I ran into an old friend that I went to college with randomly out of the blue. You know those friends you have, it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen each other, it always feels like it was yesterday you were hanging out every day.
She looked flustered, late maybe, even lost. Without a formal introduction or even a hello I joked, ‘what did you forget this time’. She said, I can’t find my wallet? I said, ‘I think you lost that 10 years ago’.
She laughed for a brief moment with a look of concern on her face as she continued to frantically check every pocket twice, nearly dumping out her purse on the bench we were standing next to.
I said, ‘when was the last time you saw it’, in a sarcastic manner she replied, ‘if I knew that then I’d know where it is now’.
I said, ‘okay, when was the last time you bought something’. Almost simultaneously we both looked down at her coffee cup.
We looked at each other in agreement and I said, ‘I’ll walk you back’.
As we walked back to the coffee shop we enjoyed the beautiful fall day, crunching leaves that fell from trees as we almost literally walked through the last 5 years we haven’t seen each other.
As always it was like we never missed a step. We laughed and joked, poked at one another and caught up from the years we’ve been a part.
I said to her, I can’t believe you’re still losing things, are you still always late, not prepared and stressed out because of it? She said, ‘I suppose that’s who I am’?
She went on, ‘as far back as I can remember, my mom or dad did everything for me. They made me breakfast, they made my lunch, did my laundry, mom even woke me up in the morning so I wouldn’t be late for school’.
I said, ‘what happened when you got to high school’, she said almost embarrassed, ‘I’m talking about high school’.
‘So then when I met you in college, and you were losing things and flustered and late, that’s because your parents weren’t there to do everything for you?’.
She said, ‘if I forgot something when I was little dad would bring it to school, if I didn’t do my homework, mom would make an excuse for me when the teacher called home.
When I got to college, I had never made a meal, I never did my own laundry, I didn’t have any organizational skills and I suppose to this day I never picked them up’.
She went on, ‘I don’t blame them, my parents love me so very much that they would still bring me my things if they knew I forget them at school. I know it hasn’t exactly helped me out as an adult but it was great when I was growing up’.
I said, would you go back and do it differently now? She said, almost excitedly, ‘YES of COURSE! If I could go back and talk to my parents then, I’d say I need to learn this now mom, I need to know how to organize my laundry, I need to remember to bring my own lunch dad, and actually do my homework because when I grow up, you won’t always be there to make excuses or do it for me.
We walked into the coffee shop and the friendly cashier held up a wallet, a look of relief crossed my good friends face, the stressed out energy disappeared and she said as she walked over to collect her wallet, ‘you know, if I ever get myself organized enough to have kids, they’ll be doing a few more things at an early age than I did and hopefully they won’t have to deal with going through this all the time’.
She reached across the counter, kindly thanked the cashier and we walked out of the coffee shop together.
I said, ‘well, I’m going this way’, she said, and I’m going this way, which naturally happened to be the opposite directions.
‘Such as life’ I said. She winked at me as she turned to walk away, and said ‘see you in another few years’, ‘I’ll look forward to it’ I replied and carried on my way.