Eight years ago, I hadn’t even met Rosanna yet. This beautiful woman who would quickly become one of my dearest, most wonderful friends was marrying her Rob and in a few weeks would move cross-country from Nevada to start their married life in a tiny basement apartment in the suburbs here in Minnesota. In that time, I’d marry Kyle and settle into our newlywed apartment in our little town.
I had been the new girl in town so many times before, and having known Rosanna from an online forum we were both a part of for several years, I wanted to extend as much welcome and love to her and Rob as possible. The first time I met her in person was at church the first Sunday they came – she remembers it better than I do, but little did we know that our lives would parallel and intertwine in such a sweet way for the next 5 years.
We always knew this was a “temporary” assignment. Rob would someday finish seminary at TBI/BCS and they would move on to the next place God had for them. But thanks to whatever it was/God, it was prolonged and we got more years/months than we expected to grow in friendship. Even though the time was fleeting, and goodbye was inevitable, it didn’t keep us from letting our guard down and being truly honest, real and going deep in our friendship. That’s a treasure.
Our pair became a trio with our friend Jessica. The three of us became quite the crew. Shopping dates and coffee and girls nights out and fun times and small group girl times. Our husbands became good friends. The six of us started a small group and met weekly, more or less. Two and a half years of Tuesday nights. 120 evenings of learning, growing, and sharing life.
Five years and a couple months ago, Rosanna and I both gave birth to our firstborns: both boys. Jack and Jude. Just six weeks apart, we entered The Motherhood together – diapers and nursing and midnight feedings and baby food and sleep deprivation and what in the world are we doing? 🙂
The Forest Lake Starbucks became “our Starbucks” because it was about halfway-ish between our two homes. We’d plop the boys in front of an iPod while we attempted to chat. Or on rare days, our awesome husbands would watch the boys so we could have real conversation, uninterrupted by cute toddlers who wanted more pumpkin bread. Rosanna introduced me to REAL makeup and how to put it on. She helped guide my sense of style and helpfully critiqued many an outfit outside the Turnstyle dressing room door. She shared my burdens. Prayed for me. Lifted my heart with kindness.
Three years ago I was hugely pregnant with my daughter and Rosanna was a couple months from giving birth to her second boy. Three years ago I had this impending dread because the day for goodbye was finally here. We’d had at least an extra year together than we’d thought we’d have. But it still wasn’t enough. I knew this chapter was over, but oh how I wasn’t ready for it to end. I knew God had good for them in the days ahead. I’d said goodbye to dear friends before, but this was really, really tough.
Today, I’m in Minnesota. Rosanna is in Idaho. Today it’s STILL HARD. The other night I was sitting in the Forest Lake Starbucks, reading a chapter in my current book that happened to be about friendship. The tears started to fall, dripping off my cheek onto the pages of my book. I pulled out my phone and texted Rosanna. “Are you around? I miss you.”
You kind of expect that as time passes, the little wound from having someone important pulled away from your heart…the ache from the distance that separates you…that those would get better. But they just haven’t. I still cry as easily as I did that September evening when I hugged her close and said goodbye. Planes are nice. iPhones and Facetime are great. It’s precious to me that even though we sorta suck at staying in close touch (because KIDS and LIFE and honestly, it’s just hard to call her up when I want so badly to sit in her living room instead), I know that the minute we’re together again (WHICH CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH!) we will fall into conversation like a year hasn’t passed.
When Jes and I are together, we always feel like a piece of us is missing. Always. And that’s good and right. Rosanna is making new friends in her new town. That’s right and that’s so, so good. I’ve made new friends. Jes has made new friends. Our sons send each other Facebook videos. Our husbands email and message each other. We tag each other in instagram photos. Life rolls on, a steady cadence of time.
We have memories. Lots of really wonderful memories. I’ll always remember the first time we had Rob and Rosanna over. I remember Smirnoff Ice coolers that tasted like kid’s cough syrup and laughing our heads off over Homestar Runner on Kyle’s ancient dinosaur of a laptop. I remember walking to Dairy Queen in a blizzard on New Year’s Eve. I remember the birthday parties and BBQ’s and prayer time on Rosanna’s bed with the black and white comforter. I remember little boys running around and laughter. I always think of singing “We Are Young” at the top of our voices after Fogo de Chao whenever I hear that song on the radio. I remember Jude’s little skinny jeans on Jack’s fat butt and Jack’s big ol’ gansta pants on Jude’s tiny tushie.
It’s been three years since our paths, once so parallel, diverged. It isn’t any easier to have my dear friend thousands of miles away. I hope it never, ever is.