Through our lives, we all meet people who help us to grow into whoever it is we want to become. I’ve been fortunate enough to have known many such people in my life, but these days, there’s one I think of more than any other: Mary Miller, my oldest and dearest friend.
My Friend Mary
Mary and I met at church my senior year of college, when I was already well on my way to getting the same teaching certificate that my mother, and her mother before her, had earned. We were separated by a generation; Mary was already married and had a baby on the way.
None of this, however, prevented us from forming a great friendship. We ate dinner at each other’s houses and, when her baby was born, I was the go-to babysitter. When I tragically lost a family member, she was there every day to support me.
Mary worked as a nurse, and I confess that I was always a little jealous. I became a teacher because it was taken for granted from a young age that I would do so, and while I found my work very satisfying, I wanted something else. Specifically, I wanted to be a nurse.
Mary was the first person I told about this secret ambition of mine, and by far the most supportive.
“You don’t think I’m crazy?” I asked her, embarrassed.
“Of course not!” she said. “You’d make a great nurse.” Coming from someone like Mary, that meant a lot.
Just as meaningful, though, was the support she offered me to help me make my dream a reality. Side by side, we researched adult education opportunities to help me get my degree. My first week of classes, when I was so harried I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water, she showed up at my door with dinner already made. There’s no doubt in my mind that I couldn’t have done it without Mary.
As I prepare to receive my degree in nursing in less than a month, I’d like to thank Mary and all the others who supported me along the way.