noun: the emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends
It’s the last week of February, the month of love. I acknowledge there are many kinds of love, many kinds of relationships, all of them complicated and satisfying in their own ways. But friendship is unique. Friendship can blossom over having one thing in common or friendship can be a garden of one hundred different flowers.
I have a friendship with a group of women that started thirty-five years ago. Junior High! High School had us name our coterie. The connections were stronger with one friend one week, then another friend another week; waxing and waning we were an unabashed and indestructible clique. The best of times and the worst of times bonded us together through many emotions. We graduated. We moved on. Some of us went to college, some got married, some got jobs. We grew up, discovered our priorities, evolved, became the women we imagined ourselves to be.
But somehow we never stopped being those teenage girls who so fondly made each other laugh, inspired one another, and encouraged each other to do more, go further. As adults, some years were so full that it was all we could do to share a Christmas Card. Other years found us calling for advice, meeting for lunch, spending a weekend together. Those are the magic moments that transport me back to the future. Back because talking to them is like no time has passed. We giggle, finish each others sentences and remember “when”. To the future because we can talk about real time, understand each others history and advise one another going forward. It’s a relationship that’s unique and enchanting and fills my heart with gratitude.
The last few years we’ve met at the beach for a “Girls Weekend”. Last year I asked, “So what’s next? What’s the next goal in life?” Their answers were amazing. One friend just finished her education and is starting a career counseling families. Another is thinking about expanding her profession of nearly twenty-five years and possibly having her own business. Another friend just went back to work and is loving working with special education children. Another wants to travel thousands of miles to actually meet and visit with a teenager she has sponsored for a decade.
They are each still inspiring me. One friend is a master at community service. One rides one-hundred mile marathons on her bike. One friend published a book. I have friendships that are each a garden unto themselves full of flowers of beauty, laughter, motivation. I kind of like that about myself…loving my friends. Valuing friendships.
“Where would you be without friends? The people to pick you up when you need lifting? We come from homes far from perfect, so you end up almost parent and sibling to your friends – your own chosen family. There’s nothing like a really loyal, dependable, good friend. Nothing.”