Here it is, Monday again already. The weekend sure goes fast, especially when you do not want it to. As I do each Monday, I got up, dressed, and ate some breakfast before leaving the house and getting myself to work by my 8:00 am start time. Clock in the van read 7:59 when I pulled into the parking lot. So far, so good. I got out of the van, kissed Tommy goodbye, and opened the door to the building. Entering, keys in hand I greeted my friend D'Anitra (Dee) and unlocked the door to our office. Aside from being a little stuffy, everything looked the same. I grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator, went to my desk, sat down, and fired up my computer. Looking around, I was reminded that this week I would be in a way, on my own. My best friend, who also happens to share the office with me and Dee is out on vacation. Yes, she and her family are basking in the warm sunshine, camping down at the Lake this week. My partner in crime is MIA! Whatever will I do?
I know, it seems like a minor problem to have. And honestly, I know I will be just fine. But I do miss her presence already and it is just Monday. But then again, she is my best friend. Another amazing friend of mine (JoWanda) came back to my office early this morning to "check" on me. She promised to stop in and make sure I was alright throughout the week. She said it with a smile on her face and I knew she was for the most part teasing me. But then again, it is still nice to be checked on. She said something funny that really struck me. She said, "every married couple needs some time apart". I comically snided back with, "this is news to me that we are married!". I knew she was just kidding, and she quickly made her way back down the hallway to her own office. But not before she got the wheels turning in my head (and for a Monday morning, that is epic. Well done, Jo. Well done).
I think in many ways, our very best of friendships can mirror marriages. No not in the literal sense, but in the sense that you work together with that person in order to create a harmonious environment. You have to put in a great deal of effort to sustain it. You water, nourish, and nurture that relationship to keep it strong. Otherwise, it can break down and leave both parties dissatisfied and ultimately part ways.
My friendships are very important to me. Each and every friend in my life has had a purpose and meant something to me. Some were only for a short time and ran their course. Others continue to thrive and have for years. Some friendships were severed or broken for various reasons and through time have been mended and reconciled. Life can be hard. If we had to go it alone, it would be ever harder. My friends help me get through the pitfalls, and those moments that I feel completely defeated. But by the same token, they are the ones beside me during the triumphant victories hoisting me up (metaphorically) and congratulating my success, no matter how small it might be.
So, we make our way back to my best friend. Her name is Teresa. We met three years ago at work. My coworker (whom I shared an office with) left the company to get a new job. Which meant they had to hire someone new to take her position. Having ended on not-so-good terms with my ex-coworker (and formerly good friend), I really wasn't too keen on getting to know someone new. However, when she was brought to my office to be introduced to me, I was very polite and nice to her. She had just been hired and they were showing her around the building and introducing her to people. Still being in the training phase, she was not yet officially "moved in". She spoke to me and I smiled and said hello back. She asked me if I liked to talk. And as those of you who know me already know, I do! I am a chatterbox and then some. But I digress. I told her yes, and she responded with, "oh, then we will get along great then". I nodded and said something equally as positive in return. She then left the office and continued her walkthrough and introductions.
A couple weeks later she was getting settled into the office, arranging her desk and getting familiar with her new surroundings. I, still being jaded from my last friendship/coworker debacle, was not really in the mood to talk to her. I was tightlipped and utterly silent. And that for me was AGONY! I stayed to myself, sitting at my own desk, seemingly overenthralled with my work. That in and of itself was difficult. I write reports all day, how much excitement can there be in that? I barely said anything to her aside from when she asked me a direct question; and even that was done with the shortest amount of words possible to answer adequately. This continued for days, which turned into a week. Then two. I was not sure how long I could keep this going, but I wasn't ready to stop trying. Although, one thing was getting to me. She was actually very nice! It was really hard to keep this tough unaffected exterior act going.
