Today gave me the opportunity to ponder friendships I have had over the years -- people who have come into my life, made an impression, and I am grateful for it. Some of them remain in my life, while others have drifted out.
My very first friend was Em. I grew up going to church with her, and we were playmates/friends long before either of us understood the concept. We really were BFF's. We did drift apart somewhat in our teen years ... she became closer to someone whom my parents but a big ol' kaput on me getting close to (and I can't entirely blame them). We resumed our friendship, but I went to college. She got married and started a family. We see each other out and about. Occasionally, she pops up at my parents' church and I keep up with her through reports from the folks.
There was also Tee, and she, Em & I were the three stooges for years on end. We had our moments but it didn't last long. We too drifted apart in our twenties. She married, had a family; I was Career Girl (okay, such as my career has been). And because of that bastard known as breast cancer, I will not see her again until the afterlife.
In high school, besides Em & Tee, I had a lot of friends from classes and so forth. A lot of them are still friends with each other. For me, they have drifted in and out and now are people I see at the store and so forth. I didn't bond with them all that well. I suppose I should feel some pang of something for that. Oddly enough, I don't.
Then there is Anastasia, who has become my best friend. This fall, we will have known each other for 20 years, and that seems so freakishly unbelievable. I still think of us sometimes as those 18-year-old freshmen....... Naturally, her hubby "CP" is also one of my dearest friends too. And the kidlets, my godchildren. While Em and Tee will always be my sisters-at-heart, Stasia is just as much one -- and in a strange way, perhaps more so because she has watched me truly grow from somewhat naive, shy young adult to a more confident woman.
There is also "Queen Serene" -- my former coworker. She too is a sister to me, someone who has embraced me as family and loves me for me. In the 15 years I've known her, we have vacationed together, shared a million laughs and almost as many tears, and have grown closer for it. While I don't see her nearly as much as I would like, I also know that if I ever needed her for anything, she would not hesitate to be there.
There's also Nikki, who has come into my life in the last few years. She is one of the most kind-hearted, generous-souled people I have ever known. Life has thrown her quite a few curveballs in the last few years and months, and she handles them with truly amazing grace. When I find myself leaning toward cynicism about many things, I can spend time with Nikki and walk away feeling better about life all from her upbeat attitude. She is truly one of the best.
Talmadge and Seraphim Gleck, whose blogs you see to the right of here, have been utterly precious to me. They came into my life during one of my lowest moments ever ... a time when I would have preferred the world stop spinning and just sling me off into deepest space. My entire world had been shattered and trying to rebuild looked bleak. I was truly living on autopilot, and not caring what the future held. In they came -- starting with an e-mail in mid-May 1998: "Found your website -- liked what we saw." The rest is history. It started with a meeting at the Varsity in Atlanta. That was such a great time, and we went on to Underground .... where within an hour, I was face-first over a trash can, sick as a dog, fighting off that last gasp of a god-awful sinus infection. They did not turn and run screaming, so I knew that I had found friends for life. I was honored to sing in their wedding, and love every adventure and misadventure I have had with them.
They also brought a new friend roaring into my life: the wonderful Bolivar Shagnasty. Bolivar -- best friend to Talmadge for years -- was the best man at their wedding. Over the years, I kept up with him from afar through reports from Talmadge, and his friendship is precious to me. I enjoy reading about his adventures (and the occasional misadventure).
I am also blessed with the friendship of Miguel and Kate -- it started with e-mails from Miguel over 10 years ago, and then the news: "I've met a wonderful girl!" Over the years, I have enjoyed their friendship immensely! They are fantastic people, whom I finally got the pleasure of meeting in person a couple of years back. One of these days, I am going to have to take off and go visit them ... they're ONLY two states away (granted, rather spacious states, but.....)
My lovely thought is that someday, all of us -- the whole warped group: Stasia, CP, Nikki, Tal & Sera, Bolivar, Miguel & Kate -- will all be sitting on the front porch of some nursing home, raising hell, drinking whatever we feel, not giving one hoot what we say or how people interpret it. And the staff will be thinking, "My God, what do we DO with these people???"
I raise my glass to you all --- Long may you all reign!