A friend is one who knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still gently, allows you to grow. (I couldn’t have said it better myself, William Shakespeare.)
My earliest memory of a friend was my dog named, Happy, a gorgeous American Eskimo raised by my Aunt Nancy (thanks Aunt Nancy for giving her to me.) I just remember being so proud to have a dog of my own to play with. When I was with Happy, I was happy. She was my friend.
Between 1st and 3rd grade, I had a love-hate relationship with the Two Stacys. (Someone please tell me the proper plural form of Stacy in this context. It looks wrong as Stacys, but I think it’s right.) The Two Stacys lived on Turner street, one across the street and one next door. One of my memories of going to the next-door-Stacy was walking in on her parents doing the wild thing. Yes, good times.
Sidebar: Speaking of the wild thing, my Middle was about 2, and in I was pushing her in the stroller, after school hours, on a balmy summer Sunday evening. My 5-year-old, Boy, was standing right next to me walking along in the stroller, as we walked to my classroom. Remember, this is California and just about anything is outdoors—malls, taco trucks, farmer’s markets, schools- mine isn’t an enclosed building, all the classrooms are entered straight from the outdoors. We don’t have to be protected from the elements here. There were parts of this scenario that I wish had been protected from the elements, if you catch my drift. Anyway, as I’m strollin’ to the classroom with the kids, this little yappy ‘guard dog’ comes out of nowhere and starts barkin’ and scarin’ the hell out of me and the littles. As I’m yelling at the dog to step back, I look over into the shady grassy patch just behind the school office and there, in broad daylight in front of God and everybody was a fully naked 40-50 something bald man having his way with a woman about the same age. I’m yelling “Call off your dog!” My kids starting to panic because I’m yelling and the dog looks like he might like to nip at us. “Call off your dog!” <<crickets>> No words. Shock. We were all in a place we’d rather not be. All of us, including yappy Mc-Yipperton. I kept moving as fast as I could like a bat-outta-hell to my classroom, as I grabbed Boy and pushed that stroller one-handed to my classroom. As we got there, I asked Boy, “What did you see?” worried that this awkward rendezvous was his first introduction to the birds and the bees. He said, “Mama, why didn’t they stop their dog? They just sat there and didn’t say ANYTHING!” (Yes, son, they just ‘sat’ there.) He hadn’t seen the naked man because the Mc-Yipperton was so distracting. Whew.
So, back to besties. The Two Stacys helped me learn that I couldn’t own my friends. Friendship isn’t ownership. I experienced jealousy early in my friendships, because three girls together isn’t always a good number. There’s always a 3rd wheel, Joy.
I’ve always struggled with the idea of having a best friend. I’ll tell you why: it seems exclusive. I like having friends. I’ve had so many friends at different seasons of my life. When I’m with you, you’re my best friend. Sure, there are people that we connect with more than others based on our experiences and personalities. My friends have been my lifeline to laughter. Sharing the good the bad and the ugly has been so life-giving and extraordinary.
“To have friends, you have to be a friend.” This is what my mom always used to say. I didn’t really know what that meant early on, but I’ve gradually figured it out. What does being a friend mean? Most of the time, to me, being a friend means simply, listening and responding when necessary. Life is hard and we need someone to process the chaos with. Someone who’s not going to judge us for our faults. Someone who can tell us the truth in love. Someone who is going to stick around. This is sacred. “I’m looking for what I call my move-the-body friends. I’m looking for the folks who are going to show up and wade through the deep with me.” (Brene Brown, another of my besties). I’ll wade in the deep with you friends, and when we all feel like we’re drowning with our heads below the surface, we’ll raise our hands above the surface and give each other a collective thumbs up. I’m giving you that thumbs up right now across the deep end, it’s the end of the school year friends! We’re almost there.
Dedicated to: The Two Stacys, Nell, The Three Amys, Anny, Merry, Sarah, Sylvia, Aimee, Peggy, Shana, Christy, Kim, Lynnette, Lisa, Tina, Cassie, Heather, Melissa, Hillary, Debbie & Terri— my ‘move-the-body’ friends.
Until next Friday…Love you loves.
Phase 5, continued:
I’ve fallen off the protein wagon. I’ve not been eating enough. (These are words that haven’t come out of my mouth since I was 17.)
I went for my 2 month visit this week. Dr. Lamar said my incision sites look, once again, “perfect” and advised me to come back in 4 months, at my 6 month post-surgery date.
I’m feeling good & I’m down 45 pounds. I’ve only been exercising about once a week, which is not what I’m supposed to do. Give me a break, it’s the end of the school year, and I’ve got a blog to write. 🙂