Friday, March 30, 2012

Keep in touch!

I spent much of yesterday morning saying goodbye to my friend Mrs. Kaneko who has moved away. How do you say goodbye to a friend who has been an anchor for more than 20 years?

We reminisced yesterday about our first meeting. Leiya was only a few months old. Mrs. Kaneko's daughter was a few months older... We were both letting our four year old sons play in the empty kindergarten yard. Mrs. Kaneko had moved into our neighborhood, she was enrolling her son in Takumi's class, she too was Christian. Our first conversation brought out those common denominators...

(Well, there I am holding Leiya, and there is Mrs. Kaneko holding her daughter. Takumi is next to me... and Mrs. Okutomi's twins... Mrs. Kaneko's son was probably running around catching bugs... We used to call him "Bug Professor".)

Together we have led Bible studies and took care of each other's children. We have dressed out daughters in kimono together (and ourselves!) and have agonized through our sons' confounding jr. high school years. I've given advice on puppy care and she has supported me through pet loss. In recent years we have commiserated over problems with aging mother-in-laws. Mrs. Kaneko often made the drive to visit me... and not many friends do that! I'm too far out in the country, and we have picnicked and hot spa-ed and chatted and chatted and chatted over coffee!

I think Mrs. Kaneko and I have had full blown out arguments twice... but I don't remember what the arguments were about... just that we had a difference of opinion, feelings were hurt... AND WE MADE IT THROUGH THE DIFFERENCES TO A STRONGER FRIENDSHIP. That is so important and maybe rare. So many times friends go separate ways if they can't agree...

Yesterday I picked up boxed lunches for Mrs. Kaneko and her husband and myself and we did last minute errands and then ate lunch in the park. Her house, which 20 plus years ago she had delightedly shown me construction plans, had been packed up and taken away. We sat on the floor and wandered through empty, dark rooms. Even Mrs. Kaneko's dog was feeling lonely!

Well, we have the telephone and e-mail and chat and other sources for staying in touch. I can pretend that she is in the next city over when I talk to her now... It's not hard to imagine...

Still, I'm wondering when we will be chatting over coffee again.

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