Have you ever met someone in your life that you just felt connected with instantly? When I was a little girl, I met someone -- I don't really remember meeting her, although she tells me she moved to town when she was in the first grade. We hit it off -- we were the best of friends. We spent endless hours at her house or mine -- playing hide and seek in her huge home, or playing on her bumper pool table, or just laughing in her room. Those memories to me are as vivid as if they happened yesterday. She remembers playing on our farm (what town girl doesn't like to play on the farm?)....and fondly remembers my parents. In the eighth grade, her family moved away. I remember when I heard they were moving, I had never heard of a town called Asheville, North Carolina. I just knew it sounded very far away. I was sad, because I was pretty certain I would never see my friend again.
For a few years we exchanged letters and even pictures, told each other our secrets and crushes and all those girl things.....and, like most long distance things, we acquired new friends, started doing different things, and drifted apart.
However, I never forgot my friend, Cyndi. I don't know why, of all the people who have crossed my path, she was one I never forgot. When we first got the Internet, I searched her name to see if I could find her. No luck. Of course not. I only knew her maiden name and certainly she was married by now.
Flash forward a few years....actually, many years. There was this new invention called Facebook, where people could search for other people....you could even put their maiden names in and they would come up! Hurrah!!!
I can't remember for sure who found who -- although I think maybe I searched her and found her -- but almost instantly when that friend was confirmed -- phone numbers were exchanged and we were gabbing on the phone! It was so wonderful!
We've spent the past couple of years catching up, as much as you can via photos and phones and instant messaging. She's led a really interesting life -- and has a very beautiful family to show for it. She's adopted children from Liberia, as well as from across the United States....she has such a beautiful heart.
She's been on a cross country tour this summer with her kids. I knew that when she headed out, and suggested she make Ohio one of her stops. This past weekend, I spotted a picture of her on Facebook -- and she was only a couple of hours from me. Instantly, I requested that she swing by on her way through! I think I may have even begged (sorry Cyndi!). She agreed, but said she would only have limited time to meet for lunch.
We set the time, she texted me along the way to let me know where she was and when she would be arriving. She must have a pretty heavy foot, because I left my office when she said she was leaving our hometown....I work across town, and she had a 20 minute drive. I told her I would reserve a table for us.
Not necessary -- I saw her beautiful family in the parking lot as soon as I drove up. I can only imagine what anyone walking or driving past thought when they saw these two women who hadn't seen each other in 30 some years embrace. There were tears shed (not me, of course!) -- and after the introductions of her kids and myself, we started chatting. And chatting. And chatting. As if we had just seen each other last week and needed to catch up. This woman, whom I truly feel is somehow connected to me, and I spent almost 2 hours catching up. Our poor waitress kept coming to take our order....and we kept forgetting to look at the menu! LOL
It was such a special day. I knew I had to get back to work -- and she needed to get back on the road -- but I didn't want her to go. So, we began with a photo shoot. Photo shoots are always good, right?
Here are two of her beautiful daughters -- Faith and Olivia. Full of spunk, and, I think, a whole lot of fun.......
Linda (on the left) and Brendi, holding baby Jeremiah (I tried to hold him, but he really likes his mama!):
We got a little silly when we realized we had matching phones!
What a GREAT day. What a gift she is to me. Near or far, we are still close at heart. Or, as Cyndi says, "Sisters from different mothers (and fathers!)!!!"
We made a pact to not wait another 30 years to reunite. With any luck, we can make this a semi-regular occurrence. I can't wait to see her again!