I attended the memorial service today for Mimi, the mother of my best friend Anne from junior high. Anne and I were inseparable during that time in our lives, and we also happily and willingly threw ourselves into some sketchy situations for the sake of having new experience. I always thought it was Anne's influence on me. It was with her that I went on my first date, smoked my first cigarette, got my first alcohol-induced buzz, shoplifted, took her mom's car for a joy ride, got into fist fights with other kids at school. We couldn't get our fill of doing "wrong." We quickly went from being angels to devils in the eyes of the nuns who taught us, and we became better friends for it.
During the memorial this evening, I listened to Mimi's younger brothers and friends describe her personality and influence on their lives. Clearly she was loved by many. But what was surprising is that these friends and family members often listed some of the same "firsts" they had with Mimi as I had with Anne. It was then that I realized that it was Mimi who influenced us, not just Anne influencing me. It was Mimi who showed us how to be bold, daring, adventurous, gutsy and have an insatiable lust for life.
With the amount of time I spent at Mimi's house with Anne, a time when we were both learning what it meant to be women, I learned as much from Mimi as I did from my own mother about what it was like to be a single woman making it on her own, and doing with grace, elegance, class and impeccable style. I didn't realize it until today that it is partly thanks to Mimi that I willingly take risks in life, accept adventure, live daringly and laugh in the face of fear. And so, I am grateful to have known her and to have received the gift of her influence on my life.