There are a lot of firsts in life, and not all of them make me excited.
And today is one of those times.
Today I will walk through the doors of the high school where I teach to kick-start the year with another week of in-service. But, this year, I will walk through those doors knowing how different this school year will be, but I am going to try not to think about it. I cry probably about twice a year, and I certainly don’t want today to be one of those times.
It will certainly be challenging, though, because I already miss my friend.
This is my seventh year of teaching (and only at one school), and it will be the first year I face without my work best friend. I met Peltz in my first year, and it was more toward the end of the school year that we really started getting to know each other. Instantly, we clicked. We just sort of get each other. You know the time of person I’m talking about–the one from the quote: “The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.”
There’s something so special about having a work best friend, because–let’s be honest–every single day at any job is not going to be full of sunshine and laughter. There are going to be times when you need to run down the hall, even if it’s only for just a hug, and know that there is someone who is there for you. You share good news with each other; you share bad news with each other. You laugh together; you cry and vent together. You celebrate together; you mourn together. You talk things through together; you sit in silence and just be present when that’s all that’s needed together. You check up on each other; you have each other’s backs. You give advice; you simply listen. You’re just there together.
I already miss my friend.
I will never forget a few years ago around this time of year, when a small emergency happened, and Peltz stuck by my side the entire way. We were at in-service, when I suddenly started having some severe pain. I have a history of ruptured ovarian cysts, and I had a feeling that’s what it was again. I’m not lying when I say I literally couldn’t move. We were playing some game with balloons (I swear we actually do stuff with curriculum during this week), and I had to sit down. When everyone was dismissed to go to their assigned areas, I sat down. My principal came over and talked to me and decided I needed to go to the hospital. I texted Peltz, and she was immediately by my side then out the door to pull her car around to the back side of the building.
Peltz not only took me to the hospital, but she stayed with me the entire time. My parents came up there later to check on me (I think I had called one of them just to let them know–you know, in case I died. I’m not dramatic.), and one thing my dad said to me as I was leaving was, “That girl right there is a true friend.”
And he’s right.
After I was given the usual post-cyst instructions, we left the hospital. It was lunchtime, so we went through the Chick-fil-A drive-thru, and I introduced Peltz to Chick-fil-A sauce, which is the best condiment (next to ketchup, of course) to grace the nation. Ever. We ate in her car in the school parking lot, and she dared me to eat one of the sauce packets by itself–so, essentially, drink it. And I did. Because that’s what true friends do.
A couple of years ago, we started taking what we call our “Wednesday pics,” in which we usually look up and off into the distance. Sometimes we even coordinated outfits. The best was when for our final pic of the school year last year Peltz showed up with these precious tiny pink hats for us to wear. She always did little things like that. Wednesdays will never be the same.
I host the pep rallies for our school, and there was one last year in which I had to announce a bunch of candidates for the Homecoming court, and I needed someone to help me simply by holding the envelopes and possibly opening them so I could call out the winners of the underclassmen. Of course Peltz helped. She didn’t say a word the whole time but instead was my Vanna and just followed me around the floor (even as I almost tripped on those mats in my heels). She was just always there for me.
I already miss my friend.
On thing that’s so great about my friendship with Peltz, though, is that we are more than just work friends. We are real friends. Although it’s going to be really tough not having her with me at work every day, I know that it’s not the end of a friendship. I’m excited for the new opportunity she has in a different district, and I know we will make even greater efforts to catch up now that we don’t get to see each other daily.
So, I walk through the doors today sad but not completely disheartened. Life is a journey, and sometimes you have to take pathways separately from people who have special places in your heart. But, just like little kids playing tag, you can always find each other back at home base. It’s where you find safety, security, and trust.
Because true friendship can withstand anything that life throws its way.