Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Last night I had a bit of insomnia. Some sound woke me up and I just couldn't return to sleep. Maybe it was my subconscious wanting me to be conscience enough to have these thoughts. Call it what you will.  At 4 am I call it annoying. But I digress.

Some would say I am nearing middle age. That sounds so hideous. Isn't 40 the new 30?! I refuse to get caught up in a number. I feel young. And I certainly can't look as old as my mother did when she was 40. (Nods of reassurance here, please). The talk of aging and all the grown-up problems associated with it has me thinking lately about friendships and their crucial role in our lives.  

Pictured here is me and my BFF, J. We have been friends since 6th grade when her family moved to Texas. According to my yearbook, which I recently re-read, we were not officially BFFs until 8th grade. I guess we took a couple years to get to know each other before we solidified our status by writing it in each other's yearbook. I won't go into the milestones we've encountered together here. There are too many and many are much too private to share. Suffice to say we have quite a bit of history together.

But my point is this: friendship, lasting ones especially, but even some casual ones, can have a profound impact on our lives. Few other relationships -- parents, siblings, spouse and children -- rival that of a good friend. Even mediocre friends can enter your life for a short time and leave you facing an entirely different direction. 

In recent years I have been amazed over and over again by the value added to my life by women around me. Some are wonderful friends and some are merely acquaintances who have nonetheless left their mark on me. When my mother died last year, J, immediately knew what to do. Instinctively. And before I had any idea what I needed. She was there. Many good friends rallied to offer support and, when I returned home, provided meals for my family. Many of these darling women were acquaintances, not really good friends. They nonetheless took time out of their demanding schedules and cooked when I couldn't.

I think that is part of what amazes me about women - we rally and catch each other when we fall. Maybe that isn't a profound thought, but I think what strikes me is how it is a simple reflex, like the doctor knocks your knee. Boom. Friends surround you. Lickety-split. No questions asked.

And yes, as the song goes, we are all "only one phone call from our knees." And when we fall, friends will simply materialize out of the mist to catch us. Women literally are drawn by what must be our maternal instinct to help, to comfort, to support, to motivate. I honestly had no idea what sort of safety net surrounded me until I needed it. I doubt most of us do.

As years pass and our bodies, children and parents age we will be faced by even more grown-up problems: ailing parents, the death of loved ones, illness in ourselves or family, divorces or marital discord, and raising teenagers. We will catch each other as we pass through some of these phases. You never know if will be your BFF or a friend with whom you've never even shared a meal, but inevitably you will look back and thank that woman, that friend, for being there. For catching you when you were falling. For doing what you didn't even know you needed. For telling you what you needed to hear. For holding you. For loving you. 

So I chalk up this most recent sleepless night to my love for my friends, those near and those far, and give thanks to all women. Yes, all of you.  Because, like I said, you never know who will catch you and who you may one day catch.  



Blogs said...

Beautiful Post...it's rare that we find such amazing friends that last a lifetime:) i can totally relate...sometimes it's only one friend we need and the rest is history! i love this new blog I'll be stalking! Happy Tuesday!:) xoxo

Cristin said...

Following you from

Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! said...

Thank you both!

HBrummett said...

Hello! I am a new follower from Tuesday Blog Hops! IF you haven't already please stop by and follow me! Check out the giveaways going on too! Have a wonderful week! www.livingonloveandcents.blogspot.com

moncheri said...

Following you via FMBT. Pls follow me back too when you get the chance @ http://masalabowl.blogspot.com/
Lovely post, you have really good friends..

Closer to Lucy said...

I thought 40 was the new 20? That's my story, cause that makes me 19ish.

Found you over at Mommy approved! Following you now!

Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! said...

Even better! 19 sounds so much better to me too!

Unknown said...

This was really a beautiful post Amy. I'm really sorry to hear about your mother and I'm glad you had true friends to help you through. It's so true, you never know who will be the ones to catch you, and I was in a head-first spiral during my dad's illness, but one of my oldest (and most nutty) friends showed up and was steady as a rock during the whole thing as was my business partner. Others, not so much but it put life into sharp focus and I know that my time will be coming to be there for others. I think it's almost like a ritual for - I won't say middle age, let's just call it having more experience, lol.

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