There is something satisfying about the belief that who I was at 19 is a pretty decent reflection of who I am at 42.
When I was not yet twenty I met a busker on the street in Milwaukee, playing his guitar out in the cold. I was with friends, heading to a nearby coffee shop. His music hit me in the heart, and I set to worrying that he must be really cold out there in the weather.
So I mustered my courage and went outside and offered to buy him a cup of coffee to give him a chance to warm up. He agreed.
More than twenty years later we are still friends.
My friend André lives with his partner and their three daughters in Vermont. They have visited us in Wisconsin, but this was our first visit to their home. As fellow makers, parents, homeschoolers, and kindred spirits we still have a lot in common, even all these years later. And setting aside some time to connect was truly a gift.
As we spent these days with their family I realized – this might be the closest experience to cousins that my children have ever had. Living far apart, and brought together on occasion not because of their own friendships, but because of the connection between our families, their friendships were destined more than chosen.
It's beautiful and it fills up my heart.
We hiked together, carved spoons, talked, and relaxed. The kids were raucous and got to know each other in no time, enjoying games, conversation, and one impressive cooking contest.
On Monday we said goodbye as we pushed on toward Maine.
And while goodbyes are hard, mostly I'm thankful for putting my nerves and shyness aside and offering a cold musician a cup of coffee so many years ago.