My Ansley: the Flip Side of the Story

I knew before I even finished the blog about My Ansley, she’d be begging to tell her side of the story (OK, maybe not begging per say but she’d want to get a few words in…) So today, you are in for a treat! Here’s the flip side of the story from My Ansley completely unedited:

My Wendy

Soon after I moved back to Augusta following an incomplete stint in law school (another story for another time), my church advertised a Women’s Mentoring Program. Thinking ANY direction was better than no direction – and no direction was what I had going for me – I signed up. In her post last week [link], Wendy described the meet and greet coffee. I attended, knowing no one, and took it all in. This bossy woman in pinstripe pants and cute shoes stood up and said “If you are entering into this program, you owe it to yourself to be real. If you are going to wear a mask or not be yourself, then you may as well not do this. You have to be authentic for this to work.” A few hours later, I found myself telling my (then) boyfriend about the event. I said “this bossy woman stood up and went on and on about authenticity. I really pity the person assigned to be her mentee. She was seriously almost rude. And bossy. Sheesh!” Adam explained that the bossy woman is the aunt of a really good friend of ours. I didn’t see how those two could be family: our friend was so sweet and so fun, and this woman was not.

 Flash forward to the next coffee gathering, when we received our pairs. You can imagine my, uh, joy when I found out that bossy-pants was my mentor. Oh, God truly does have a sense of humor!

 At our first meeting, Bossy tried really hard to be “too busy” for me. But Bossy had met her match: Pushy. So, I (Pushy) encouraged Bossy to meet in the morning. (After all, maybe she’s not AS mean when she first wakes up. And I am a morning person, so I am at my best at 6:30 am.) Bossy and I started meeting one morning a week, I quickly quit calling her Bossy-Pants. I got to know her, and then Wendy and I met two mornings a week (remember y’all, I had just left law school and had no direction. I needed a lot of mentoring!).

 Wendy mentored me as my boyfriend became my fiancé; as my fiancé accepted a job in another city; as I planned a wedding and juggled the details of a move; as my husband and I moved away. And she continued to mentor me long distance. We met up every other month for a weekend away. She has seen me through months and months of negative pregnancy tests; she has listened to hours (and hours and hours and hours) of my rambling; we have both ushered in new decades together (me into my 30’s and her into her 40’s, but that just makes her that much wiser!) she has celebrated the birth of both of our children; she’s walked with me through the valleys and skipped with me over the mountains. And she’s even driven 6 hours to help me with a colic baby…oh, and do yard work with me.

As much as I believe Wendy when she says that I have changed her life, I know that I will never influence her the way she has influenced me. I credit Wendy with helping me to be a better wife, a sweeter daughter, a more patient mother, and a calmer friend. When I explain to people about “one of my best friends in the world,” they are often surprised to learn she is 13 years my senior. (What could we possibly have in common?!) But I will tell you all that what we have in common, at our core, is a love of Jesus that we want to radiate in all that we do. And, does anything else really matter in comparison?!

 Y’all, this woman has redefined friendship for me. She’s not just a friend; she’s family. She’s my bestie; my mentor and MY WENDY.

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My Ansley

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               It started oddly enough. Our church’s women’s ministry was beginning a new mentoring program. Now this is something that has always been near and dear to my heart because I’ve always been blessed to have an older friend to help me navigate life. Cindy showed me how to be a wife, Peggy showed me how to be a mom and Leigh showed me how to be a Godly woman. (hey, they did their best… they’re not miracle workers) So when the sign-up for this appeared, I was SO in!!

                There was an initial meeting to see who was interested and then a second meeting where you found out your match (yes, it felt somewhat like match day at med school… would I get picked? would I like said pick??) When they introduced me to my mentee, I was perplexed to say the least. She was single, young, career oriented and worst of all A MORNING PERSON!!! What were you people thinking?? I knew without a doubt this was never going to work.

                She insisted we get together the very next night to decide when our required weekly meetings would take place. I began to soften when she wanted to meet at California Dreaming since they have croissants to die for. We were not far into our conversation when she dropped the BIG BOMB “Let’s meet early one morning.” Those of you that know me might need a minute to stop laughing…. those of you that don’t, should know that I sleep until the LAST POSSIBLE SECOND because I am not, nor have I have ever been or even aspired to be a morning person. So I quickly responded, “I can’t I have to be at work by 8:30am.” (insert sickeningly sweet smile on my face J) to which she quickly replied in her self-assured twenty-something way, “Get up earlier. It will be like found time.” Well, what do you say to that?!?! I rolodexed through my brain to find an excuse, any excuse to get out of this horror that I found myself in and I. HAD. NOTHING. So I agreed.

                That was the beginning of many realizations for me: we are never too old to learn or make a new friend, I was oh so wrong about this not working out, God’s plans are SO MUCH better than ours and a diehard non-morning person can change. Our meetings (yes, she not only convinced me to meet TWICE a week but to meet at 6:45am- over an hour and a half before I had to be at work) not only were the highlights of my week but seven years, one move to Nashville (her), one retirement (me), two babies (her!) and one empty nest later (me) we are closer than ever. We text/email daily and see each other no less than once a quarter. She is a part of my boy’s lives and I am a part of her kid’s lives. We keep each other on track especially where our faith is concerned. She even had her own “Are you kidding me reaction?” when we were paired and if she’s really nice, I’ll let her share that one day.

It’s funny because a co-worker once pointed out that when I’d refer to her in front of others I would always say “my friend Ansley” like that was her whole name. Before long, I noticed that I’d shortened it even more because she is my dearest friend, my confidante, my book-loving twin, my cheerleader, my pride check, simply put people, she is MY ANSLEY.