Last weekend I went to the wedding of one of my very best friends. To see her so happy was one of the highlights of my year. I know better than to say "she deserved it" (because none of us really deserve any of the blessings God gives us), but if anybody deserved this blessing it would be her.
Ginger and I first met years ago through homeschooling circles. Our boys had science classes together and later we would be in the same homeschool group. At that time she was the only person I knew with a son my age who was using The Well-Trained Mind and trying to classically homeschool. So we would compare notes, talk about history books, and discuss what Latin curriculum we liked. Later, when our kids got older, we would tackle Omnibus and progymnasmata, and when our boys surpassed our Latin capabilities we researched together to find a good online Latin class. (Those aren't hard to find anymore, but at the time there weren't many.) Our kids also became close friends and this year our sons are both high-school seniors.
I often tell Ginger that I don't know what I would have done without her these past few years. She's been there for me through dark days and valleys, even before our time with Anne Marie. We have laughed and cried (mostly laughed) over chocolate martinis and artichoke dip. We've spent hours writing curriculum and researching school materials and we've been to more movies than I can count. Her kids spend the night over here, and when they're here they don't seem like "guests" but more like family. We look back on things that we've done together or things we've both been through and laugh at those times and say, "Remember your 41st birthday?" or "Remember that time when ... ?"
Ginger was the first person I told when Anne Marie was diagnosed with CDH, and she reminded me and would continue to remind me of God's providence. When we moved to Dallas and Lincoln had to stay here for his classes, he moved in with Ginger and her kids. Ginger has a daughter Lillie's age and during our time in Dallas, Lillie also stayed with her for several weeks. Ginger did their laundry, cooked their meals, oversaw their school work, and threw Lincoln a surprise party for his 17th birthday. Lincoln was at Ginger's house when Brandon had to call him and tell him about Tyler's death. And several weeks later Brandon would have to make another call telling both Lincoln and Lillie that their baby sister had died. I wanted to be there with them, to hug them and make sure they were okay, but I couldn't. Ginger was there instead, and if you're a mother who's reading this, you know how much that means.
When Anne Marie had her first surgery, Ginger and another one of my closest friends, Carol, drove to Dallas to be with us. I'll never forget the morning when they came up to the hospital. I had walked down to meet them and they were walking across the skybridge from the parking lot. We stood in the middle of that skybridge and hugged. It felt so good to have friends there. We waited together while Anne Marie was in surgery; Ginger and Carol somehow made the day brighter. They would also come back the day Anne Marie came off ECMO -- the day we thought would be her last. Ginger and Carol would be there in that sacred hospital room to witness Anne Marie's baptism. And later that day when God and Anne Marie surprised all of us, I got to see their beaming smiles when I told them "she made it." I won't ever forget those days -- Ginger and Carol being there with me in Dallas.
I know Ginger would do anything for me. And not only me, she would do almost anything for anyone. She is a loyal friend. Her friendship has been a gift to me and I am grateful. Last weekend I was able to see her beaming smile as she followed behind her niece who dropped rose petals and witness as Ginger's father performed her wedding ceremony. I was able to hear her take her vows and hear her father pray for her marriage and her family. It was beautiful and sacred and I cried. I can't remember the last time I cried happy tears. It felt good.