As a young girl, I loved gymnastics. Starting at age 5, my mom had me signed up for lessons. Balance beam, parallel bars, floor; I just loved it all. I wasn’t very strong. I remember being unable to pull myself up onto the bars on my own. I wasn’t very coordinated. I remember being unable to do anything other than walk back and forth on the balance beam and even that was tricky. I wasn’t able to do the back handsprings and front walkovers like the other little girls, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t make believe I could in my mind. Gymnastic lessons stopped around the age of 8. I don’t know why? Perhaps because my mom was pregnant with her 5th child and it was too much. Either way, I still practiced gymnastics. I would dance, make up routines and practice for hours each day; all in the basement of my childhood home. I used duct tape on the carpet, pulling the tape into a long line and sticking on the floor making an imaginary balance beam.
I quickly became a teenage girl and still did gymnastics almost every day in my basement. Around the age of 14, I came to the sad realization I would never become a famous gymnast. I was tall, almost 5’8, and big-boned. I didn’t have the body type, and I wasn’t very good. I knew this all along, but in my mind I always envisioned me doing the tricks I watched during the Olympics on T.V.
My mom helped me during this time of transition and suggested I try diving. I always loved to jump on the trampoline, doing front and back flips. Plus, I loved swimming and would flip off just about anything that catapulted me into the pool, so I decided to give it a try.
The first time I walked down a real diving board (not your backyard wimpy version), I couldn’t believe the spring. It sent me flying into the air and I had very little control over where my flipping ended up. The high school coach spent the day just teaching me how to walk down the diving board and be in some sort of control. After a day of try-outs, he saw the desperation in my eyes and agreed if I trained my sophomore year and came to all the practices and meets, he would sign me up to compete my junior year.
(Photo Shock! Stay with me now!)
This is how I met my friend Daryl.
My first dive meet I walked onto the bus that would take me to another city, and I walked past a nice looking guy who was sitting alone. He offered the seat next to him, and we started talking. He was a swimmer, excited for his first big event. Daryl was the type of person who loved to laugh, making jokes easily, and we were best friends by the time the bus dropped us of to our swim and diving meet. Because our bus driver looked like Orville Redenbacher, we gave each other the nickname Orville. For the next 10 years, I was Orville to him, and he was Orville to me.
We spent the next 3 years between his house and mine making chocolate cookies, singing and making up songs on the piano, helping each other with chores and homework, telling each other our thoughts, our struggles and our dreams. We swam in his neighbor’s backyard swimming pool on hot summer nights, learned to drive a stick-shift in my beater car and gave each other pep talks when the odds were against us. We loved music and sang too loud with the windows of my car rolled down. All the while, he on the swim team, me on the diving team, and we would sit next to each other on the bus that took us from one competition to the next.
One Christmas Eve my senior year, I called Daryl around midnight. My parents, too tired to do all the Christmas tasks, asked if I would play Santa, stuffing the stockings and wrapping presents. I needed my best friend. We met halfway in the neighborhood on that dark cold night and walked back to my house—he stayed with me until 3:00am. That night, we also assembled a lawn mower I’d purchased for my dad. It was like a comedy skit; Daryl reading the directions while I tried to figure out what wheel went where. Never has there been so much laughter on Christmas Eve.
After graduation, Daryl left the country for his mission. It was a sad parting, difficult to know we might grow apart. We spent the next 2 years writing letters, still as happy as ever, and I could almost hear his laughter each time I read a hand-written note of his, always addressed to me: Orville; always signed by him: Orville.
He came home from his time abroad, and we were both in college. We made the occasional phone call and saw each other here and there until I went on my mission. After 1½ more years of letter writing our friendship was as solid as ever, even though we rarely saw each other. I knew Daryl was there for me. I knew he cared about me. Even when I felt all alone, I had the memories of Daryl and knew he was always by my side. I returned home, and a year later met my soon-to-be husband. When I became engaged to Derek, I called Daryl. He invited me to his house, and we made cookies. Later, we sat on the side of the bed in his bedroom of his childhood home, talking about the good times, our adventures and wondered now what the world held for us. So much left unsaid because it is impossible to tell someone thank you while saying good-bye; thank you for caring about me, thank you for making me smile every day and thank you for being my best friend.
Fast forward 15 years, and my friend Daryl, a.k.a Orville, does graphic design (worked on the Martha Stewart Magazine) and publishes the international magazine Seeing The Everyday, a magazine focused on relationships in ordinary moments. Seeing the Everyday is a useful resource in discovering and re-discovering that in life nothing is really routine. It captures beautiful, yet day-to-day moments in family life like cooking, household work and hugs. It doesn’t surprise me that Daryl now spends his time sharing his love of people with others all over the world.
Seeing the Everyday has a beautiful website with guidelines for submission (hint, hint).
I wrote a post on my blog My Dear Trash about an experience I had. I live down the street from my beautiful mom and every few days, she walks into my home to visit. One day, I turned around and there she was standing in my kitchen. She took my breath away. This woman, so kind and beautiful seeks me out and I'm able to spend time with her, have my ideas and dreams molded by her and my concerns and worries validated by her. I realized how lucky I was to be her daughter and the experience made look at my own daughter differently. If my mom loved me like I love my daughter, then why would I every doubt myself. Later, I submitted the experience to Seeing The Everyday and was thrilled when it was published. You can read it on-line by clicking here.
Daryl has sent me 5 copies of the latest Seeing the Everyday to share with you. How can you get a copy? Leave a comment below about your favorite ordinary experience. This doesn't need to be complicated. It can be as simple as folding your newborns little clothes just out of the dryer or putting sunblock on your child's button nose. Maybe the warmth of a morning's cup of tea or the bird making a nest in the tree just outside your window. I will select 5 winners and email you for your address so I can mail you your gift. Can't wait to read about the beauty in your life.