I was thinking yesterday about how many different friendships we all have in our lives and as women, how vital they are. Talking about friendship is nothing new, but reflecting on the good and the bad, and the ugly, sometimes helps put things into perspective.
I have a wide varied list of friends who are each unique and special, and all of them, every single one, has taught me something over the years. I can only hope that I have touched their lives and perhaps taught them something too, although I’m unaware if I did! (Does that make me a taker more than a giver??)
I have friends who have known me since high school, know the trials and tribulations I have gone through during high school and a select few have been by my side since that time. We may not have been in constant contact (my jerkhead of an ex husband caused quite a few friends to pull away and I don’t blame them for that. Keyword here is Jerkhead. Yep.) But I was thankful to be able to rekindle those relationships after our divorce. I was glad they took me back, and they were glad I got out.
I have friends I met after high school who taught me some serious life lessons. I had a friend who I thought would be there no matter what. During my divorce, she was gracious in opening her home to me and my oldest. Letting me get back on my feet. Saving money to be able to afford a down payment on an apartment. Only to turn around and steal from me once I got that apartment. She stole personal, sentimental things that she knew would crush me. The strand of pearls I got on my 16th birthday. Gone. Who does that? Not a friend, I can tell you that.
I have friends who I met at work and I am unbelievably grateful for them in my life. I have known them for over 20 years. We have been through and shared a lot. My divorce and each and every subsequent court order when my jerkhead ex decided to yank me back to court as often as humanly possible. (Side note, when your lawyer and you exchange Christmas cards, birthday cards, and school pictures of your children, you know you spend a lot of time with her. sigh….) We have been there for each other through their divorces, and remarriages, and children being born, and children growing up, and making their own mistakes. They’ve been through Michael’s alcoholism as a supporting shoulder when I need it. One of my dearest friends on the planet hasn’t lived here in Ohio for years. Her husbands job required them to move frequently. It doesn’t matter. Except for being able to get together and actually SEE each other, there is no distance between us. She knows everything about me, I know everything about her. Support and only love. It’s a beautiful thing.
I have friends that I have met in the past 15 years or so that we have only grown closer as the years go on. I love that fact that I have been privileged to meet these incredible women later in my life and they have had such a profound impact on me. They have taught me things that blow my mind. And they support me. And love me. And WOW what kind of feeling is that to make friends that you didn’t grow up with, didn’t go to high school with, not sorority sisters, not work buddies, but people who one way or another cross your path and you look at them like “where have you BEEN all my life???” Yep. Those people. And I know you’re reading this and you damn well know I’m talking about you! 🙂
I have an entire group of true friends who I have met only once or twice in person, some not at all! Well, they can’t be your true friends then, can they? Oh no. You are wrong. I have known these people from all over the country for years and years. Over a decade. We have shared, and cried, and cheered, and supported all through the wonders of the internet and phones. When Mom was ill, I had care packages send for her. When Dad had cancer, I received a handmade prayer shawl sent to me. They know who they are and I can’t imagine my life without them. We are the IR’s. (Only we know what that means!)
But I also have had friends, like the one who stole from me, who have taught me hard lessons. Lessons on loss, betrayal, infinite hurt, and unimaginable pain. And going through that feels like you can never trust another person again. But those true friends around you rally! They pick you up. They prove to you again that you are worthy and they will be there for you. And I have soooooo many more of those friends than ones that caused me heartache. And that’s what friends do for each other. They pick you up, dust you off, and help carry you along the way.
So as we start November and think about what we are truly grateful for, I am so very completely thankful for each one of you. You have made my life better, sweeter, more tolerable when I thought it couldn’t be. And to all the friends I haven’t met yet, I can’t wait to see what else can be brought into my life. Because everyone has something special to offer and I just hope I have something to give to you too!