|We met in 1996. Here we are 7-29-11.|
I think it’s amazing to have relationships in your life that have had such a positive impact and deep meaning that, no matter what, you know without doubt, you will know this person forever.
I have friends in my life that hold this very special place. Friends I’ve know long enough to endure miles separating us, months between talks, and years between visits. These friendships have included years of laughter, love and tears. We’ve both survived and celebrated various life changing events.
So this past weekend I was able to break free of family commitments and responsibilies to go and visit my dear friend, Shelby, in Camano Island, WA. It’s been two and a half years since Shelby and I have laid eyes on each other. We’ve talked just enough to keep up on what’s going on in each others’ worlds. So, you’d think that maybe we’d lost a bit of that familiar closeness that we once shared.
No. We had not. The minute I pulled in to her driveway and saw her running towards me with her beautiful, signature long, red hair, my heart melted and we hugged like the sisters we’d always felt we were. No awkwardness. No “getting reacquainted” moments -- just reciprocated love that that two dear friends have always shared.
The first night I met Shelby, I didn’t know what I’d think of this tiny, gorgeous red head, until we got to dinner and she ordered ribs. Not a salad – ribs. Sticky ribs that she got all over her hands. I fell in love with this girl. We immediately became the best of friends. We complemented each other. She was the calm, voice of reason. I was the outspoken, wild one. Go figure, huh?
Shelby and I have always had an open and honest relationship. We’ve been the ones to tell each other, “Those white pants make your ass look huge. Take them off now.” We’ve shared every random thing imaginable -- from skinny dipping to being time-share hostages in Vegas. We've survived bad haircuts, bad self tanner moments, dive bars and hangovers. Marital bliss and marital nightmares. She was the first person to babysit one year old Sophia. She held her for hours while she cried so I could have a night out. She was the first person I called when I found out I was pregnant with my second baby. I had happened to be in Sacramento visiting Shelby, a few nights prior. When she heard the news, we laughed and said we should name the baby, “Chardonnay.” She ended up being named, Estella, instead.
Of course we have been through all the stuff that some long term friends go through. We’ve had our close times. We have had times when our lives were at different places. We have had times when we felt that we thought we knew what was better for the other. We’ve tried to tell each other “what to do.” But when one of us didn’t listen, we have then tried to support one another – through the hits and misses. We’ve celebrated the good times. And then we have consoled each other through the rough times.
We’ve had arguments. We’ve been angry. We’ve cried together. We’ve felt distant. But inevitably, we make our way back to each other. I think when people share a real friendship – one that will last – you ride out the waves. If you care enough, the good times will always outweigh the bad. They will outweigh the stress of distance and life's constant distractions.
Real friendship stands the test of time. These friends love you. They love your “goods.” They love your “bads.” They love you despite all things. They won’t judge. They will support. They don’t tell you what you want to hear. They tell you what you need to hear. Be blessed by these rare people in your life. Cherish them. And be the same for them. Be the friend you want.
True friendship is unending. It is unyielding. But it is constantly evolving. Over time, friendship takes on different dimensions, but it never loses its original character.
And most importantly, a true friend will always tell you when you’re wearing unflattering pants.