I am having the hardest time with these posts lately.
It's not that I don't have enough wonderful women to choose from.
It's that I have too many.
You see, my mother and I have never been close. She had an oddly (and unhealthy) closeness to her own mother, and it honestly wasn't until my grandma died my senior year of college that she attempted to forge a relationship with me. By then...it was really too late.
It's not that I don't love my mom. I do. Truly. And we've gotten closer as time has gone by, but in all the meantime God has provided many "mothers" to fill the void I had.
I'm not sure when I began realizing this. I've already written about two of those "mothers" when writing these T2T posts. Now it's time to introduce you to yet another.
I was so intimidated the first time I met ML. Her husband was a professor at the university I attended, we played in the orchestra together at church, and he and I had become fairly close over the course of the 2 months or so I had been in town. When I met his wife (who goes by ML instead of Marylou) for the first time (after church one Sunday morning) I thought there was no way I would EVER click with this beautiful, classy woman who had it all together.
I remained intimidated until Christmas break freshman year. Our music minister at church had especially asked if I could stay for the Christmas extravaganza. Unfortunately, it was scheduled for the Sunday...after the dorms closed on Friday. I begged housing to let me stay the extra 2 days, but apparently they put a huge vacuum seal over the entire university during the Christmas holidays and there was no way I was breaking that barrier. So Don said "Well, just stay at our house!"
He "led" me to their house that Friday afternoon in the midst of rush hour (which I was still not used to--rush hour at "home" meant a tractor was on the highway...or the high school had just let out). Once we got there, he showed me to my room for the weekend and then headed off to do something...I think it was going back to campus to enter grades or something. I was left alone in the house with a beautiful English spaniel dog (who was my instant buddy and remained so until she died--I was the only person who could take care of her when her parents went out of town). Within an hour or so, I heard the garage door open. I smoothed my hair and tried to look as natural as possible because I knew SHE was home.
She walked in, greeted the dog, and then looked at me and said 7 wonderful words:
"Why don't we go to the mall?"
And a beautiful friendship was born.
ML and I bonded quickly over that weekend, and I was at their house many, many times after. I house-sat for them, dog-sat for them (and Don would bring the dog to see me any time he had her on campus...or call me to go get her out of his office if he had back to back classes). ML became someone that I did total girl things with, like shopping, getting manicures and visiting the makeup counters. ML was the one who introduced me to the beautiful hiking areas of Nashville and for that I will be eternally grateful. Most Sunday afternoons involved a lunch at their house and a hike around Edwin Warner park which was literally 5 minutes from their house at the time. Sometimes they would also invite the girls I lived with, but often it was just me and ML.
I found out a lot about her (them) on those hikes. She grew up in Indiana too, had a very similar upbringing to mine, we had a lot of the same battle wounds. She and Don had never had children of their own...by choice. And so that faux mother/daughter role was easy for both of us to adopt. We were asked by strangers constantly if we were mother and daughter and we always laughed about it...because we look nothing alike!
They left the church we all attended my sophomore year, and those Sunday afternoons became less frequent, but still we gathered together often. And I visited them at their new church (Christ Church) a LOT. I still visit there--it's a pretty well-known church to anyone in this area, and Don actually plays in the band there.
About a year after I graduated they moved closer to the area I live in (and go to church in). You would think this means I see them often, but that's unfortunately not the case. ML has a pretty demanding job and has had to be out of town a lot lately. And of course in my current job-limbo, it's not as easy for me to be up for a shopping trip even if she is in town.
I have no doubt however of these things:
ML loves God
and she loves me.
And that's enough.