This week, I saw my children return to school, their book bags slung over their shoulders and excitement in their eyes as they looked forward to meeting new teachers and reuniting with old friends. As I stood there watching my nine-year-old daughter squeal in delight over seeing her friends again and as I saw them form a circle of endless chatter and laughter, it made me think about my own friendships.
Friendships are truly a gift and I have been blessed to have the support of a small group of very strong, intelligent, honest, funny, and amazing group of friends. They are the ones who have seen me through the loss of a parent, rough patches in my marriage, difficulties at work. They talked me off the ledge when my youngest son had colic as an infant and I suffered from mild postpartum. They have shared a meal and a laugh with me over the years and are the only ones I can count on to tell me how I really look in jeans.
Friends are also the ones you get into trouble with or who bail you out of trouble. They are the ones who hold your hair when you are hunched over a toilet bowl at two o’clock in the morning after making a bad decision of having ‘just one more.’ They are also the ones who hide your cell phone to stop you from calling an ex-boyfriend after being dumped and asking him “Why?” They are the ones who scream with you the loudest at a concert, gladly losing their voice the next day or plan a fun weekend getaway to surprise you after a horrible week at work.
The older I grow, the more I come to depend on my circle of friends. Yes, it’s true that my circle has dwindled down to a half dozen over the years but, unlike the multitude of friends I had when I was in high school, my circle now is strong and impenetrable, as opposed to the large circle I once boasted about and held out as a symbol of my popularity and my vanity. I realize now that the problem with such a large circle is that it is often difficult to keep it together. The larger it is, the weaker and more fragile. In the end, it is the true friendships that are left standing after a storm, unwilling to bend or crumble.
So, although I am much, much older than a middle school aged girl; to this day, when I get together with my BFFs, we still squeal when we greet each other and yes, we still form that circle, filling it with endless laughter and chatter. There are just some things you never want to grow out of.