Many of you have sent me messages
asking how I met Lucinda.
How we became friends.
I suppose the best way to answer that question,
the best forum in which to do so,
is to blog.
I don't know where to begin,
so I suppose,
as is best with all stories,
I shall start at the beginning.
I started knitting when Elena was 3 months old. I was at Rebecca's house for a superbowl party. Being the football fanatic that I am, I needed something to keep me occupied during those pesky commercials. Rebecca knits. Rather well, I might add, and so I asked her to kindly teach me. I had done it once before, years ago when I lived in Chicago and had no money, no friends, no job, and nothing better to do with my time, but I had long since forgotten how to do it. She obliged and taught me the basics. Days turned to weeks, and weeks to months and over time I tried my hand at a few different projects. A dog sweater. A baby sweater. A hat.
Then another hat.
And another one.
And I couldn't. Stop. Knitting. Hats. So I bought a book. Susan B. Anderson's book, Itty Bitty Hats, to be precise. I knit some more hats. Then a few more, just for good measure. Then spring turned to summer, and summer faded into the fall. I picked up my needles again and knit my way through another cold Minnesota winter. Eventually I found my way over to Susan's blog. I started reading. I checked in from time to time, and often I would come across interesting ideas and inspiration for new hats. Then I came across her post about Lucinda. And Cooper's Flock. And I instantly commented on Susan's giveaway and flew over to Luc's blog to read all about her little boy.
Then I read more.
And I couldn't. Stop. Reading.
I couldn't stop crying, either.
I sat there, in my cubicle, paralyzed by grief for her loss.
I imagined if something had happened to Elena. If I had only gotten three weeks with her instead of the 15 or so I had, at that time, been blessed with.
Then I cried some more.
Lucinda never heard Cooper's big, hearty belly laugh.
Or felt him cuddle back.
Or woke up in the middle of the night to a teething baby who just wouldn't sleep.
She never got to read him stories.
Watch him take his first steps and beam with pride while aching for him to just...slow...down a little.
She never got to squeeze him too tight while he tried to wiggle away and beg him not to grow up so fast.
To stay her little birdie forever.
She never got to do a lot of things.
So I emailed her.
I would make her birds.
As many as my fingers (and my wallet) would allow.
I would get as many people to help as I could.
And that is exactly what I did.
I wanted to help her heal.
I wanted, so badly, to make her pain go away. To let her know that she wasn't alone.
We emailed back and forth occasionally, but it was months before we started conversing regularly. I really don't know how or when, precisely, that we began talking more frequently. We just, sort of, did. It started through our blogs. She'd comment on mine, and then vise versa. We spent a large part of our friendship in blogland.
She helped convince me to move to Austin. She grew up in Texas. Midland or Odessa. I get them confused. She has family here, and was certain that if we came to Texas, her and I would get to meet. Or that we'd be much more likely to.
Luc went to Santa Fe for a wedding shortly after I moved to Austin. We were emailing back and forth, about what I can't exactly recall, but in one of my replies, I asked for her phone number. She let me know that she wasn't a huge talker, but that she texted like a teen. I told her I was in.
We started texted the very next day.
We haven't stopped.
Save the two weeks she was in Greece, and the four days I was in New York.
We decided to make a friendship quilt. I blogged all about it.
Then I decided to flit off to NY for a weekend. I blogged about that, too.
For a moment, as I was sitting in the O'Hare airport waiting for my connection to Rochester, I thought I was crazy. I thought I had completely lost my mind. I called DRL.
"What am I doing? Seriously? I'm freaking NUTS. What am I doing?!?! This is so weird."
"Yeah, it's weird, honey." DRL said. "But not in a bad way. It's going to be fine. You're going to have fun. You'll see."
He always knows how to make me feel better.
Calm me down.
Then again, he's had 9 years of practice. And, hello? Have you met me?
I need calming quite frequently. DRL is very well versed at it.
But I digress.
I calmed down, boarded the plane, and made my way to Rochester. We touched down and I turned my phone on and texted Luc, "On the ground."
"Waiting inside" was all she said.
My heart skipped a little.
And then I started walking.
As fast as I could managed given I was gravely weighed down by a larger than normal
I came around a corner, on my way to baggage claim, and saw a big glass enclosure keeping us secure passengers away from all the crazies carrying nail files, lighters, and liquids in quantities larger than 3 ounces. Then I saw Luc. Looking as anxiously for me as I was for her. All day I had been worried I might not recognize her. She shares about as many photos as herself as I do me (so you can see why I would be given cause to worry). But I knew her instantly. I waved. She waved back. I made it through the doors. I ran a little. Well, hobbled, is more accurate. Then I hobbled faster. And we hugged. And laughed. And cried, just a little. Then we let go. Laughed. And hugged some more.
After that moment, it was if we had known each other our whole lives. As if there was absolutely nothing strange about the circumstances that brought us together. That brought me to New York.
As if I was spending the weekend with Nadia, whom I've known since the 4th grade. Or Rebecca, who is as much my sister-in-law as, well, as my actual sister-in-law.
We have very different pasts.
But are still very much alike.
We are both insanely driven.
We both have our share of quirks.
Lucinda only eats with little forks, and she uses the big spoon for cereal. She drinks tea, not coffee, and she is quiet.
I prefer the big fork. I like coffee. Forever and ever, amen. I am not quiet. Not even a little. Especially not when it's called for.
(thank you, Luc, for not yelling at me to shut my mouth, already. I'm sure you wanted to. At least once. Or twice.)
But, like she said over on her blog, it doesn't matter where we came from.
We are here.
What matters is what we do with that now.
Where we go in the future.
The kind of women, mothers, friends, we become.
Many of you have asked if the trip lived up to my expectations, but I did not have any expectations for the weekend. I only wanted to go. To do. To be. And that is exactly what happened.
Lucinda told me Cooper's story. In her own words, from start to finish.
We went to the garden that was planted as a memorial of his precious life.
I saw photos of him.
I read a lovely book that Marta made for Lucinda and Jamey, chronicling his journey on this earth.
And I cried. And cried. I went to the bathroom so I could collect myself.
I dried my eyes, walked downstairs, and told Lucinda it was a lovely book.
"Not really easy reading," she said.
We shared a look, with damp eyes, that could only be described as whole and complete understanding.
A moment passed.
And without another moment's pause began discussing the gorgeous Janome sewing machine that was sitting, on loan, on her kitchen table.
We drank wine.
We ate good food.
I introduced the Snyder-Gerenski's to Tator Tot Hot dish.
As well as the word, "hot dish."
We got mani's and pedi's.
We ate pumpkin scones from Starbucks.
We sewed, a little.
We watched the Horns lose to UCLA.
We watched the Bills lose to Tom Brady and his awful hair.
Then it was time for Stella and I to leave.
We went to the airport and Luc and I gave each other another hug. With damp eyes.
A little tighter than the first.
And we said, "See you soon" instead of goodbye.
Which is exactly what we'll do.
Thank you for an amazing weekend, Lucinda.
(PS: The photo was taken on the plane as Stella and I neared Austin on our way home.)