Happy Belated Birthday Amanda!

I’m sorry for the tardiness of the blog today. I was taking care of “real life” this morning, which seeped into this afternoon, and here I am, sitting down at nearly 4pm my time to actually write. I’m thankful I’ve any time at all, really.

I’m also late in wishing my partner in crime a very happy birthday. It’s funny because on the fateful day in 2008, I called her to say happy birthday, and to let her be among the first to know (actually, she might have been my second phone call) that my youngest was going to be arriving later that evening – three weeks ahead of schedule. I remember thinking as I listened to the phone ring before she picked up that it would be an easy day to remember since my little one would share her birthday (not that I’d forget either of them!). The trouble is, because it’s also my daughter’s birthday, unless I carefully plan in advance, I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off to make sure I’ve got both Amanda and my youngest accounted for in the birthday wish department. I’ll be honest: I’m not much of a planner, and even less so these days with work. The last week hasn’t been great, and my life seems a bit more in shambles than normal. Whether that’s me being real or me making a mountain out of a molehill probably depends on your point of view.

So, I am happy to take a few minutes to express my gratitude for the birthday girl I never really have a chance to see in person for her birthday. Yes, it’s late this year (as is her gift – should have made it to her today though!), but the sentiments are felt year-round.

I often revel in the notion that Amanda and I are like opposing sides of the same coin. At heart we’re very similar, but we’re also very different. I think we might actually be our own set of checks and balances, which makes me smile when I think about it. It’s pretty clear-cut, across the board, and I can tell one story that really brings this to light.

Most know that in 2011 (I get the years screwed up so badly…but I’m pretty sure 2011 was the year), Amanda and I came up with the crazy idea to fly to the UK to see Duran Duran play some dates on their All You Need is Now tour. I think we were figuring we’d be there for nine days, if I remember right. It was a major deal for each of us, never mind the money spent. I had to break it to my husband that I was going to be gone for over a week, Amanda had to beg, borrow and practically steal to get the time off, and then as we all know, the shows were canceled. So, we found ourselves with some time off in the UK!

One of the things we did, thanks to some help from people who are actually ” in the know” about some things, was to stand out in front of the band’s rehearsal space. The point of the story isn’t so much that we were there, but how differently Amanda and I reacted to such a situation.

To begin with, I was totally against going, which makes no sense. There we were, in the UK to see Duran Duran, except there were no shows happening. There was no chance we would have seen them at all unless we took the information that was being given to us and went to the studio. Even so, I felt sick to my stomach at the thought. The idea of standing out front, the possibility of waiting all day, the idea of having the band possible be annoyed by our presence…I wanted no part of it. I always considered myself to be the more outspoken and confrontational one of the two of us…except I’m not.

On the other hand, Amanda was like, “We’re here, we know where they rehearse, this person is willing to go with us, we’re going.”  I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t feeling as ill as I was. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t nervous, but she wasn’t. She was brave, take charge, and ready to deal with me – the bundle of nerves.  I just let her take the lead. We met up with our friend, and took a walk from the bus stop to their rehearsal space.  I didn’t feel any better the closer we came to their studio, and I can remember suggesting I wait at a restaurant, and then I think I lost my bus ticket and finally just gave up and forced my feet to move. Amanda seemed to have no problem whatsoever. She didn’t seem nervous, and she certainly wasn’t intimidated by the idea of running into them, which to this day I admire about her.  I never can tell if she’s nervous on the inside, because on the outside, often times she has to talk me down from a ledge.

“Rhonda, we aren’t going on the property. We’ll be right outside the gate, and if someone decides to stop and talk to us, fine. If not, that’s OK too. We’re giving them a choice.” Amanda sounded so positive, and sure of herself. On that day (and a few others I can think of), I needed her to push me.  I nodded and kept walking, figuring that if I couldn’t get out of it, I’d have to just steel myself to whatever possibilities lie ahead and just push through.  let her lead us back up the street, and saw that there was a small crowd standing along the wooden gate.

The events of the day aren’t really the reason I’m telling you this story – suffice to say we saw some of the band that day. It was eye-opening for me in a lot of ways that go beyond the scope of this post. So far they haven’t told security to be on the lookout and get rid of us at shows, so I guess they’re not sick of us…yet. She was absolutely right to insist we go that day.  I know my perception of Duran Duran changed after that experience, and I was able to meet a few new friends that day, besides. I’m glad I went, and I’m really glad she pushed me. I needed it.  I talk a good game online, but when it comes down to it, I’m afraid of being rejected just like anyone else…especially when it comes to the four people in that band. I’ve looked up to them, for good, bad, or worse, for most of my life. The last thing I want to do is disappoint, and I think that’s why I am almost afraid to run into them. Amanda, on the other hand – not afraid at all. Not even in the slightest. I admire that.

If there’s one thing I can tell you about Amanda, it is that she is patient. And kind. Overall, she’s a better human than I am. She doesn’t worry about herself. She thinks of others, and puts their situations and feelings first, and it seems to come naturally. I marvel at that about her, and try to think about her when I’m in challenging situations. Those who say otherwise about Amanda don’t really know her. She’s kind to an absolute fault, and I really don’t know anyone else who is as giving as she is. I’m certainly not! She’s always willing to take time out of her day to hear about my latest worries (Lately there has been a lot), she will rearrange her own busy schedule to Skype so that we stay connected, and she is incredibly thoughtful when it comes to gifts. I don’t know that I quite measure up to all of that. Late last year, Amanda really needed me, and I wasn’t there for her as I should have been. It’s much more involved than I’m letting on here, but in short: I don’t necessarily deserve her friendship. That’ s why I’m eager to announce to anyone who asks that of the two of us, she’s the better person, the better friend, and I’m very lucky she puts up with me.

I really wish I lived closer to her. Sometimes, I just need to go over to her house, watch some videos and just have a conversation with someone other than a family member. Unfortunately, that can’t happen very often. The distance sucks sometimes, but by the same token, when we do get together – it’s ridiculous. We could easily be marked a health hazard, and we burn the candle at both ends as though we were still teenagers, which we’re probably not. We bring out both the best and worst (although “worst” depends upon your perception, I think). and I treasure her friendship – which is why I need to be a better steward with it.

So my friend, I hope you had a fantastic birthday. You deserve all the happiness in the world, and I’m glad you had friends over to share your birthday.  I will see you in July!

-R

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Happy Belated Birthday Amanda!”

  1. I’m not sure I actually live up to everything you said here about me. For example, I am always nervous about the thought of running into the band but I always am hopeful that I do it in such a way to avoid any negative interactions or disappointments. So far so good!

    Likewise, I’m not sure how kind I am. I work at it as I do patience. I think I’m able to make it all look natural due to all of my years of teaching and working with the public. That said, I definitely don’t think that I’m the better person! I try really hard to be a good person in the hopes that people can put up with all of my faults, which you know are many.

    All that said, I, too, wished that we lived closer so that we could just hang out. You are right, though. When we get together, it is pretty ridiculous. I’m looking forward to July to do it all again!

    -A

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