It has probably been nearly twenty years since I last saw her. But, thanks to Facebook, we all still 'know' each other. She was the one that inspired me, with her own blog to start mine up again.
The very best part of A. was that she was literally a friend to all five of us in the family. My mom and A. drank wine and giggled and vented and chatted about life. I have no recollection of what they talked about, but I can only imagine, now that I'm a venting, giggling adult. Rudi and A. had a cute friendship too. She was like his little sis he never had and like everyone, she easily became good friends with him. My sister and A. had a pretty cool relationship. Kyli is the oldest and she never had the opportunity to have an older sister to look up to, until she met A. The two of them had just as much fun gabbing and giggling as my mom and A. did. The two of them would smoke cigarettes, eat junk food, all while chatting about inappropriate stuff. I know this because I was usually there. Not only did A. invite Ky over for those sleep overs but she included me. I can't express how important that was to a twelve year old with older siblings. Being included was all that I ever wanted. We would rent movies, eat as much junk as we could physically stuff into us and go to bed late. One thing about A. was that she always had awesome treats. Even after she met someone she still had time for us. I used to lug my electric typewriter everywhere with me and if you've ever experienced an electric typewriter they are anything but quiet. A. and her new man friend would settle in to watch a movie, snacks in hand and I would decide to keep writing my novel in her dimly lit kitchen. TICK TICK TICK TICK CA-CHUNK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK ... you can imagine the noise. But, she still had me over and always acknowledged my 'talent' and 'drive' to become that novelist I always aspired to be. She appreciated me and I sensed that and cherished her for it.
My brother and A. also understood each other which wasn't an easy thing to do when he was fifteen, sixteen years old. He wanted very little to do with any of us, what with a phone attached to his face and Much Music playing on the t.v. 24/7. But, somehow A. got through to him too. She went skiing, he went snowboarding, despite his horrid hang over and they bonded in their own way. She earned his approval and I'm sure he has his own fond A. memories.
I think that all families experience that lull.. Life gets mundane and boring.. Quiet Christmas' are nice but it's always nice to have that something, that someone to make it more interesting. That was our A. She did that for us...
Now, nearly twenty years later, she is still part of my life. She may literally live on the opposite side of the country; the Pacific Ocean is my home, the Atlantic her's ..
I'm not sure how long ago, but she started posting pictures of paintings she was working on. I commented, explaining how impressed I was with her work. I can't remember how it all started; but she said she wanted to paint something for little ol' me. I was thrilled! This Friday I received a personalized painting from my good friend A. It was everything I could have expected. Even after seventeen, eighteen years A. knows me well...
So this post today has been written and dedicated to an amazing friend to my mom, a sister to both my step dad and sister... A perfect aunt to me. A. you are one of a kind and I'm so grateful that my entire family was lucky enough to have met you.
The mess that is my desk.. Notice that the picture painted by A. is sitting there amongst the chaos that is my life. Blends right in... like it always belonged... just like A.