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  • Writer's pictureTina

Full Circle Moments

Have you ever experienced what I call a full-circle moment? A moment when you are present, grateful, and aware that the universe has you exactly where you need to be, and you can see the entire picture of your interactions? I had a full-circle moment on Sunday. On Sunday, my former student-turned-good friend, Amanda, came down to the farm for a visit. As I stood looking at Amanda, Amanda's son, and my daughter, I was well aware of my chosen path's trajectory.

I met Amanda as a twelve—or thirteen-year-old seventh grader. Amanda's quiet, serious, wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve personality and kind heart instantly drew me to her. I saw a lot of myself in this young lady. She surrounded herself with outgoing, gregarious friends but chose to sit quietly and observe her surroundings. She laughed at outrageous antics but rarely participated. She was quiet and internalized her feelings, but one knew just by looking at her there was much more going on than she was willing to share. You knew it was a big step if she chose to confide in you. Amanda was a good kid and I enjoyed having her in my classroom for multiple years.

As with all children, as they grow, connections are lost, new connections are made, and they move on through life. I watched her grow and change throughout the years, but our connection became precisely what it should have; I was (hopefully) a favorite teacher of her past who said hello in the hall if eye contact was made. A lovely young woman with a bright future ahead of her replaced the little girl I knew. Moving ahead almost a decade, Amanda became my neighbor when we bought our massive 22-room Victorian mansion, dubbed The Judge's Mansion, to born and bred Brookvillians. Eric and I worked tirelessly for several years to restore this lovely old home from an apartment building to a single residence. It was not until we adopted The Bean that Amanda came back into my life.

I was taking boxes of baby gear packaging to the curb when I saw Amanda taking her garbage out, and we waved. She saw all the boxes for baby products and came over. She asked if I was expecting, and I told her about our baby. Amanda congratulated me and crossed the street. A few months later, we met Amanda on the street while taking Jordan for her daily outing. I walked all over that town with my baby. Jordan became like Norm on Cheers to the downtown business owners. When people saw us walking, they would come out of their stores to say hello to her. She could always draw people in and charm them. I introduced Amanda to Jordan, and we went on our way. Soon, it was the norm to have Amanda, her then-boyfriend, and my former student RJ on our porch steps, asking to visit with Jordan or inquiring if I needed anything.

Dinner with "the kids," evenings spent on the porch, holidays, and meal exchanges became part of the fabric of our lives. Amanda and RJ became our favorite neighbors and dear friends. Amanda was one of the few people I trusted to babysit Jordan on the rare occasion I had to leave her. When I had my hysterectomy, Amanda took a few days off work to help me. When we moved to our farm near Punxsutawney, Amanda helped me pack and move. Once we were no longer neighbors, visits with the kids dwindled. Their lives changed, they moved on, and we moved into "family mode." When "Pandi," as Jordan came to call her, got married, we helped with the wedding, and Jordan was her flower girl. Then Amanda and Craig, also my former student, moved into married life, and we lost touch except on rare occasions when one of us made time to make an effort. Our friendship turned into random and rare messages sent and Facebook likes.

We recently reconnected with "the kids," who are now in their mid-thirties. Amanda now has an eight-year-old son, who is Craig in miniature. Pandi opened a health-based storefront in Brookville, serving coffee with a healthy twist, loaded teas, and nutritious treats. My Wellness is her cafe, and it is delightful. I am always thrilled to promote my former students and their endeavors. Amanda will join us at Springtime at the Farm on Saturday, May 4th, from 9 to 1. Come out and try her loaded teas, protein parfaits, homemade bagels, and other health-based creations. Amanda's loaded teas are Jordan-approved. That is a huge compliment from a fifteen-year-old who would exist on Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Swiss Rolls, and Monster drinks.

Amanda has also decided to carry our products in her storefront. She is now the sole provider of all things The Smiling Goat Soap Company in Brookville. I am thrilled to partner with her and flattered that she wants to carry and promote our products. Amanda and Easton, her son, came to see us on Sunday. They spent the day with us, cuddling goats, hiking the woods, and choosing just the right soaps for her store. It was one of the nicest days I have had in a long time.

As we walked to the spring located in the back forty, I took in the moment. The Bibbed Wonder and Easton lagged behind, talking like two little old men. My husband impresses me with his ability to connect with kids of all ages (probably because they are mentally the same age...insert a wink). They discussed everything from the annoyances of living with girls to their favorite woods and trees. Pandi chatted it up with my girl, and they discussed her participation in her high school musical and all things girl-related. It did not escape me that Pandi was near Jordan's age when she came into my life. I have had the pleasure of watching her grow into a capable, strong, independent businesswoman and loving, nurturing, adoring mother. She has watched my girl grow into a wonderful young woman, and now, I get to watch Easton grow. It all came full circle for me at that moment.

There are moments when the wonders and workings of the universe become crystal clear. Sunday was one of those moments for me. I believe the universe places people on our paths for a reason. Whether they teach us a lesson or we serve a purpose, everyone is in our lives at the exact perfect moment. Our paths cross, then dissect, and sometimes cross again. I am not sure why our paths have crossed again, but I feel so blessed that they have. Although Amanda and I have a fifteen-year age difference, it shows that true friendship knows no boundaries. My close friend circle ranges in age from 23-70+, and every number in-between. For my dear friend Jenna, I am old enough to be her mom. I say our friendship is proof of my innate immaturity. For Amanda, I like to think I am old enough to be a really cool aunt. Like the kind of aunt, you drink wine with and talk about everything. With my friend Jane, she is the type of mother figure I always wanted. My friend Trish is the sister of another mother. My friend Christina is like the little sister I always wanted. Monica and Marie are my kindred spirits. My friend Sherry is my version of a really cool aunt. All of these remarkable women make up the family connection I crave. They are kind, supportive, honest, and accepting; they love me for me, give me advice, teach me lessons, and act as a respectful voice of reason. There is no dysfunction in my chosen family. I love that about them.

On this lovely, seasonable spring day, stay safe, be smart, stay open to those full-circle moments, enjoy those who bring so much to your world, appreciate your chosen family, and keep washing your hands.

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