There’s not a day in my life that I didn’t know her…this preacher’s kid from my childhood. She’s a year and a few months younger than me, so there is a brief period of time when she wasn’t in my life, I just don’t remember it.
Growing up, I was a bad influence on her, she was a steadying influence on me. She and her family moved away when she was 16. We had been the best of friends for as long as we could remember. I’m sure we had fights, but I really can’t remember any. As young teenagers, maybe we had a few disagreements, but for the life of me, I don’t remember what they were.
She didn’t always have it easy, but I didn’t realize it at the time. I thought she had it all. She was…she is…gorgeous, funny, girly, and sings beautifully. She was the oldest child; I was the youngest. Looking back, we didn’t have a thing in common! She did let me sing with her a time or two…she probably shouldn’t have!
Through the years, she has been so good to keep in touch with me. Before the days of Facebook, we would have long phone conversations full of giggles and full-blown laughter. When I was on the phone laughing more than talking, Ole Boy always knew who was on the other end. Every once in a while, we got to see each other, but there were long stretches of time when we didn’t. But whether it was 5 weeks or 5 months since we’d spoken, or 5 years since we’d gotten to visit, there was never a moment of having to get to know her again. She is my sister…I remember the day she and I, two little girls standing on the front porch of the little church on East Tuscaloosa Street where we grew up, became blood sisters. (The germaphobe in me cringes now…but I wouldn’t trade the experience.)
She’s such a strong person, and she has been through a lot. Her name is Tammera, but to me, she is Tammy. I love her, and I’m so proud of the warm-hearted woman she is, and I'm honored to call her my friend.
Recently, she moved back to Alabama. She lives over an hour away…southerners measure distance in time, not miles…so seeing each other is so much easier than when she lived in Oklahoma. Yesterday we met for a long lunch, but it wasn't long enough.
Sitting across from her catching up, I realized, once again, that time has wings and it soars. If you close your eyes for a moment, when you open them again, you are in the place of your mother, and your children are in the place of your youth.
The last thirty years feel like only ten, and time continues uncompromisingly marching on, reminding me to be diligent to say the things in my heart, to spend more time with those I love, to live my life carefully and deliberately, with purpose. Life is indeed short, and it is precious; a day of it shouldn’t be wasted, yet I have wasted so many. But spending time regretting wasted days would be throwing a day away, so I will look ahead to the future and leave the past where it is, at the untouchable portal to my life that can’t be changed, but can be used to learn, to teach, to grow, to forgive, forget…and yes, to remember.