I was so lucky last evening to have a wonderful conversation with someone I consider a friend, a mentor, and even a second mother.

I grew up with this person, best friends with her daughter; our families were always together. We traveled together, slept at each other’s houses all the time, shared Sunday dinners and countless weekend afternoons. This woman treated me like one of her own – from the love to, yes, the punishment when I needed it.

Although I will say that she was the only mom in my life who made me eat pancakes with syrup.

For the record, I really, really dislike syrup. I much prefer powdered sugar on my pancakes, when and if I eat them (which is not often these days…).

So there were quite a few cold pancakes on Saturday mornings in my childhood, since I spent so many Friday nights at their house.

That aside, though, she’s the mom I love most, next to my own. And over time we have become closer, as I’ve drifted from her daughter a bit (let’s just say dissenting political views have made it challenging the last almost-four years…). I have found myself seeking support from this woman and her husband (my second dad) as I’ve navigated through some of the most challenging times in my life. I get cards from them regularly (as in, nearly weekly) and send my own to them nearly as often.

She called, randomly, on Tuesday when I was falling asleep at the end of a long, frustrating, and annoying day. Nothing earth-shattering (although I did break my favorite mug, sigh) but just one of THOSE days. I was nearly asleep so didn’t answer. And then she called again last evening while I was eating, and I took the time to call her when I was finished eating and had my cup of tea.

And it was the best way to spend 30 or so minutes that I could have hoped for. Refreshing, and uplifting, and encouraging. Good conversation with someone who knows all of me – really, she does – and who loves me.

It just reminded me of how important it is to connect, to really talk with people. And to not be afraid to reach out. I hesitate sometimes to call her, or reach out through a card specifically for her, and this reminded me that I don’t need to. True friendship – and true love – takes away that brief hesitation, reminding me that I can be loved for being who I am, for being my whole self.

I needed that this week.

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