This is my friend beautiful friend Sharon, and her wonderful kids. I love everything about this picture. Sharon and her family moved to Texas from Connecticut this summer. We “met online” in July before they arrived, thanks to our neighbor Allison, who stepped up to create a community (via Facebook) for our sprouting little neighborhood. When we connected online, I was in the middle of pretty intense transition and my brain wasn’t even functioning far enough ahead to think that Sharon and I might actually become friends. I was just jumping in to answer a question from another mama in transition.
When we first met in person at one of the neighborhood functions, we instantly connected all the dots.
Our boys are almost exactly the same ages. They live pretty much directly behind us (to the side and over a fence. . . close enough!). Sharon is originally from Nicaragua, so she speaks fluent Spanish, which means her accent alone, makes me feel at home. She went to Babson College, outside of Boston, the most respected entrepreneurship school in the country. (We’ve been planning for years to take each of our boys there for their Foundations for the Future course in High School.)
But there’s so much more.
Her kindness and care for others is the hallmark of her life. I may get the numbers wrong here, but I believe she’s moved seven times in thirteen years of marriage. She could easily be bitter, frustrated, and self-focused due to all the effort of needing to cultivate a new life here. But she’s not. Instead, she’s allowed all that moving to grow her empathy for others.
She’s allowed it to teach her how to be an incredible connector and friend.
She’s certainly teaching me, by example, so much about what it looks like to be a great friend. When we meet at the park or on the street corner, it’s instantly real. No small talk needed. She treats my boys like they are her own. As soon as she got the news about Oakley’s broken arm, she was ringing my doorbell with warm, homemade chocolate chunk cookies (the best you ever had!). Her boys rode their bikes, and Victoria rode in the car, while giving her Halloween costume a trial run. We circled up on the couch, amid all the mess, just like family.
Her friendship is easy, but it didn’t come easy.
Her road has been long and hard, but instead of letting it make her hard, she lets it make her soft. She chooses empathy and openness. She’s showing the rest of us how it’s done. The hard thing you’re going through today can make you hard or it can make you soft.
Be like Sharon, choose soft. Choose open. Choose kind. Choose to love more. Choose to care more. Sure, it’s the more difficult choice right now. But it’s the choice that will serve you and your people for years to come.
You’re making a choice either way.
to more love,