GAYS MILLS - Many of us have that one friend who we’ve seemed to have known forever, hardly ever see, but can reunite with, without missing a beat.
My friend like that is Stephanie. She lives in the far off reaches of Iowa these days and although we talk weekly (sometimes daily), we seldom see each other in person.
However this weekend, she made the two-hour journey back to the Dairy Land to give me the best baby gift yet; she cleaned my house.
Stephanie and I are often opposites in many ways. For those of you who follow astrology, our signs–mine Aquarius and hers Scorpio don’t even match up. A quick Googling on the topic brings up, “Scorpio and Aquarius have character traits which are not traditionally compatible, but that just makes their relationship all the more interesting. Their connection with each other is very unpredictable and has a tendency to go to extremes.”
I’d say that could be a fairly accurate way to describe our road of friendship.
We met long ago, when we were both just teenagers. Stephanie, originally from Mazomanie grew up spending her summers at Black Hawk Park in DeSoto, where she met and befriended a girl that I went to school with. Being such a small area, the girl and I were on the fringes of each other’s friend groups and commonly would find ourselves in the same congregations of teenagers.
As life went on, we seemed to disband as young people do, but some how, Stephanie and I stuck together.
We shared many adventures that teenagers and young 20-somethings do together, driving around with nothing to do but swim, smoke cigarettes, and pontificate about our views of the world.
When I lived in Madison, she came and stayed with me on a couple of different occasions.
Even our traveling style was quite opposite, as I was one to show up with my purse, camera, and clothes on my back. Stephanie would show up with a week’s worth of groceries, a 12-pack of toilet paper, a new kitchen knife set (which, I still have almost 10 years later), and all the beer you could want.
If the groceries and the toilet paper wasn’t a clear sign that she’s always been my mother hen, the memory of her ushering me around Willy Street in Madison on my 23rd birthday certainly seals the deal. She obliged all of the wishes of the birthday girl, including going to the Drag Show at Plan B, drinking any drink I pleased and burritos at midnight at Burrito Drive. She drank non-alcoholic beverages and kept me and our other friend Elea upright on the icy Madison sidewalks and got us home safe. She even woke up the next morning and made us breakfast, while we slumped on the sofa watching PBS.
As time has gone on though, we both have grown up in a hurry it seems.
Stephanie has fallen in love with a man from Iowa, who had two young daughters when they got together. This has given her the opportunity to come full circle and be the mother hen and housewife she is so good at. All while fulfilling her college credits to be a licensed cosmetologist in the meantime.
When I was pregnant with Thatcher, she quilted and crocheted blankets and hats for the little baby as well as helped me throw a doozy of a baby shower.
So when, I realized following pregnancy exhaustion, three major deaths, having a toddler AND working opposite shifts from Chasca had caused me to majorly drop the ball on organization, I knew she was the only person I could count on.
Without hesitation she agreed to come and organize/clean my house, telling me “it doesn’t bother me if you just sip tea and point at where you want stuff to go.”
Like a tiny tornado, she whirled into my house and stacked, scrubbed, swept, and purged for me. Never making me feel judged or a pain and only slightly laughing when she said “Now, you just have to keep it clean for seven more weeks until I come back to visit the new baby.” When, I’m sure she’ll show up with a casserole, toilet paper, and maybe a small bottle of beer for us to share in celebration.
Although our friendship has had its shares of downs, arguments, and bouts of silence, Stephanie is still the one I can count on the most, the one who knows all of my secrets and the one who shows up when it really matters. As a scattered, unorganized, dreamer of dreams, I am fortunate to have such a grounded, detailed, kind, albeit stubborn best friend, and for that I am quite thankful.