Isn't she a wonderful writer?
It's funny she wrote this story when she did, because one of my friends has been on my heart and mind recently. The way we became friends is a sweet story, too. I'm not as wonderful a storyteller as the Mom, but it's a story worth telling.
Tonya and I were acquaintances who saw each other weekly while our children took gymnastics classes. During that one hour a week we talked easily, as many acquaintances do. We seemed to have much in common; several children, husbands in the military, homeschooling, crazy families. I enjoyed chatting with Tonya on those occasions, but it wasn't much deeper of a friendship than just that, chatting about things we had in common. I'm a fairly reserved person, actually quite shy, and I do not make close friends very easily.
About 6 months into our familiarity, it became quite apparent to all that Wingnut and I were expecting our 6th child. Tonya congratulated us and looked forward to meeting our newest little one. Sadly, we lost little Josef at 18 weeks. It was devastating, difficult, and a bit embarrassing having to tell family and friends of our loss. Wingnut was left to tell Tonya and our other gymnastic companions when he next took the children to the gym. I was still home recovering and grieving.
The next week I was back out and performing my usual tasks, including chauffeuring children to classes. As I entered the gym, Tonya approached me, gave me a hug and handed a package to me. She let me know she knew what it meant to lose a baby, as she'd had two miscarriages herself, and she knew I might not be ready to talk about it, but she was there when I needed to. I was touched by her kindness. I couldn't open the package there. I took it home. Inside was a Willowtree sculpture, The Angel of Remembrance. It was a simple and sweet gesture. I cried and cried.
Tonya has become the kind of friend that although she is protestant and I'm Catholic, we can discuss religion and not get all worked up and offended by each other's idea of Faith. She is the kind of friend that is one of the very first I will tell about a pregnancy. I know she'll congratulate us with her whole heart and then laugh with me as I tell her I've been asking God for more patience and a new baby is how he answers that prayer.
Tonya may think we became friends over coffee (she invited herself over for a cup), but whenever I see that statue, I think of our little guy in heaven, and of the wonderful friend who reached out to comfort a near stranger. Over time, Tonya became a good friend, one I will always treasure, one who was there when I needed her, and I hope I was there when she needed me.
Nearly four years ago, Tonya gave me another statue, this one of a mother and child, to commemorate the birth of Lil' Wingnut. I cried and cried. She's a good one, this friend of mine.