I used to occasionally hold hands with my best friend in high school in the hallways, walking from class to class.
I remember one time another student asking if we were lesbians, and, quite sincerely, I remember being astonished.
No, we weren’t—yet, actually, we’d already determined through the closeness and ease of our relationship that if we could be, we would, at times, find this preferential (insert inappropriate teenage jokes).
Another friend, one of the dearest women of my life, has been known to me since she was born—with our mothers friends—and I’m thankful for someone knowing my childhood, my parents and me.
And a friend who means the world to me has been a part of my heart since we rekindled our connection at the gym early one morning before the sun had risen, about 13 years ago. We’ve been through babies being born and then growing into toddlers and children, relationships floundering and, though we aren’t the same religion, we’ve celebrated our mutual holidays and life events together with more joy than you could probably imagine.
And I’m fairly sure I’ve mentioned before that friendship between women is a most valuable and glorious thing.
Unfortunately, yes, friendships will come and go, but this doesn’t diminish their purpose or their importance.
Because some will, indeed, grow and blossom and flourish while others will wilt and whither—re-growing new friends in different soils—and it’s not always a flaw of either person or a sign of something inherently gone wrong.
Rather, people come into our lives because we’re seeking—consciously or not—their challenge or support.
We desire comfort and guidance or our own personality needs to learn how to prosper during adversity.
My mother is perhaps my best friend.
She knows me—and she loves me anyways. (Wink, wink.)
Seriously, it’s wonderful to come through a relationship as a child and move into adulthood with the person who held your hand and led you when need be, to now be next to you, holding your hand with nothing but mutual admiration and true knowledge of who you are—who you really are—and love you through and through.
(I hope to also have this with my own daughter some day, but, right now, I’m too busy being her mommy.)
This morning, for example, my mother and my daughter were both at my house—my parents having slept over—and I was getting my tiny lady ready for her day and my mom was helping me do things around the house and one of the things that I did was take that rare, rare time to talk on the phone with a friend.
And we talked for so long that we needed a pee break.
Now…that’s a good conversation.
Because friends, in my experience at least, have been those with whom there isn’t ever enough time.
I was sitting at coffee with one of the closest people to my heart—after just seeing each other the previous afternoon—and we equally commented it’s strange that we still have so much to catch up on.
And then friends are, equally, those with whom no words are necessary or have to be shared, if not needed.
My sister and I can talk—or not talk—for hours.
Because I love my friends—each and every one of the women who have walked into my life and heart. (And I also have fondness—and I mean this—for those who have exited—although, gratefully, those are few.)
However, let’s not kid ourselves: friendship takes hard work.
All relationships need nourishment and attention if they are meant to advance.
But real kinship is more than emotional fertilizer and effort—it’s acceptance.
And it’s not romantic love—it’s more intricate than that.
Because sex and other forms of intimacy can serve to smooth over arguments and irritations and we don’t have that option—or these luxurious solutions—with friends.
But we have love.
So, to all the girls I’ve loved before, thank you for helping me become who I am and for enriching my life (even when it wasn’t easy for us)—and there just isn’t enough time for that phone chat that needs a potty break.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Author’s own