It’s a five-star friend who travels from Minnesota to Utah for your daughter’s baptism, but true friendship is revealed when someone stays in my house four days and I don’t feel the need to apologize for the dusty shelves, messy pantry or my children’s latest spat– because Tracy doesn’t judge or raise eyebrows– she simply loves us.
A few of Tracy’s 3,000,000 readers may skip over here for insight into the woman behind sellabitmum.com, because she is (as Erik likes to say) kind of a big deal. And the truth is she’s fabulous, kind, funny and so incredibly, showstopping pretty that you’ll never believe one of her posts about aging or wrinkles again. Tracy claims she’s not photogenic and while I hate to agree with any sort of self-deprecation, it’s true that no photo I’ve seen captures her true loveliness.
With the baptism and Sunday and the prerequisite tour of Temple Square, Tracy was pulled fully into our Mormon world, which she treated with grace and respect. She wrote the kindest expose on our religion and people; if you’re Mormon you’ll love the comments (we’re not as hated as we thought!). Trust me, this one is really worth the read.
Spiritually, I believe everyone who lives a conscious driven life is pretty similar– we just have different practices. One of the funkiest thing about Mormons, I told Tracy, is that we just nod our heads and say OK to lots of rules–“I can’t call my missionary son on his birthday? OK.” “I shouldn’t have double ear piercings? OK.” “You want me to spend 200 hundred hours planning girls’ camp this summer? OK.”
Our lack of caffeination seems strangest to Tracy, but I was happy to follow her into Starbucks where she bought a double venti for herself and salted caramel hot chocolates (highly recommended) for me and Mary. Minutes later we sipped our drinks as we walked into Jolley’s Corner Pharmacy, a friend in the store saw us, became wide-eyed and said, “Happy baptism day, Mary. Starting it out with a little coffee?”
It was my turn to be embarrassed when we had a run-in with someone who wanted Tracy to know Mormons are better than everyone else. Tracy graciously brushed it off, but I’m still sad and chagrined. I respect the beliefs of all my friends; my belief in Christ is strengthened by reading Tricia and Jan’s blogs, my Catholic Uncle Mark lives the most principled life of anyone I know, my Born Again cousins inspire me with their fervor and my brother Dan (who isn’t really religious) is one of my wisest spiritual advisers. As Erik likes to say, “Religion is a holding pattern until Christ comes again.” (and do I think Mormonism offers a fabulous holding pattern? Oh yes. I’d love to tell you all about it or send two cute missionaries to your door.)
Erik also loves to quote Joseph Smith, “Friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism.’ … It unites the human family with its happy influence.” And friendship is empty without respect for each other’s beliefs.
The baptism was the perfect time for a visit because Tracy was able to meet my family and many of my friends. I always like my friends to meet each other because, well, I know they’ll become friends too. And that’s precisely what happened– now Tracy has a whole slew of Utah buddies and next time she comes we’ll need an arm wrestling contest to see whose house she’ll stay at (but I’ll have Stefan represent us, so sorry, the rest of you don’t have much of a chance). Tracy even made it into Ben’s birthday video, but she’s out of focus because some people (me) don’t know how to use their camera.
Really, with two photographers, you’d think we’d have taken a lot more photos over the weekend. I did show her some of my favorite shooting spots and spent some time trading Photoshop tricks, but most of the time we were too busy talking to pull out the camera.
And of course we shopped– when a style diva like Tracy says, “You need these shoes.” I just shrug and pull out my wallet.
My sister told me of a conversation with a Dutch friend where she said, “North Americans just don’t value friendship. They don’t make time for people the way we do in Europe.” Sadly, she may be right. But I am so grateful for Tracy (and many others) who share their time and friendship with me.