Not many long term friendships begin in a VERY small work space with high stress, rushed deadlines and a daily high paced hustle. These are the circumstances that cemented my relationship with my dear friend turned sister, Carin Snodgrass Miller. This year I turned 50 years young and I’m paying tribute to 50 women who have made a big impact on my life.
Carin and I met at a little mortgage company about 30 years ago. I think they made us an office out of a storage closet because the space was literally about six by six in space with two desks crammed in there and a little space for our printer. The mortgage industry was going strong which meant huge pressure to perform, long…LOOOONNNGGG hours and more work that needed to be done than was humanly possible. We showed up at 6 am and were lucky if we left by 8 pm… and somehow we just loved it. Carin loved Broadway music and introduced me to this new genre. I was a bit new to the Broadway scene so it took a minute to learn all the words and necessary gestures while singing…. we would close our “closet” door, turn up the tunes and Carin would explain the scenes playing out for the musical playing on our little CD disk player until I understood the feelings behind the words. We soon became Broadway buddies and when we had the unusual night off of work, we would attend a show. I was soon singing along and knew the plots of all the great works on Broadway, including my favorite musical, Wicked (which, incidentally, is the inspiration behind this tribute to the women who have made a difference in my life). Carin became a part of my family and she was instrumental in making my dream come true to take my mom to see Wicked for the first time….. then she also was part of the magic when we both made my mom’s dream come true by taking my entire family to see Wicked. She taught me how to dream and create magic for myself.
Carin had one of the sweetest, most kind hearts I knew and along with that, she was tough. She didn’t take shit from anyone. I adored her courage to stand up for herself, for me and for our team. So much of developing my confidence came from watching her courage to use her voice. I’m pretty sure Carin also introduced me to my love of self growth. She would bring in recordings from Wayne Dyer and other guru’s on a journey to create a better self. We would set goals together and talk about action strategies to create better habits in our life. When our little company grew into a much bigger company, we moved into a big office and I actually missed being in the small space with Carin… but her cubby was right behind me so we still connected daily as I could still hear the music and would quietly sing along.
Carin had such a beautiful love for animals. I called her the crazy cat lady because she always had at least three felines and was always picking up strays along the way. One even visited at work one time and escaped her kennel and hid out in the break room. I think it took a can of tuna to finally coax her out of her hiding place and we laughed at this for years. Carin also had a house full of the cutest little bunnies at one point of her life and now she has been converted to being a fabulously loving dog mom. I always love watching her adore her little fur babies.
Carin has a love of the beach. I can feel her connection to its majesty when she talks about it or sits beside it. When she would talk about it, it was the first time I ever considered where my soul felt most at home. Through watching her pilgrimages to the ocean, I found that same love in the mountains. There is something magical about knowing your soul is home and soaking up the peace you find in this space, knowing you can access these soul memories just by closing your eyes. She has been such an inspiration in my soul’s growth.
I think what I loved the most about our relationship was how different we were but how much respect we had for each other’s beliefs. There was one year that we sat together with one of our other friends in the month of December. We each celebrated different holidays in that month and as we sat together putting gifts together for our respective holidays, we shared our heart traditions behind Solstice, Hanukkah and Christmas with each other. Each of us listened with respect and love for each other’s beliefs. There was never judgment of the others beliefs and traditions…. Just a beautiful reverence for their unique way of celebrating their life. This was the first time in my life I had come together in such a diverse circle and it lit a fire of sisterhood in my heart, that remains a flame today.
Carin is also a fabulous cook and she loved to cater parties. She did all the food for my first wedding celebration and let me tell you, the food turned out better than the marriage. As the years went on and I had little kiddos, I knew I was going to need a night out so that I could be the best mom possible for my munchkins. I would need a night to be myself without “mom duties” so Carin agreed to be my Tuesday night out buddy. I looked forward to Tuesday night, knowing that I would feel refreshed and rejuvenated after an evening with Carin. We would take classes, go on hikes, explore different parts of the city, attend new cultural events, enjoy delicious new restaurants, go to movies or whatever exciting things we could think up for an evening out. Sometimes we would just drive and talk. Carin was safe. She was my friend who knew the struggles I was going through at all times and walked with me through them all. She didn’t try to fix anything, she just said, “I’m here for whatever you need.” The truest quality in sisterhood and friendship. She became such a part of my life that she joined me for Christmas with my family in Montana one year.
Even though we don’t see each other much except on Facebook I know that we still have a sisterhood with an unspoken promise of “I”m here for you, if ever you need me.”
When I sit back and think about Carin, the greatest gifts she game me was the courage to dream and have the faith and hope to create the life I wanted….. this magic all started with sharing a little office with this beautiful woman!!! I feel so fortunate to have walked such a beautiful path of life, picking gorgeous flowers along the road and keeping them close to my heart. These flowers, called friends and sisters, make up a gorgeous arrangement of the things that have shaped me. Dear Carin, because I knew you, I have been changed for good…. For about 30 years since the first day we sat in that tiny office together, you have had an incredible impact on me, I love you so much and I’m so grateful for you in my life.