About 8 or so years ago, I opened the door on the first day of kindergarten to a sea of eager and excited little faces. In the midst of the madness that the first day of school can bring, I was greeted by the most beautiful mother. She was radiant...the kind of beauty that wins pageants. But beneath that glowing beauty was a modest, gentle, loving mom, who was entrusting me with her first born baby boy for a few hours of every day.
And she brought cupcakes.
Ladybug cupcakes with licorice antennae in a cardboard-box lid, lined with fringed green construction paper, you know, for the grass.
From that day forward, I knew that I would be lucky if I could "grow up" and be half the mother she is. I aspired to be the adorable mom who brings the ladybug cupcakes to kindergarten and is the envy of everyone.
And she cried. Oh, how she cried. Tears of a proud mama letting go of her baby for the first time, really. Now that's love.
Little did I know how many more times I'd see her cry over the years. I loved it. It was totally her "thing." What was so endearing is that every tear that fell from her eyes was filled with real emotion. She didn't cry for show. She cried because her heart was so full of pride and love that it literally spilled out in the form of tears.
And when her son (who shares my birthday) got a certificate for something as menial as "having great behavior" in class, she'd cry.
Or when he presented his zoo report in class, she'd cry for that too.
She was so proud. My God, she loved her family.
We became friends that year, and remained friends ever since. She and her husband are the kind of people you are better for having known. Good people is what they are.
She came to my bridal shower in her Hawaiian print skirt and green shirt and participated in ridiculous party games like good friends do. They came to my wedding, and though I was somewhat consumed with the actual getting married part, I'll betcha a million dollars, she cried there too. :)
She was just that sweet and genuine. She had a way of making you feel important...like you really mattered. They gave me a gorgeous, iron base lamp for a gift, and it's been on my end table in the living room ever since...
When I was moving away, they came to my "going away party." And guess what she did? Oh yeah, She cried.
And for years after that, she cheered me on as I tried desperately to get pregnant. She was with me at school one year, on my birthday when I had just gotten a negative pregnancy test following an IVF. And like a good friend, she cried WITH me that day and then assured me my day would come. And it did.
When I found out I was having triplets, it felt a bit like a circus act...But when I saw her at school that day, my whole perspective changed. You know by now that she cried, of course. :) She cried the happiest of tears for me, and then cheered me on the entire pregnancy.
Everyone should have a friend like her in their lives.
Perfection. Optimism. Grace. Gratitude. Hope. Genuine. Kindness. Sunshine. Love. Smiles.
This is only part of what she was.
But today, we lost this friend, and we are at a loss.
Our hearts are heavy. So very heavy.
So tonight, as I sit in my rocking chair, I turned on my lamp and noted once again how it lights up my living room much the way she lit up every room she entered..and you know what I did?
With hundreds of others tonight, I cried.
For the loss of this near perfect, human being, this beautiful soul.
You are already missed, Dear Kim.
But never forgotten. We will love your kids like you would. We will cheer them on in school. We will check in on your husband. We will think of you every day.
And the next time there's a celebration, I'll bring the ladybug cupcakes. With licorice antennae and a green grass box. Just for you.
But don't be surprised if I cry. :)
In Loving Memory
With my sister Mary, at my wedding shower.