My friend Sarah inspires me so much, in so many ways. I never would’ve imagined, when she and her two kids moved on to the property where I was living in 2012, that our friendship would’ve blossomed in the way it has: into a staunch sisterhood of solidarity and support.
In some ways, Sarah and I are undeniably kindred spirits. We both have Midwest roots (Ohio, to be exact!), and a love for fresh seafood and pretty much anything grilled. We both have a soft spot for spending an evening in, winding down on the couch, rather than getting dressed up and going out. We both love to travel, LOVE the Lake Michigan shoreline, and love each other: both when sharing vulnerably and being ridiculous. Pretty much any type of music Sarah puts on puts me in my happy place.
In other ways, Sarah and I are really different. She has a life built around a family unit, while I still run freeee (like the wind!) as much as possible. She’s an enthusiastic sports fan, donning jerseys & drinking beers while watching the games in her living room, whereas I’d have a hard time even telling you the names of her favorite teams (serious #fail on my end). The political party she most frequently associates with is colored like a fire engine, while mine is like the sky on a clear Southern California day. When we drink vodka together, she takes Red Bull and Crystal Light while I opt for bitters & soda.
But just because I’m going there, let’s go there: Sarah’s like the Red Bull & Crystal Light to my bitters & soda, metaphorically as well as literally, which has a whole slew of advantages. She gets me jazzed up, riled up, sweetened up; a fabulous flavored addition to my otherwise innocuous fizz. Sometimes, embracing difference is just what I need to live a more colorful life.
Sarah is one of my favorite people in the whole world to laugh with. She can conjure a belly-guffaw from me that’s unlike any other, and I think back fondly on so many evenings, phone calls, even text exchanges that have gotten me giggling. From the banal, to the politically incorrect, to the simply absurd, or even to the tragic — We have shared tears of joy and tears of pain, alike — and whatever the flavor of the tears, there’s almost always laughter that ensues immediately before or after.
In addition to having an amazing sense of humor, Sarah is one of the most generous people I’ve ever met. Even when she was struggling the most, she would always go out of her way to find ways to show her love and appreciation for the people in her life — through small and deeply meaningful gestures, gifts, and words. She is generous with her time, her energy, and her money. She is generous with her advice and generous with her laughter. One of the most supportive and powerful ways she is generous is through her listening and compassion; no matter how different our opinions are, I always know that Sarah will be willing to receive my thoughts, hold them, and accept them. She has taught me a lot about truly being present to EVERYONE, and not dismissing someone simply because I have some superficial aversion or negative response. Sarah’s never told me specifically “give people a second chance,” but she’s modeled that to me time and time again. Heck, it’s probably the reason we are still in each other’s lives: because we gave each other a second chance, despite any & all surface differences.
Sarah is one of the best moms I’ve ever met. Hands-down, no question. Her parenting style is not what I’d call “conventional,” but she treats her children in the same way she treats everyone: with deep and unwavering respect. She’s hands-off with them when appropriate, but is also fiercely protective of her kiddos when situations arise that call for more of her attention. She cares about them enough to let them make their own decisions, while guiding and supporting them to make choices that are mindful, conscious, and sound. She’s not afraid to tell her kids when she doesn’t approve, or is mad or sad or disappointed with them, but she does so in a way that takes complete and total ownership of whatever emotions she’s feeling, rather than projecting, blaming, or employing snarky behavior patterns. Her authenticity is astonishing.
Along those same lines, Sarah always communicates honestly and from her heart. When she hurts, she hurts hard. When she’s mad, she’s furious. When someone she loves has been wronged, she can be straight-out ferocious, and will NEVER waver from standing up for what’s right. However, unlike so many people who funnel their intense feelings into passive aggressive (or straight-out aggressive!) behaviors, Sarah stays really honest. She is direct, clear, and no-bullshit about what she’s feeling, and never lashes out for the sake of hurting. Sarah takes responsibility for herself and her emotions.
Actually, scratch that: Sarah takes responsibility for her LIFE, not just her emotions. She’s had some really intense life situations thrown at her, throughout her younger days, and recently, her family has been dealt a blow that would leave even the strongest person totally torn apart. It is in times like these that her loyalty for her family, and her unwavering devotion for creating a safe environment for her kids to grow up in, shine through. All who she has made a loving loving commitment to — her kids & her partner, her extended family, her friends, and even her slightly overweight but UTTERLY PERFECT dog — reap the benefits of her kind, humorous, sincere, honest, no-bullshit approach to life. Sarah, you are so beautiful, inside and out. I can’t say it enough times: how lucky I am to be your friend. If you are comfortable, instead of having you choose a cause or fund for me to invest in on your behalf, I will make a donation to the GoFundMe campaign that your friends so kindly started. ❤️