Mom always said, “A good friend is the one you can immediately rekindle with even after a long time apart.”
I had a ‘friend’ who tried to own me. It took me a while to realise the ‘friendship’ was really just a ‘hership’. Today we would call it a toxic relationship. It was difficult but liberating to end.
All grown up, I can reflect on my friendships with pride. The people who chose to befriend me say something about who I am. We all have similarities and they each possess something I aspire to for myself.
A quarter century has held one of my dearest friendships. Long before email, text and tweets, we would keep in touch by letters and cards. We rarely spoke on the phone (she is a terrible phone conversationalist) as our lives were never in sync. Our letters and cards came intermittently but seemingly, always when we needed to hear from one another. When I received a thick envelope in the mail, I would put it aside until I knew I could read it uninterrupted start to finish. Honestly, she was the more committed writer initially and never forgot an important date. But, busy lives and separate cities never interfered when we really needed one another. Ever. We have never been sad, scared, excited or exhilarated without the other present or in full knowledge. We turn to each other for the most honest (never the prettiest) feedback and advice. Now, we are able to stay involved in each other’s everyday lives due to smart phones and the internet. One day, I hope to be as compassionate (although she works hard at hiding this about herself) and generous in spirit, as this dear friend is to the world.
My constant friend. She has been a part of my life since my late teens and has never changed. Our lives have never been in sync. She was married and a Mom to a lovely toddler when we met. We liked one another from the first moment. We became close quickly and easily (much to the disgust of some co-workers) and enjoyed our time together. My teacher and guide throughout my life but most importantly, she is the friend who keeps me grounded. Two quotes come to mind, “You have to tell him. Just tell him.” And, “What if you just stop being angry? What do you think will happen?” These directions from her saved both my marriage and me. She won’t even remember saying these words to me. She is that humble. She never takes credit. She is brilliant and I love her. One day, I hope to be as disciplined, courageous and easy going as this dear friend is in her world.
Interestingly, this third friendship is almost as old as the others. Our lives are the most synced of the three. We live near one another and our children are the same age. Funny enough, our husbands are mistaken for each other a lot. Our friendship is rooted like a carrot. It is deep and full of events and stories spreading over twenty years. Her children are very dear to me as my children are to her. She is the friend I called at dawn when my Mom died. She just appeared, like magic, and cared for my kids. I learned much later, she and her husband both missed a day of work that day. It was Christmas; she shared her family and her Christmas eve when most others wished to avoid us. Generous to a fault this friend of mine. Our families have celebrated many holidays, birthdays and anniversaries together over the years. She shares her entire extended family with me and mine knowing we are without. We are each other’s confident and support. Many a cup of coffee has been shared as we confess our true feelings, dreams and realities, knowing we will not judge one another. One day I hope to be as generous and as wise as this friend is in her world.
Wasn’t I fortunate in my early twenties to meet these three dynamic women. We all value family and laughter. My friends are intelligent, caring women. I live vicariously through them. We have all broken a little and allowed the other to help at our most vulnerable moment.
Most importantly, all of these friendships follow my Mom’s advice. We can all be separated, allowed to live our own lives, prioritize our own families and then rejoice when we reach out and find one another again.
I will be forever grateful for these friendships and will never take them for granted.