I would go home and tell my boyfriend that she was very kind and that she keep trying to break the ice, despite my coldness. I was like, what is with this woman? I am being stonefaced to her and she continues to ask me questions about myself? She would start conversations, and made an effort to get to know me. How dare she! I know, it was preposterious and rude, and completely not like me to be so mean. She had a mission to break me down one way or another. By week three I was exhausted. She really had not done anything to me. Why should I continue to make her suffer for someone else's mistakes? Yea, I know. She shouldn't. And so my gig was up. I went into work the next day and started talking to her. And the rest is history. Over three years later, I have not yet lived down our rocky beginning. We sometimes joke about it. Some people cannot believe that there was a time when we were not "friendly". Even I have a hard time remembering...
So day in and day out, I spend my work week with one of the best people I know. To many we probably seem as mismatched as they come. She is completely different from me on so many levels. Firstly, she is slightly more mature than I am. That is the polite way of saying she is older. About twenty years to be exact (I know Teresa, do not kill me). Not that she acts older than I do. She has more spunk and energy than the Energizer bunny. She runs circles around me and most people I know. She keeps going, and going, and going. She never stops. I am not 100% positive that she even sleeps. At least not without doing something productive.
Secondly, she is very logical, where as I am run by my emotions. Okay, I admit it, I am downright spastic at times (Yes, I know Teresa, I'll get no arguments there). The littlest things can cause widespread panic. It is not unlikely for her to have to talk me down from the ledge at least weekly (Not a literal ledge, we work on the ground floor). She can put things into perspective for me. She is calm, cool, and collected. Well, most of the time. We all have our moments. But seriously, she can assist me in talking through things without getting myself all in a tizzy, so to speak. She can amazingly distinguish between the facts and my embellished notions of distress and help me gain some much needed clarity.
Along with these differences are others. For example, Teresa has been married for over twenty-years, has two children, and a family that she takes care of. I have never been married and have no children (that I know of). She tends to be more outgoing, while I am more withdrawn. I'm super-sensitive and she wears a thicker coat of armor. She is comfortable in her skin, where I am self-conscious and always unsure of myself. And yet as different as we are, we manage to get along quite well. Honestly, getting up Monday morning to start a new work week is not the easiest thing for me to do. But knowing I will get to talk to my best friend and share my weekend with her helps give me that extra push to go.
I used to take what I call, "mental health" days, where I would call in sick for work because I just needed a day to rest and relax. Since Teresa has been there, I never take those anymore. Now, I only actually call in sick if I am physically ill or have a doctor's appointment. And even then, I usually make an early morning appointment so I can go into work afterwards. Having a friend who you can talk to about anything is all the "mental health" you could ask for. I am blessed to have that in my life.
I think a big part of why we get along so well, is not in spite of our differences but because of them. We balance each other out. I take a little from her, and she takes a little from me. Well, I should not really speak for her, but I will because she is not hear to tell me otherwise. She imparts her wisdom and life experiences to give me new perspective. I'd like to think my mushy sentiments help her get in touch with her emotional side. But regardless of if I do or not, I accept her as is. We may hold different opinions on some things, and may not always agree, but she is my best friend. And for as diverse as we are, we are a lot alike too. We are both intelligent, humorous, and generous people (if I do say so myself). We love the Lord, our families, and work hard at being a good friend.
As close as we are, I agree with what my good friend JoWanda said. Everyone can use a little time apart. If nothing else than to gain a greater sense of appreciation for each other. I have already made it over the halfway point of day one of five without "T", as I call her. It isn't that I doubt that I can do it, it is just that her presence enhances my life. And when that presence is gone, it makes you more cognizant of what that person means to you. I hope she knows how special she is and that I would do anything for her. As much as I know I will miss her, I also know that she will have a wonderful vacation, and get to spend some quality time with her family, which means more to her than anything. And for that, I am more than willing to sacrifice five days of time.
After I came back to my office this morning from a training meeting, I noticed I had a text message on my phone. It was from "T". She had left it at 8:50 am. It read, "I just wanted to say good morning and that I just got up. I am sitting out here drinking my coffee and reading the newspaper. Have an excellent day. Pass this on to Dee. Love ya".
I am thrilled that she is having a nice time, and am glad she felt the need to teasingly "brag" about not getting up until 8:50 am (haha)! But more than that, I am touched that on her first official day of vacation, she still thought to wish me a good day. Yeah, I knew she would miss me too ;)