Not all friendships are equal.
I count myself lucky that I have a forever friend.
She is someone I have known for almost 30 years (yup, we’re getting old!).
She has seen me at my best – she stood with me on the day I got married and visited me on the days my living babies were born.
She has seen me at my worst – through tough stuff as a teen, complicated family stuff, and she has been a major source of support since Melissa died.
She lets me ramble on for an entire visit, she checks in without checking in and, despite what she thinks, she always knows just what to say.
To top it off she is the greatest Aunt to my kids and they absolutely adore her! Not just anyone will come babysit at 6:30 on a Saturday morning or invite your kid over for lunch and a swim!
In honour of her birthday I decided to take a look back at how we became friends and some of the memories that stand out to me.
I was the new kid. No friends at my new school. I sat at a table of boys because it was the last spot available. As I worked to fit in, I found my place in showing off my smarts to the teacher and quickly becoming a teacher’s pet. I was good at math, so pocket math was my favourite – I could show off. Until another girl started showing off too. She would purposely wear pants with lots of pockets and she was good at math too. I wasn’t sure if we should be friends or enemies. I don’t remember which I chose. I do remember going to her birthday party, so maybe I chose friends, or she was nice enough to invite the whole class.
At some point we became friends. Grade 1 was a long time ago, so most of it is a blur. I don’t remember much detail, but I do remember becoming friends and being sad when I found out my friend was moving and switching schools. But kids in second grade are resilient and I moved on.
I was still a teacher’s pet and still loved to show off my smarts. Apparently so did she. We met again at a Writer’s Craft Workshop that our schools sent us to – see, teacher’s pet. I noticed her across the room, but it had been so long I wasn’t sure it was her. I was too embarrassed to ask. Of course we ended up being paired together for something. She recognized me and I recognized her, but we were both too shy to say anything.
She was back at my school and we were in the same class.
There was no denying we knew each other this time.
We became friends again and I met some of the friends she made over the previous years and she mine.
I have 2 memories that stand out from the rest of middle school:
1. When she fell off the stage and I tried to reassure her she was fine and to suck it up, but she actually did break her wrist – I felt guilty about that one. I still remember feeling like she was being dramatic, oops.
2. When I got the tiniest puppy in the world and she was so scared of it she wouldn’t come into the kitchen to see it – she’s come around, she hangs out at my house now with a much bigger dog. Although the little one did eventually attack her…
SO many memories! We walked to and from school most days and that’s probably the bulk of the time we spent together, so I’ll focus on that first. I know she knows where I’m going with this… Let’s just say her walking pace could rival a tortoise and we all gave her a hard time about that. Every. Day.
I went through a lot in high school, I was probably not the greatest influence, if those around me were to be influenced. I never felt judged by her for the choices I made and I believe the stability of our relationship helped guide me to a better road than the one I was on.
The rest of our lives
Wow, SO much has happened since high school! First cars, post-secondary, first “real” jobs, first homes, lots of laughs, lots of serious stuff, and a whole lot of fun.
I could be here forever reminiscing so I’ll share the most important ones to me:
1. We shared a room in Mexico for a week and didn’t want to kill each other at the end of the week. We still belly laugh about some of the hilarity that ensued on that vacation.
2. She helped me get where I am in my career. She got me a foot in the door at the company she worked at. 8 years later I’m still here. She’s not and I miss the lunches (she got as excited as me for perogy day!) and desk swing-bys, email just isn’t the same.
3. Last year she came along on a beach day adventure with me and the kids. It was no trip to Mexico, but it was an awesome day. We played in the water with the kids and built sand castles and when The Boss wanted to go back in the water she happily obliged. The Boss occasionally asks when we’re going back to the beach, so I know she had a great time too!
4. On my first day back at work after maternity leave she sent me the best email with things to make me laugh and to encourage me to make it through that first day.
5. Without her encouragement I wouldn’t have had the confidence to start this blog.
Some memories are big, important, life-changing ones, while some are little, everyday things. To me, it’s those little ones that are the most valuable – the ones that, in the moment, don’t seem anything out of the ordinary. Those are the ones that build and maintain amazing friendships.
Here’s to the ordinary moments we’ve shared and the ones we will share in the future!
Happy Birthday, Friend!
PS: As a birthday gift to my friend, you should check out her blog!