Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Family*

I’ve been thinking about friendship, who my true friends are, and the way I define “friend.” A chart of my friendships could be drawn in three concentric circles. The inner circle is made up of family* and consists of very few people. The second circle is the largest by far, and is made up of people I genuinely like but to whom I am not extremely close, whether that’s because of conflicting schedules, physical distance, or the newness of our relationship. The third circle is smaller than the second but larger than the first. This group consists primarily of people I communicate with only on Facebook. Generally, we attended school together, and were close at one time, but have no real desire to be close again (in most cases because, as adults, we are vastly different).

This post is about the first circle. The people in my innermost circle have certain things in common: They love me unconditionally. We are able to disagree without arguing. They support me 100%, even if they don’t agree with my choices. They are there for me, in whatever way they are able, always. These are the people I could call at 4 am to talk through a problem. They’re the ones who would drive an hour if I was stranded on the side of the road. They are the ones who will laugh with me, cry with me, and raise hell with me. They *are* my family. Because of our schedules, I may not see or even talk to these friends that often, but when we connect, it’s as if no time has passed at all.

With that said, I’d like to introduce you to my friends (excluding J., since he deserves a post all his own):

I met J.E. when I started kindergarten at Tisinger Elementary in October of 1981. Almost 13 years later, we graduated high school together. We were friends in school, but I don’t remember a time when we were BFF’s. We lost touch after graduation, but she found me on Myspace in September 2006. I received a message from her just days after R.J. announced he was leaving me. J.E. was separated from her husband, and there were many, many nights she stayed on IM with me for hours, talking around and around the whole situation. At that point in my life, I was closer to suicide than I’ve ever been; it is no exaggeration to say that she saved my life.

J.E. is the funniest person I know. Her sarcasm level is an 11. She likes people even less than I do. She enjoys her vices, and never apologizes for who she is (or, at least, she shouldn’t). She is the most loyal person I know; even when being loyal hurts her, she hangs on. She’s a fantastic friend, and a phenomenal mom. Oh, and she’s a tad bit artistic: you can see her website here.

In June 2001, I went to a job interview. K. was the company’s receptionist. She was kind to me, in small ways, while I waited. I got the job, and we became friends. When I married R.J. in February 2003, she was one of four people who knew we were getting married that day. When she married in March 2004, I was her “honorary” bridesmaid, since her bridal party was set before we became friends. And when she left her husband in March 2005, she lived with me for several weeks until she could get into her own place. I nursed her through her divorce, and two years later, she nursed me through mine.

K. is incredibly determined, and she works harder than anyone I know. She has different tastes than I do, which exposes me to music and books that I might not otherwise have discovered. She’s CFBC, and it’s wonderful to have that in common with such a close friend. It takes a while to get to know her, because she can be quiet, but she’s amazing. Laughing with her over a glass (or three) of wine is one of my most favorite things in the world.

When I met V., I didn’t expect us to become friends. She started working with me in 2006, and I was assigned to train her. She was very quiet, and she’s from California. I didn’t see that we’d have much in common, but we do.

I had trouble with how to write this paragraph. There's so much I love about V., but it's difficult to articulate. She and I are very different, but somehow our friendship works. She recommends books that are a bit off-the-beaten-path, and documentaries that are certain to get me thinking. She’s crafty, and she loves to cook. She has been my teacher as I try to bring healthier and more natural eating habits into my home. She (and her husband) share my politics, so we spend a great deal of time discussing current events. She’s also my favorite sounding board on philosophical matters.

These women are the closest thing I have to sisters. I feel so blessed to have them in my life, and I would do anything for each one of them. As I know they would do for me.



*Family: Your family is made up of the people who love you unconditionally. You may or may not be related to these people by blood.

2 comments:

OutsidetheLinez said...

How the hell did you know I was out of kleenex?? WHY don't I have any kleenex!?!?!

I love you, too, and I am so happy and grateful to have you in my life. Thank you for putting up with my, um, eccentric ways.

J.E.
*Honk* *sets aside toilet paper roll*

Carol said...

Making my friends cry is one of many services I provide. :)