learning to laugh like Amy

We first met ten years ago, though I don't really remember it. She was a quiet girl with a funny taste in movies, and she liked to laugh. That's pretty much what I knew about her. Then, in our senior year of college, we began to run together. And I learned she despised treadmills, so we would run through snow drifts and past the bank clock that told us it was -14 degrees F. I'm totally serious. We would run with scarves wrapped around our faces, our breath would taste like blood in our lungs, and our eyelashes would cake with ice crystals. She despised treadmills that much. After graduating, she moved to my hometown in Colorado. On our drive out west we stopped at this Lewis and Clark museum. It was odd. I remember taking a photo on a big rock...I'm not sure why we did that (or why I remember it), but I know we laughed about it. In Colorado we would run after work and hike on the weekends and watch weird movies that made her laugh...which would make me laugh, because they wouldn't have been funny with anyone else. She helped me enjoy life. I couldn't not enjoy life around her.

The last time I saw Amy, we both had blossoming bellies, and we attempted a run at dusk near her Kentucky home. Yesterday, 5 years later, I saw her again. She's lived in three other states. I've moved to Africa and back. She has three beautiful girls I had never met. She's a mom. I'm a mom. Seeing her again was wonderful.

You know what I loved most about yesterday? I got to see how this friend of mine does this mothering thing, this thing that has forever changed both of us. She still has an incredible ability to discern what really should be taken seriously...and allow herself to laugh at the rest.  At the pond, when the kids decided sticking their toes in the water wasn't enough, and they all jumped in fully clothed, she just laughed and said you can't tell kids to not get wet at a pond. When a before-bed walk took us by a park, she laughed as mulch stuck to pink slippers and ballet pajamas. She chased around her one-year-old like it was fun and laughed at an ogre story for the millionth time.

She enjoys her three little princesses like she enjoys life. I want to learn from her. I love my children, but I want to enjoy them better.

God, help me to discern what really should be taken seriously and laugh at the rest. It's freeing and refreshing, and I don't just want to admire Amy. I want to learn from her.