Over the River and Through the Woods…

You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

Mo’s living room is almost as comfortable and familiar to me as my own. It’s nearly the witching hour as I sit on her super-sleepable couch with my Mac warming my lap and letting my thoughts drift… Abby stirred sleepily from her couch in the front room a few minutes ago, but small, quiet shushing and her purple blanket calmed her back to dreamland. The boys are both asleep downstairs in the chaos of a playroom dominated for two solid days by four little boys with new toys and two small girls trying to keep up. Jeffrey has half slid off the air-mattress in his footed sleeper grandma gave him for Christmas, and Bean is curled up on the sofa, his bear tucked under his chin and his own footie jammies flopping loose around his slack, sleeping body.

The woodstove in the corner clicks and pops importantly to itself, not quite in-time with my clicking keyboard, but as a comforting harmony, and somewhere deep in the house I hear the heater click on and warm air whirrs quietly from the vents near the floor. Just like at my own house, there are baskets of clean laundry that function as dressers and the clutter of lives busy being lived rather than constantly straightened and organized. It’s not a stretch to say both Mo and I take a lot of latitude in what it looks like to have a house of order. It all depends on what order looks like to you…

Do you want to be surrounded by stacks of tidy, compact structure? Do you need people to fit in this box or that category so you know how to behave? Then my kind of friendship is not for you. This is one of the best lessons I’ve learned with Mo. She holds up a mirror so I can see not only her, but who I am by virtue of how she sees me. I’ve written about it before, but it’s my constant take-away from my love for her.

Last night we took off to see a show, leaving Mr. Mo with all six kids– and they weren’t even in bed yet. We got in the car and as longtime friends can feel in their bones, I knew there were things she had to say to me. “Well, shall we dance around, or just have at it?” Since neither of us inhabit stacks of defined order or live in fear of the borderlands, and my trust of her is beyond implicit, the space to open, unzip and spill is immediately made in an emotional clearing. .

Much like in love, depth comes to a friendship when you face the darkness as well as the light in each other and allow it to carve out holding places for the joy and sorrow as well. When you allow your friend their humanity, their frailty, their failings and treat their soft, white underbelly with tenderness and compassion… that is where your friendship finds its home- and becomes something greater than two people dancing in the light.

On the way to the show, we talked about deep, tender places– places where sometimes even the weight of a gaze makes one sharply intake breath. We felt around in the dark, knowing and trusting each other enough to be vulnerable and know the foundation that was laid down over the years. This act of carving-out may hurt, it may be scary, but it ultimately creates a deeper place within and lays down another layer of bedrock.

We walked simpatico in the Seattle drizzle through the hazy parking lot to the theater, coats pulled snug and messenger bags thumping quietly on our hips, sorting out the things to keep and what to release into the ether.

She scoffed at my choice of Coke Zero over her always superior option of Cherry Coke, and I dumped extra salt on the popcorn on purpose so I wouldn’t have to pee during the movie. By the time the show started, we were back to marveling at Christina Aguilara’s (lack of) acting skills, the heinous comeback of the heavy bang, and making highly educated guesses as to which make-up lines were being showcased on the faces of the other actresses in the film.


This morning, Mr. Mo cooked breakfast for all the kids before he headed off for some Army stuff, and Mo and I packed all the kids and ourselves into one car and headed off to the zoo and aquarium. Many hours later, we returned with a passel of damp, hungry, but pretty happy kids and a sureness that nope, my stultifying and irrational fear of sharks has not yet abated.

Camped around her dining room table, we sent the kids downstairs to play until it was time for Ikea dinner (aw yeah!) and then instant-messaged and facebooked each other from two feet way while high-fiving  over our giggling witty amusement. When she slipped a new MAC Villains lipglass in my hand and said it was for me, I knew all was right in the world again. If Mo gives you make-up? You are something special. If Mo gives you a special limited edition MAC lipglass? You, my friend, have made it. Turns out order really does come in many different colors… I happen to like mine with a dash of latitude, some shine and with a hint of sparkle.


7 thoughts on “Over the River and Through the Woods…

  1. What FANTASTIC friends you two have in each other! I miss being close enough to my best friends to spend time together in person instead of via technology. What a wonderful, rejuvenating vacation for you and your kids – and for Mo’s family! I’m so happy for you.

  2. I so relate to your description of your friendship with Mo. I have one like that too and it is a divine gift. My friend lives almost 2,000 miles away so our face to face times are few and far between, but like you once we are alone, we “have at it”. It’s so great to have someone you can be that open with.

  3. You are truly blessed to have that kind of friendship. I too have a friendship like that and it is truly what sustains me. We have been through so much together. And we are constantly asking eaching other why we can’t keep orgainzed houses. No matter how hard we try it seems unorderliness reigns. Oh well!

  4. You made me miss my sister.

    I’ve found this type of friendship hard to come by. The ones I’ve been able to keep come hell, high water, or distance, are family. Maybe that says something about how difficult I am to befriend.

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