It's all About Friends
After nearly a year of my life being consumed with work, I've suddenly found myself surrounded by the company of friends. Old friends, new friends, sister friends. It's been a time of much needed reconnecting with some women I love.
Last Monday out of the blue I got a text from one of my oldest friends, Jen, wondering if I could do breakfast in the morning. We've been talking for months about getting together and it never seemed to work. But somehow the stars aligned and a "chance" text made it happen. You know those friends who've known you since the awkward pre-teen years? The ones who still claim you in your eighties-high-school-permed-hair-and-sky-high-bangs glory? The ones who, as adults, you can go years without seeing and then pick up like you just saw each other yesterday? Yeah she's that kind. The kind who sticks around when things are difficult, who knows you better than most, and loves you anyway. We talk and the hours fly. I'm so thankful for her in my life. Nearly 30 years... hard to believe.
Then Friday I got to sit and observe Krysten in all of her glory. It was her last day selling her funky jewelry at our city's Peal Market and I was there to "help". I'm always so amazed by this woman. We met through a "chance" Craigslist meeting and years later became friends working in the same building. She's the kind of teacher that parents scramble to request for their children and peers want to be. She's the kind of Christian who doesn't talk the talk, but walks the walk. She's the kind of friend every girl should have - ever thoughtful, supportive, and loyal. Again - incredibly grateful to call her friend.
Then there's the kind of friends you've had since the womb. I'm fortunate to have not one, but two. Robin is a graphic designer and photographer whose work is seriously amazing. Biased? No.
All of the products in my store were made with Publisher (except for those really hideous products that probably should be removed, which were made with Word. ugh.). Well, Fernando bought me a mac daddy computer last fall. It's amazing... but no Publisher. So I've been without a publishing program for months - not that I could have used it if I had one. But now that making resources is my full time job, I should probably get on fixing that.
Robin spent a morning teaching me InDesign, which has been promised to "change my life." I gotta admit, I hate the feeling of being a "newbie." You know that feeling? You're an intelligent person and a "master" at most of what you do in a day and then you try something new while someone watches you try. You're awkward, forget what you've just been taught, and have to rely on someone to hold your hand like a child while you learn it again. Ok so maybe it wasn't that bad.
A day into using ID I had to admit that it would, in fact, change my life. (If you're someone who uses a lot of layers when making products... you must check it out.) I had a good teacher... the best kind actually. One who patiently re-explains, makes you active in the process, and even leaves you her own notes because your scramble to write is illegible. Thanks, sis.
Then there's the kind of friend from birth who helps you move. Ugh. That word alone makes me want to be sick. After one family move turned into Armaggedon, I swore I'd never move myself again. But when it came time to pack up and move my classroom home, it was a little ridiculous to consider calling Two Men and a Truck. Don't think it didn't cross my mind.
But Diane came to rescue. She offered - not asked - to come help pack a decade worth of teaching materials, load them onto pallets, load it all into cars, and then carry the load into my home. (Just writing that makes me tired.) Oh and then takes a carful of stuff to donate at a local community center. Oh and then returns a car she borrowed because it's bigger and she knew we'd need the space - and did so without telling you first.
That day was tough. Much more so than I thought. Not just physically, but emotionally. Walking down the halls, knowing it would be the last time. Saying goodbye to what was your life for seven years... it hit a little harder than expected. Saying goodbye to unexpected visitors brought the tears I swore I wouldn't cry. But how can you help but cry when someone, after hearing you're in the building, leaves their job, drives over just to come say goodbye to you? Tamie - you're the best. Always will be.
Through it all - that day, my life - was Diane. By my side. I couldn't have done it - that day, my life - without her.
But perhaps most of all, I've been overwhelmed by the support I've received since making my announcement. People following, commenting, buying products (thanks, Emily). People I've not talked to in years, people I barely know. Some I've never met. I'm truly amazed at it all and feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded by such a community.
In just a few weeks, hundreds of kids will enter that building I just left and thousands of others across the country looking for friends - new friends, old friends, best friends. To help build community, get those first writing samples, and keep them busy while you assess, I created this back to school pack, which is on sale today and tomorrow. Included are two weeks of "getting to know you" activities. Five just for fun and five tied to literature. And check out the rest of TPT while you're at it. Most stores are 28% off right now. Just remember to use the code, BTS14.