she is most definitely gifted.
Her children are well-loved by both parents, but I especially admire how she interacts with each of her kids as individuals. She knows their personalities and that what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other. She is never too busy to listen to a story, a lament, or a question from one of her kiddos. While doing so, she also manages to lovingly help them understand they are not the center of the universe, and sometimes they have to be gracious and be okay with their request going unmet. I thank her and moms just like her all around the world for being patient and loving enough with her kids to help them develop this perspective.
During the days when her littles were even littler, everyone was home together. All day. Every Day. All. Day. Long. She knew she would have to establish healthy routines for everyone so they could stay a happy family. She taught her tiny kiddos that the numbers on the clock held their boundaries, and from this-number-on-the-clock to that-number-on-the-clock, it was quiet time in their house. They could lie down and take their naps during this time, but if they chose not to nap, this was still quiet time. They could choose a calm activity such as looking through a book in their beds, but they had to stay in quiet time until that-number-on-the-clock.
Is this not brilliant? She knows herself and her family well enough to know that everyone needs a rest during the day, including her. (Especially her!) She’s smart enough to understand that her mental and emotional state sets the tone for the whole household. So if she and her kids could both get a little reset throughout the day, everyone would be better off for it. She gets that we all have a limited capacity, and that we need to allow some margin for making sure we don’t hit our limits.
In addition to being an incredible wife and mom, Missy is just a downright great person. She’s thoughtful and encouraging and funny. She is very intuitive, picking up on things before most people would, and she remembers to ask how that thing is going that you mentioned to her three weeks ago.
When I looked back over my Facebook feed that highlights our friendship, I couldn’t help but smile. It is literally a back-and-forth string of encouragement and love. So many instances of us thanking each other for our friendship, for uplifting words, for remembering such-and-such.
Sometimes, my heart and mind get cloudy and anxious and downright dark. She understands and doesn’t leave me there. She comes right after me, never bothering to ask if I need her to. Because she sees me there, in a poor state, and knows I need a friend to pull me out. She doesn’t avoid my mess because it makes her uncomfortable to talk about. She doesn’t pretend like it’s not there. She dives right into it with me. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty, because she cares more about me than she cares about her own comfort.
I write this part through tears, because Missy has jumped right into that mess with me more times than I can count over the past year or so. I have told her many times that I don’t think I could have made it through this year without her. Her prayers and encouragement are still helping to lift me up, without her even realizing it.
When you find a friend who will share the best AND worst moments of your life, she is positively Your People. If she tells you what you know is the truth even when it’s not what you want to hear, or if she prays for you right over the phone when you’re having one of those days, if she listens as you say things you’re discovering about yourself that even YOU don’t like, by all means, keep that friend. She is Your People in the very best way, and you have no idea how valuable that truly is until you’ve walked a stretch of life with her.
Missy, you are the real deal, girl. I love you so much and I could never express how thankful I am to have you in my life. So very grateful that you are My People.