Do you know I think of you nearly every day? When I throw chopped garlic and onions into a sizzling pan, that glorious sound and smell makes me think of meals we have made and shared together.

Every morning when I curl my eyelashes, do you know that I remember the day you appeared at my door with an eyelash curler after reading about my eyelashes that were growing in straight as an arrow after chemo?

When I open the boys’ closet doors and I see on the top shelf the blanket and sweater you knitted, the multi-color baby quilt you sewed, the blanket you hand-tied… I remember the sweetness of your gift and of bringing our babies home from South Korea.

When I drive by the lake in town, I think of you telling the story about skating across it as a child. And I remember all those days as preschool moms bringing one another support through short or long conversations standing outside the school.

When I see the Cubbies celebrating their World Series win, I remember meeting you at Wrigley and taking a seat among your 40 gray-haired friends that day when one of them couldn’t make the five-hour drive from Iowa to the ballpark.  Surely, you saw the last game of this season from your seat in heaven.

When I see the little sailboats on our little lake, I feel the breeze and hear the laughter from our sailing trips on lakes and oceans.

When it happens that we are together for an hour, a day, or a week… later – for hours, days, and weeks – I’m homesick for those times of unbroken comradery and conversation and just being together.

When I remember eating your chicken noodle soup, tuna and noodles with big thick egg noodles, freshly homemade rolls and kolaches, Christmas cookies, apple crisp from your 7th grade home-ec class, coffee cake with vegetable oil topping, I smile. Those memories are sparked when I see the recipe card in your hand-writing or make your recipe in my kitchen.

When I hear what is happening in your life and realize that the same is happening in mine, I’m more confident. My sanity is re-invigorated. My outlook more chipper. None of us are in this gig alone, and there is power and strength in knowing that.

When I have a PJ morning with no make-up and crazy hair, I think about the trips taken with you and your family and remember that we all woke up and stuck with “that look” for a couple hours – and we were all OK with it.

When we get to go for long walks and have long talks or just run into each other for short chats between appointments, I look forward to hearing your voice and knowing what’s happening in your life.

When I have a quiet cup of coffee alone in the morning, I wish you and I lived on the same cul-de-sac and could have coffee and conversation together more often.

…This week, I watched a video of Maya Angelou talking about “Being a rainbow in somebody’s cloud,” and how she had so many rainbows in her own life. Whenever she was nervous about appearing in front of a crowd or embarking on a new adventure, she called all her rainbows to her side with words to the effect of: “Come on, let’s go. We’re doing this together!” Whether the rainbows were from people who were dead or alive, she bolstered her own self-confidence with them.

Draw those rainbows into your circle and toss out the dark clouds. Collect rainbows. Give rainbows. Be with rainbow people. You’re in my rainbow tribe, and I’m thankful for you every day.

Happy hump day.