Monday, May 9, 2022

Friends Are People You Choose and Who Choose You - Age Is Irrelevant to Friendship

I got all of my product photos moved from my phone over to the laptop on Saturday. The best thing about the day, however, was an unexpected visit in the late afternoon from JenyBeth, the daughter of my dear friend Richard. She had come by the store on Wednesday to give me an update about what was happening in her life and her mother's life, but of course it was my day off, and DH can't hear well (at all!), so the news I actually got was seriously minimal. But she dropped by again on Saturday and since the store wasn't busy, we got a chance to get a solid 45 minutes of catch-up done. 

JenyBeth grew into a smart, talented and fun person. I've 
known her since she was born, and I'm so happy with 
the person she is today. It was a joy to see her again. 

JenyBeth's father, Richard, was the brother of Steve - a fellow archaeology student with whom we went to school for our Master's degrees. Steve was the Best Man at our wedding, and when I moved up to Minnesota and DH stayed behind in New Mexico to finish his thesis and defend it, Steve told me his brother Richard lived up here and gave me his phone number. So I called him, invited him over for dinner, and we started a friendship that lasted until he died, quite suddenly, of a massive heart attack, in 2012. 

When I first met Richard, he was engaged to Cindy - a woman from rural Indiana who had Multiple Sclerosis. (I normally wouldn't bother mentioning anyone's illness, but MS defined Cindy - who she was and what she could/couldn't do.) They were married shortly after I was, and moved into an apartment in a nearby suburb. We'd all get together often and DH and I played computer games with Richard on very old systems before there was Apple or IBM computers for the home. He was deep into computers, working for some of the top computer companies over the years. He had very marketable skills. 

Although JenyBeth could certainly be my own 
child, she's someone I consider a dear friend - not 
someone I watched grow up, but someone I can 
talk to easily without the years between us being 
any issue. 

Cindy was pregnant with JenyBeth within the first 1-2 years that I knew her, and the pregnancy was good for her. She was more mobile, and able to walk easier, which was excellent. JenyBeth - then just called Jenny - was born without problems and Richard and Cindy bought a small house in a far northern suburb. It was a bit more of a trip to visit them, but we were still regular visitors and knew everyone over the years. I even went on a long-weekend trip to Chicago with Cindy and we had a great time together. But over the years, Cindy changed. Her illness became more pronounced, she was more wheelchair bound, and she dove deeply into the church, becoming a bit too focused on it for my comfort levels. 

After Richard died, I visited Cindy a few times, helping her with things that were impossible for her to do - climbing onto ladders to pull down or replace curtain rods and draperies, and other such things. I was happy to do it, but I had never established a great friendship with Cindy. She was uncomfortable with my lack of "faith" and I was uncomfortable with her need to "convert" me. Richard and JenyBeth were my friends in that family. I missed Richard terribly, and JenyBeth was living in Indiana, but planning on moving back eventually. Still, I kept in touch with them, just not very intensively. 

I don't have a lot of really close friends. My 
BFF Sharon, my friend since High School, 
has been a friend for more than 50 years 
now. JenyBeth has been a friend since she 
matured into a wonderfully intelligent and 
imaginative young woman. There's certainly 
an age difference, but that only matters if 
both of us care about it. We don't. LOL

It was truly wonderful to get a good catch-up with JenyBeth and find out some of the crap her Mom had been dealing out to her. Cindy is now in Assisted Living and the county will take over and own the house, but until they do, JenyBeth will live there. She's got a roommate to share expenses, and they're cleaning out the house and re-doing it, one room at a time. Anything will be an improvement - it hasn't been updated since they purchased it in the early 1980's. I'll stay in touch with JenyBeth, she's dear to my heart. And I'll hope for the best for Cindy, but I won't go out of my way to see her. I'll leave visits up to her church friends and I'll stick with the family I chose long ago when I first met my good friend Richard. 

Well, this went on far longer than I'd planned, so I'm out of here. I'm NOT going to do serious photos for this - just a couple to break up the paragraphs. I hope all of you have a fabulous Monday and I'll be back tomorrow. Slava Ukraini. 

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