Our world is so very large and yet we seem to travel in circles
For example, today I had an absolutely delightful and rare lunch date at a small cafe at Friendship Maryland’s Herrington Harbor South Marina Resort on the Chesapeake Bay. My daughter and I joined a mutual friend who we have had only limited contact with over the past couple of years because of rapidly changing responsibilities and special interests that have taken us all in multiple directions and different circles.
When our circles first came together
I was an impressionable eight year old and Claudia was about five years my senior. She lived with her family in Parkland, District Heights, MD. My parents’ best friends from their teen years were Claudia’s family’s neighbors. But, in my 8-year-old eyes she and her family seemed to have the most beautiful, spacious, and perfectly decorated home, the June and Ward Cleaver-like parents, and I admired her personal beauty and gifts in creative arts. (Claudia taught me how to color–and not just to stay within the lines, but how to take an ordinary image on a coloring book page and make it my own work of art by using just the right mix of colors, outlining some parts, coloring softly on others, and boldly elsewhere.) I believe Claudia’s seamstress mother passed down to her a lot of her talents and skills–plus guided her seemingly innate social skills that made this shy 8-year-old feel comfortable and welcomed–a trait of hers that still stands out today in whatever circles she’s in.
Fast forward nearly 30 years. Claudia and I next circled back to each other when we both went to work for the same Federal agency. And, we both remained there throughout the remainders of our lengthy careers. Its campus was large and so was the facility in which we worked. So we saw each other only occasionally, to say hi as we passed or to wave to each other from across or down the long corridors.
It was about 15 years into my career there when my daughter, Jen, changed jobs and started her career at this same Federal agency. Once again, Claudia and my paths crossed again. As it turns out, Claudia was assigned as Jen’s first supervisor. I can’t say enough good things about Claudia as a person, a professional colleague, and a mentor to my daughter. Jennifer, now about 17 years at this agency, has come a very long way in her career. But, the basis of her success began with Claudia’s teaching her the ropes in how to navigate the inner circles to succeed within this big and always complex workplace. The rest can be accredited to Jen’s willingness to learn, to think on her feet, to take pride in every task assigned, to always ask the right questions to best understand the “big picture,” and to offer appropriate suggestions at just the right times.
After our initial circle of hugs and hello’s, there we sat today, across the table from each other, picking up our relationships just where we left off on them a few years ago, reflecting on days past, and catching up on family and life events–it was as if we never missed a beat since our last time out together. Let’s see–that would be when we shared a limousine to go to dinner and a concert in downtown Washington, DC. And if one of us, within our fond memories, was at a loss for a name or place, we circled our memory banks to fill in the blanks, and sometimes even finish each other’s sentences!
Nearly two hours later, we bid our fond farewells, but not before scheduling an August luncheon, which we hope will be the one of many monthly get togethers to come. And, so we can narrow the distance in which we circle back our memories at future meet ups where we hope our conversations will move forward instead of in circles to help solve some of the many problems in our world!