I gave birth to three sons, but in reality we have a fourth son. He came into our family when he was about seven years old and not matter what we do, we cannot get him to leave! Yeah, this is not a “Blind Side” kind of story. Nope, this it’s more like Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver…I kid, I kid! It’s really like Fred and Barney from The Flintstones. Two guys who are good separate but better (and full of trouble!) together.
Will Kittle (Kittle in my house since i already have a Will) played soccer at the YMCA with Luke when they were little boys. They became fast friends who despite going to different schools until college, remain best friends to this day (I like to think Kittle is Luke’s Lynne… except they break more stuff and eat more food!) So as is want to happen, over the years of the boys being together, he just became family. I can’t even begin to count the nights he spent at my house nor the meals he’s shared with us and vice versa at the Kittle house. So much time together that both my other two boys are almost as close to him as Luke is.
Now don’t misunderstand, it has not always been smooth sailing with these two. Oh no! There was a time amidst broken school bus windows, destroyed furniture and conversations with the youth pastor about their latest “incident” at church when I thought I would pull their hair out if they didn’t calm down and straighten up! But not only did they straighten up, Kittle and Luke have become fine young men who are both excelling at Georgia Tech (yes, Ga Tech even though for most of his life, Kittle, bled the red and black of the University of Georgia BullDawgs!)
I love the fact that even if Kittle is only home a few hours, we get a visit. Heck, he comes by to visit whether Luke is here or not. Like I said, he’s our fourth and cheapest son… we’ve yet to pay a dime for his college tuition! Now food on the other hand…
I sometimes laugh when it’s not appropriate… oh not just a giggle but a shoulder shaking, eyes watering, can’t hold the sound in laughing. I know, I know, I’m an adult and I should be able to control myself but I can’t. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a disorder I have, like inappropriatitis or giggle-mania. But really I think it’s simply my lack of ability to control myself…oops!
The very first time I remember this happening was when I was about 14. It was a Sunday night, Lynne and I were sitting about four rows from the front in our church doing our very best to do our very best (let me tell you that was hard at 14!) A member of our church had just begun to sing a solo when Lynne calmly leaned over and whispered in my ear, “I’m pretty sure his name is Mr. Potato Head.” Well that was it. I. Was. Done. The laughter started and could not be stopped (it is 31 years later and I started laughing while I was writing this!) It seemed like the harder I tried to stop, the harder I laughed! Like an out of body experience, I could see myself shaking and trying my every loving best to hold it in but just could not. My rule following self was MORTIFIED! I was certain God was watching and He surely was not pleased.
Many years later it happened at work. It was during a HUGE pre-tournament meeting at the golf club where I worked. One of the young assistant golf professionals was explaining a map of our new practice facility and he was pointing out some of the new features for the players. As he pointed out areas around the equipment office he said, “Upon arrival at the club, the players can get their balls cleaned here, get their balls checked here and pick up their extra balls here if they need them.” Yes, like an 11 year old boy I started laughing and could not stop. I knew full well that I was sitting near the front and there were more than fifty people sitting behind me who were all above my pay grade but once again, I could…not…stop. Horrifying!! For the next week I just knew that at any moment I was going to be called in to my boss’s office and fired or at the least chastised for my behavior. However as time went on no one ever mentioned my inappropriate laughter during that meeting… makes me wonder… had they all been laughing too?!?!?!
I was seven years old when Lynne chose me. Chose me for what you might ask? To be her best friend, confidant and partner in crime. Why did she choose me? I’ll never know but I’m oh so blessed she did. When Lynne and I met, I was a shy, introverted second grade little girl who did everything she could to fade into the background. As the youngest of three kids each a year a part, I was most concerned with not causing trouble. Of course that ALL changed with time and most importantly with Lynne (yep, I’m blaming you!)
My first clue that life as Lynne’s BFF would be different should have come when we were in middle school and she walked into homeroom to inform me that we were going to be in a community play where she would have the lead and I would have a secondary role. K? Ok…and we were. Lynne has the gift of giving… not of gifts (even though she’s good at that) but of true potential. She gave me the confidence to be on stage in spite of my total lack of talent and ability not to mention my terror of speaking in public.
My ballroom dancing skills, tennis prowess, date to the Junior Prom (hi Jeff!), bizarre sense of humor and uncanny ability to burst out laughing at the MOST inappropriate time are all credited to Lynne. For some reason when she was doing life with me, I had no fear of failure, rejection or falling short. She embraced life with such joy that I just assumed it would all be fine. And you know what? It was.
Those that know me now struggle to believe me when I tell them how painfully shy I was before Lynne. You see in just the last 10 years I’ve spoken at women’s retreats & events, been the design coordinator for a major golf tournament, led countless Bible studies and often get accused of working the room wherever I am. The very confident woman you see today was many years in the making.
I know that much of what I am today is because Lynne refused to take “no” for an answer. Now we were not always building character and good life skills but since I’m not sure if the statute of limitations has expired yet, I’ll keep most of our adventures to myself. What I will tell you is that 38 years later with us both happily married and mothers to seven kids total, we are still best friends (yeah, yeah I know I’m supposed to say my husband is my best friend but realistically, I never would have had the courage to go out with much less ask him to marry me if it weren’t for her… so he understands!) So to all of you out there like me, make sure you thank the Lynne’s in your life for helping you become the woman you were truly intended to be. If she’s anything like my Lynne you can do that by sending her a few dozen macaroons.