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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

I have a friend…

True friends,

never apart

maybe in distance

but never in heart.

-Helen Keller

We have been together since high school. I don’t remember the day of our first encounter. What I do remember is that we were connected in a special way and never became disconnect as sometimes happens in life. She lived closer to the high school than I did so sometimes I would spend the night at her house. This made it easier to get to the earlier and later high school activities. She is a part of my quorum of friends who were born on the 14th of their respective birth months.

When we were in high school, we signed up for an afterschool class at another school. We rode the train to a career training center where I learned keypunching. (I can’t remember what class she was taking.) In the modern days of computers, you can’t imagine that lines of code were punched out on cards, stacked in order, and fed into a machine. The keypunch machine was a big as a roll-away desk and it jumped every time you hit a key. On the way to the class we had to pass an army recruitment center. Being silly, fun loving teenage girls, we would say out loud to each other “spruce up” which was our way of saying look as cute as possible passing the storefront where there were men in uniform looking out for their next recruit. We didn’t want to sign up for the army, but a man in uniform…well you know the rest. We would pat our hair and practice our cute faces in the store windows before walking past the army window, to make sure we looked our best. We would almost hold our breath while we walked by and burst out laughing when we had safely passed with our best posture and ladylike walk.

We have sat in the hospital together, praying and loving on her baby when she had a serious illness. There is a way we have with each other that not a lot needs to be said. The gentle balance we share, buoyed by our belief in Christ has been an awesome treasure throughout the years. When you are navigating single parenting, it is important to have the person that can “go there” with you. You don’t really need a lot of explanation…you just need. We don’t see each other that often, but we are always a phone call or text away. With our conflicting work schedules, sometimes I just need her to know that I am thinking about her.

We are the godparents to each other’s first born. For awhile when I was a newlywed, we had an apartment around the corner from where she lived. We had so much fun figuring out the new mother equipment. We were and continue to be a good support for each other. When I needed someone to watch my baby, she offered her cousin. I knew this would be a good recommendation.

The thing I learned the most from my friend was the way she handles pressure. As a young single parent, she was always gracious and looked for the sunny side of things. Grounded in an unshakeable faith, she raised a beautiful smart daughter, works several jobs and takes care of her mother. She was the first person I called when I started feeling contractions with my first baby. She came around the corner to sit with me until my husband came home. We always remember each other’s birthday and we know we can reach out to each other in the case of an emergency.

When you get to be our age, you have an appreciation of how life can sometimes take you on unexpected turns and shake you like a rag doll. There are a few people in my life that have remained consistent and prayerful at the same time. Thank you my sister for your love and support throughout the years. I love you dearly and look forward to more adventures with you.

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