It was just after sunrise when I got the call. “Do you want to go get a cup of coffee?” And so set the pace of the day. It’s not either of our birthdays. It’s just an average Friday, but for us, it’s a celebration of living. The “Us” is myself and Rita. Rita is technically related to me, but we’re so close in age that we’ve been kind of built in best friends all of our lives. She’s only 8 months older than I am and we’ve been mistaken for sisters, twins even at different points throughout our lives. We’ve sang together, we’ve cried together, we’ve laughed together, we’ve fought together – but seldom if ever – with one another.
We’ve witnessed each other’s weddings; we’ve hosted baby showers and birthday parties for one another; laughed with and at one another over “questionable” choices we’ve made over the years; watched our children grow up in to wonderful young adults themselves, and recognized the blessings all of this truly is. We’re in the early stages of planning an amazing 50th birthday event in a few years when that milestone happens for both of us.
Today, however, while much of the world was glued to the news outlets casting opinions and would-be solutions for the issues of the day, we stepped away for a few hours and went to a little coffee shop overlooking an ancient river swollen from recent rains. In sight of bald eagles and hawks hunting under rolling storm clouds, we sat for hours with huge cups of hot chocolate and appreciated the fact that we’ve survived to this day.
It was five years ago this month a series of heart attacks targeted her. It was two and three years ago other issues attacked me. We’ve both come to realize April, for all its new life and springtime blossoms, is a time of reflection and true celebration. Every year around this time we find a day and get together away from the rest of the world. Some years we drop the top in a convertible and cruise the back roads. Some years we sit on old fallen trees in the back woods here with cups of strong coffee and talk for hours with the dogs watching us like we’re trespassing. Some years we laugh until we cry in realization that we’re still here.
Both of us.
And we’ve been given the amazing gifts and experiences in our lives
There is no way to know what tomorrow holds in store for any of us in the future, and that’s ok. Today, we don’t worry about that. Today, we celebrate and are thankful for the blessings in and of our lives; and we celebrate the fact that now and again it’s important to take time away from the demands of life and be grateful for the opportunity to be truly living!