Wednesday, August 25, 2010

There's a Choice We're Making

Fifty dollars to the first person who correctly identifies the title and artist those song lyrics belong to. I have no problem offering up $50 because, well, this isn't my blog. This is Andrea's blog. And I'm not Andrea. I'm Amber. And because I'm not Andrea and this is not my blog, I would not be responsible for paying up, Andrea would. So guess away. But promise me you'll take me out to dinner with your winnings.

Now that we have all the technical stuff out of the way, you are probably wondering if I'm lost. I'm not. I'm repaying a favor. I needed Andrea to guest post on my blog, and in return I'm guest posting on hers. Believe me when I say she got the short end of that stick. The very short end.

But I'm pretty sure she's known that since the beginning. Since she chose to be my friend all those years ago. And it was definitely a choice. When we first met, we were not forced together; not forced into a friendship because our parents were best friends or we lived next store to each other or there were limited friend options available to us. We made the choice to be friends. Because she just made sense to me. She understood me. And we laughed at the same jokes.

As we have grown up (ha!), we have made the choice to continue our friendship. Because let's face it, a long distance friendship at our age is not convenient. It takes a bit of work and travel and commitment. It's not like I can just walk down the street and borrow a cup of sugar and stay for an afternoon of tea (which I don't drink) and cookies (which my thighs don't need). Oh how I wish I could. But the reality is that I am limited to twice a year visits. One of which was last weekend.

It was a last second trip thrown together because someone I love (not Andrea) made a poor choice. A choice that will likely affect her entire life. But it, like every choice we make, simply defines her past; that choice may shape her future, but it does not define it. That slate is always blank. And I am grateful for that every day.

In high school, Andrea and I skipped school for the first time together. Normal teenage rebellion was not the cause. We huddled behind the thick stage curtains in the auditorium trying to make sense of the choices our 3 best friends had made. They had run away, and in the process had taken a vehicle without permission (because stealing sounds too harsh) and borrowed a credit card (again, slapping a "thief" label on them just won't do). They were gone, and Andrea and I were the only two people in the world who knew that.

It was a burden we did not ourselves choose. As often is the case with the choices we make, they rarely affect only us. This was a choice made by others that I will never forget.

Those three "runaways" regret their choice that day. It is a part of their past, but in no way reflects who they choose to be today. One holds a Master's Degree and has excelled in her chosen field. Another is maintaining a 4.0 GPA in nursing school. And the third has climbed her way up the corporate ladder. They are all bright, successful women. Because that is who they choose to be today.

Me? I choose to wear a lot of hats: mother, wife, friend, employee. And when I fail at all of them, as I often do, I choose to wake up to a new day and try again.

But do you want to know what choice I would make every single time it is placed before me? To be Andrea's friend. Seriously. It's a choice I will never regret making.


The United Statements of Merica said...

what a good friend you are. There's nothin' like a friend that knows you so well, you can just relax and totally be yourself.. no explanations or appologies. and i really appreciate the dirt on Andrea.

Rindee said...

We're saving our own lives, it's true we'll make a better day, just you and me. We are the World lyrics by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, sung by like 50 artists.
K, Andrea, you owe me $50.
And I'm dying to know what poor choice Andy made that will most likely affect her entire life. If you fess up, I'll waive the $50.

Sharlee said...

That's so nice, Amber. It's good to hear some success stories of some high school punks that turned out swell. Today I sent my oldest son to high school.... so ....

Stephanie said...

Glad to hear they're all doing well. It's so true about making choices; they will affect the rest of our lives one way or another.

Jen said...

Michael Jackson! We Are The World!! Dang it! I see I wasn't first. I'll go back and actually READ the post now.

Jen said...

I wish I would have realized the importance of that choice (which friends to make) when I was in high school (and in college come to think of it). I simply went with the "Oh, you want to be my friend? Cool!" philosophy. I'm much more selective now.

Pam said...

I'm glad I've had the chance to get to know you Amber, and I want to get to know you Andrea. Any friend of Amber's is a friend of mine.