Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Regular Tuesdays with Alana

Riley called in sick Monday and Tuesday. Here he is cuddling with his kitty cat.

If you ever go to the Greear Family blog, you will notice that Alana blogs about me almost every Tuesday. You might have wondered why I never blog about our coffee sessions. For one thing, I don't blog everyday like she does, so I tend to just hit the highlights of the week.

But yesterday I felt a special appreciation for Alana, and as soon as she left, I began composing the list of why I love Alana. First, let me explain a few things about her. While it seems like most of what she does is go from house to house having coffee with people ( I was her THIRD coffee date yesterday), she is actually functioning more in the role of a social worker. She even has a degree in social work, although I am not sure she has ever actually been employed as a social worker. She filled in for the family outreach coordinator at Head Start a couple of years ago, and that is as close as I have known her to being employed. Before I met Alana, she worked in various jobs including driving a Fedex delivery truck, driving a school bus, being a mall cop in Saipan, and teaching kindergarten in Saipan.

We have a lot in common. We are both from the San Francisco Bay Area. We probably would not have been friends in high school even though she is only a few years younger than me. She was actually a prom queen and I was a nerd. The only thing that saved me from total geekdom was soccer. But when we met, we both had 1 1/2 year old sons. She had just moved back from Saipan where she adopted her son Falcom. And my dad is from Saipan. Three years later we both had another child. Her husband is a pharmacist and mine is a family physician. Her husband is the nicest guy you'll ever meet. So when our families get together, everyone has a friend to play with. That is very hard to come by.

Matt thinks Alana I and I compete to see whose life can be more complicated. We both had high maintenance 3 year olds, then I had Chris and she had Marina. Then I started the process of adopting Maya and she brought two foster sons over from Saipan. She works really hard to help them navigate the educational system so they can succeed in life and have a viable future.

We share similar beliefs about politics, religion and the world at large. She keeps me updated on the latest technology and fads. Without her I would slip into information oblivion. She is a good listener and is always willing to help me out. She has saved me thousands of dollars in psychotherapy and hundreds of dollars in babysitting. And all she needs from me (right now) is a strong cup of coffee and a salami sandwhich!

But that's not the only reason why I love Alana. She is smart, funny, and compassionate. She has a soft spot for children, especially disadvantaged children. She does not shy away from life's hardships. She can sit with pain and respond with love. That's the most important thing about her. So if you do not have an Alana in your life, you should get one of your own. You can't have my Alana because she is already overextended. What she does for me, she does for lots of other people as well. If God were the glue that holds the universe together, Alana would be the glue that holds the community together.

I'm not just saying this because she saved my bacon again today. I had to drive to Anchorage for a nurse practioner conference starting tomorrow morning. Matt was going out to one of the Russian Villages to certify wrestlers. It's one of his ways of giving back to the community. Alana took all three of my kids so I could get on the road before dark.

It was a beautiful drive. The autumn colors were spectacular, even though it was raining. Some of the mountains already have a fine layer of the season's first snowfall, which is called "termination dust". I don't know why it's called that. I guess it's because it's the first dusting of snow which signifies the termination of summer. Along the way, I saw this family of swans feeding on a lake. If you look closely, you can see the little grey cignets swimming around the two white swans.


Greears said...

Yesterday, in a fit of boredom, I almost submitted an application to a 'why your friedship is the best' contest. You can only imagine my happy shock at seeing this post. Thank you Irene, I love you too!

GordonWesFamily said...

I miss your great advice, and I miss Alana, she is definitively "the Glue"

Thanks for putting into words how awesome and fun she is to have around.

Yes, everyone needs to have their own Alana.

StaceynCorey said...

I don't have an Alana :(. I've moved away from my friends (or they've moved away from where I am) continually. Such is the life of a military family but I'll have to say my family doubles as my friends too :). I look forward to the day we'll settle down and plant some roots.