This past week I lost a friend of mine who I met on one of my first adventures as a teenager in Paris and then we went on to live together at university. As I was reflecting on our friendship after the shock of her passing, I realized how we went from being teenagers to young women together. We learned to live away from home while enjoying the end of our carefree days.
In some ways, that time feels like yesterday; staying up way too late to ever make those 8 AM lectures, switching majors, meeting boys, making friends and learning how to keep them after graduating, but then it also simultaneously feels so long ago, almost like a distant memory of a completely different person. Those years really are so formative as we become adults, but I hardly would recognize myself if I were to look into the future then.
I don’t feel like I am getting older even as I inch closer to 40 than 30; it feels as if I am standing still watching the kids get huge and wondering where the time has gone. Wasn’t I just in school finishing my Master’s? How has it actually been over 11 years? My adventures have slowed down but not completely diminished, holding on to the wanderlust that has been a part of me since I can remember. And although much more exhausting, this solo parenting gig is definitely an adventure. This weekend the kids and I went to a pirate adventure, where they dressed up and we all set sail onto the lake and it was a bit silly but completely fun and a reminder to not take every day so effing seriously, because, unfortunately, we don’t know how many days we have left; how many more opportunities to laugh and to make memories or even to tell those in our life that we care about them tremendously.
Grief is funny – one minute you are crying at your loss, then laughing at a memory and then crying again. Seeing photos of my friend all grown up with her daughter, knowing they only got a short time together was heartbreaking. I wish for her daughter what I would hope mine will remember about me, that she knows how strong her mother is, how quick to smile and to laugh, how easily she made friends, how she impacted so many lives. A fellow warrior queen if there ever was.
Rest sweetly, friend, thank you for the amazing memories, the incredible adventures, and the reminder that we may only have today, so put the damn pirate hat on and let your kids tell you to walk the plank.