Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

What is so amazing about this frail human journey is that we’ve been given so many types of love to contemplate and cherish: the romantic love of our spouse, the all consuming love of our children, the faithful love of cherished pets, the familiar and forgiving love of our family, the passionate love of our God, but there is a necessary and perilous love that completes it all, I think, especially for women, and that is the love of our friends. 
the spontaneous chick

Intimacy is what flavors all relationships, and when we have intimacy we keep confidence with one another, we want to know, we want to see what is hurting and we want to know the details of life that makes it celebratory or irritating.  Sharing our hopes and our fears, our dreams and sometimes the darkness that accompanies them.
Bridesmaids (2011) Universal

If we're lucky, we have all kinds and types of friends, from all different parts of life and the world.  Some are the ones that cheer you as soon as you see them, others invoke a hidden moment because they are like a fortune cookie that won't break, still others linger on your mind like a fine wine that inspires you to live just a bit differently, another that just plain irritates you but there's something about her that rubs you the right way enough that you stay the course because of that spark you don't have that she does.  Still others, a select few, you know in your marrow were born in your heart and when you find them, you know that you could be yourself with them in a way you could with no one else.
©Desperate Housewives ABC
 "Would you bury a body for me?" you ask.  "Wellllll, okay.  But you'd have to pay for my lifelong therapy because of it." 

Sometimes friendships end.  Their course is run, or so I’ve been told.  But this has never sit well with me.  Unless a friend has somehow hurt you deeply, why would it “run its course?”  Friendships, lasting ones, take effort and energy that are in short supply around women who are working and mothering and being a visible and active presence in many spheres.  But it’s important to try—even if the effort seems like an air bubble before it pops the surface of a pot of still rumbling water.  So maybe it’s time to ask that
friend to be your valentine this year.  Remind 
her how important she is to your worldview and how it would abruptly and sadly alter without her in it. 

Dear Friend,

I miss you.  I haven’t been good about keeping in touch.  I know you are there.  I do.  I know you want the best for me, I do.  I hope you know that I want that for you too.  Even if we don’t talk daily, especially if we don’t talk daily.  I rarely talk to anyone daily, and probably would go for days without talking if the kids and John didn’t have that annoying need for a response.  But you must know that I think of you, and have conversations in my head with you often.  When I go shopping, or see an interesting article, am on a mission for a specific
cereal that will stop an Armageddon-like meltdown, or that funny scarf that I haven’t worn for a long time.  I see you in my mind’s eye and hold you close to my heart so maybe through time and space you will feel warm and happy briefly and know that I am thinking of you. 

I remember so many moments that I knew you would hold a place in my heart for a long time:

+When you talked to me first in the lunchroom, even when it wasn’t cool for you to do it.
“Good friends are like stars. . .
You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.
--taken from

+When we laughed with relief at the same guy, at the same moment, when we ate at the dining hall.

+When you said you liked anchovies too.

+When we realized in a brief moment of discussion that we loved the same, hated the same, liked the same and were living parallel lives in tandem and sighed with relief to find "our people" at long last.

+When you came to my mother’s funeral and called me every day afterwards to make sure I was still breathing.

+When you wouldn’t take “no” to coffee for an answer.

+When you picked up my son, fed him, entertained him and brought him back home to me when I was sick and couldn’t fend for myself.

+When you fed me.

+When you invited me to your house and didn’t clean up one thing because you knew I couldn’t care less.  And then, told me not to even “wipe up that syrup” on the counter, allowing it to congeal in messy happiness as we talked and talked and talked when you returned that favor.

+When you told me, with tears, as you held out a sweater I’d admired and couldn’t afford, that “you just wanted me to be happy.”

+When you gently pushed my headscarf back in place upon first greeting as I was trying to scramble after my son.  That touch, from a stranger’s hand, translated to a lifeline of softness that I didn’t know I needed.

+When you lent me your nursing bras.  
(Sharing undergarments brings a whole new level of close.)

+When you got me the coffee and did.not.ask.a.thing.

+When you forgave me my silence and invited me back in anyway.

+When you forgave me period

+When you became my spine after I lost my baby and allowed me to stand up straight and tall, even as the whole world outside crumbled into ruins. 

+When you reminded me that I couldn’t be selfish and showed me exactly why I was.

+When you call me, despite the distance  just to tell me you love me, and that for you, I’m home.
© Thelma and Louise 1991

+When we both tooted at the same time in that class!

+When we decided to get ice cream shakes that would negate any calories burned into the negative, and a minute became a fun and lengthy three hours instead.

+When you said you were sorry, and when I looked behind you for the unsolicited advice that was sure to come, you said, “I’ve got nothing else to say, but” and grabbed my hand firmly and looked at me, “I’m really sorry.”

+When we laughed at that rest stop mechanic who said I needed new tires, as if my dad would let me drive all that way to Vermont with bad ones?!

                        When you stood up for me.  
                                          And told the truth. +

Friendships like these are not at all common; they’re fantastical.  They are the epitome of grace.   Because of you, I don’t feel alone as a parent.  I feel stronger
as a mother.  I feel understood as a wife.  Because of you, I don’t feel alone.  I don’t have to try.  I can feel secure, and that feeling just knowing that you’re out there ready, whenever I may need you, allows me the courage to keep moving past it, whatever the "it" may be.

I look forward to growing old with you.  To compare cataracts and support hose, and complain about that crazy music those young folk are listening to.  I can’t wait to attend the weddings of your children, to hold your wrinkled hand in mine as we finally take that trip together to go sun gazing and wine drinking and talking about fast times.

So…will you be my valentine?  I’m so glad you’re in my life, and I just want you to remember, you are so loved.   

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