I taught with Debbie for seven years. At first, our interactions were occasional: Asking for advice, sharing materials, planning lessons. By the second year, we planned each week, scheduled a weekly lunch, and conferred daily.
By our last year, we ate lunch together most days, talked constantly, knew so much about each other’s families, got together during the holidays, and depended on each other for emotional, spiritual, and moral support. I think Bea knew Debbie’s voice as well as Frank’s by the time she was born.
Debbie’s encouragement helped me through the insecurity of my first years of teaching, rough patches with administration, life as a newlywed, pregnancy and impending motherhood. We processed, laughed, cried, had the occasional misunderstanding, and vulnerable apologies.
When I quit working to stay home full-time, my biggest shock was the fact that Debbie wasn’t at my house everyday, talking about newborn life and encouraging me through the foggy, sleepless first weeks. Two years later, I still miss that daily camaraderie and perspective.
When I think about our years together, I tend to romanticize how quickly and easily we chose to engage and be vulnerable in our daily lives. Now that I’m making new friendships and discovering new paths, I want to hurry the friendship along, quickly getting to the point of sharing and honesty. I forget that it took Debbie and I a good two years – if not longer – of working toward that depth of friendship.
Now, as I’m surrounded by new friends – mostly stay-at-home moms in my same life-season – I still value Debbie’s friendship and insight so much. We’ve moved from daily conversations to seeing each other every few months. But, her wisdom, life experience, and encouragement are what keep me bolstered. She reminds me not to over think motherhood, to enjoy these moments, and to remember that there is always a new experience waiting on the other side.
Who has encouraged you along the journey?
Linked with (in)courage’s Power of Encouragement.