For the last few weeks, I've struggled with something and argued with myself over whether it really deserved my attention, much less anyone else's. Is it an actually an issue for me, or am I just whining?
And each and every time, I told myself that I was whining and put the thought back on the figurative shelf... upon which it fell off and rolled in front of me again. So I'm thinking that I probably ought to take a good look at it and get to know it a little better.
We've all had friendships that went away. Sometimes there's a big, ugly incident that triggers a blowout and the bridge to that friendship is effectively dynamited right out of existence. And sometimes they just sort of wither slowly until you realize with surprise that you're looking at a friendship that's got about as much life to it as that Christmas Pointsettia that you put in the sunroom and forgot about and now its dried out and cracks into withered pieces when you touch it. Sometimes you just don't know what the hell happened.
I've apparently been "fired" from some long-term friendships over the last few years... one for noticing that the friendship had gotten painfully one-sided and having had the balls to say "wow, this really hurts". And with that, what I thought was a close friendship of more than 25 years was freaking gone. Oh. Way to define my value in THAT relationship. Yikes. Okay, squirt on some emotional bactine and carry on. Only a flesh wound.
A couple others where contact ceased abruptly. Emails no longer answered, phone calls go unanswered, messages unreturned. There's really not a lot to do beyond acceptance, and you know, I think at some point in our lives we all go through this experience. Growth happens. And sometimes parts of the old you don't fit anymore or are worn out. It happens.
But it got me thinking about the value of friendships to ME.
Although I am welcoming of new persons into my life, I appear to have this stumbling block about forming new bonds. I am perfectly content to refer to someone as my friend but reluctant to think that I, myself, might be friend-worthy. I was a painfully shy kid and teenager who wanted to make those around her comfortable and happy. Occasionally, this made me an easy mark for the self-styled Alphas and that sort of reinforced the shyness. I'm pretty certain that's where it started, and a failed and unfortunate first marriage didn't help matters all that much.
But at the same time, it also made me appreciate the few close friendships I formed and as the Divine Ms. M has been known to say, I love these people on bagels.
There are a few people with whom I have been friends with now for more than twenty-odd years and some less than that and some I've never seen in person.
They will tell me if I screw up or if I piss them off. They will give me honest opinions when I ask for them, even if I don't like the answer. They will tell me what I need to hear, not just what I WANT to hear.
These women will answer the phone at midnight and hold my hand through the direst of times. They were there when my daughter's illness emerged and she tried to take her life, my heart exploding into a million crystal pieces of pain. They gathered the pieces for me.
They were there when my son fell from grace and developed addictions to alcohol and marijuana, like others in his family tree. Their hands helped hold me up as I struggled to get him help whether he wanted it or not. Their hands held mine when I was the one to dial the number for the police.
And their hands applauded when we finally made it through and he put himself back on track, clean, sober and determined not to fall again.
Their hands cleaned my house when I lay dangerously ill with pre-eclampsia (they cleaned my house!!! The whole thing.) They phoned me and emailed me when I was hospitalized early to keep my spirits up. They sent me fabulous handmade hilarities to distract me. And when my youngest son was born prematurely, I didn't even need to call. All of them, they were already there.
Some of them are mothers themselves, some are not.
But all of them have mothered my heart and soul through the best and worst of times and for each and every one of them, I would walk barefoot on glass.
And for them, especially, I am also wishing them a Happy Mothers Day because there isn't a Better Friend than I Deserve Day. Cheers, babes. I simply could not have done any of it without you.
Beyond rubies... all of you.