Thursday, August 3, 2017

Friends of a Lifetime

I have some very special friends. This year most of us are turning 50 and, as with any milestone birthday, this year comes with a lot of reflection.

Tomorrow, Maryann is taking the plunge. I met Maryann when we were just turning 14, our freshman year of high school in 1981. She sat in front of me in Mr. DeJesus’ Portuguese class, and we were in choir together. I lived vicariously through Maryann – she was so much more ‘worldly’ than I was at that age. After high school we worked together at Sears Surplus; I loved it because we were older and my ‘leash’ was longer once I moved away from home, and I did things with her. She is one solid friend. I think that’s the word that I keep thinking of. When I think about all the things she had to listen to from me … and she still talks to me. She was also the biggest supporter of me following my dreams and writing, even when I pushed it aside.

Next week, Stephanie is jumping into the next decade. I met Stephanie through my first ex in 1992, and was fortunate enough to win her in the divorce. She thinks I’m a nerd and calls me “Adrian” after Talia Shire’s character in Rocky. I like to think it’s just because of the glasses, but she says it’s more than that. Despite that, she knows that she and I are a lot alike. And she still likes me.

I’ll be next, in October (I’ve talked about that enough already, and will do more talking about that later).

Then, in November, it’s Donna’s turn. Donna has been with me since 1973 – I’ve said a lot about her here already, and still haven’t said enough. And she’s pretty much stuck with me (I know too much).

TWENTY YEARS AGO (I love saying that!) we tried to all get together for our 30th birthdays. We smoked cigars to mark the occasion. Donna wasn’t able to make it, but our friend Kim was.

Three friends, from three different periods of my life. All here with me now.

Have you ever ‘mixed’ your friends like that? Do you know how really fun it is to see your friends meet your friends? And how amazing an opportunity it is?

These girls are lifetime friends of mine.

I think about my daughters and their friends, watching who comes and goes and who stays. I hear the same angst in their conversations that I had when I was younger, but now with all this time passed I’m not worried about them and can only reassure them that it will get better as they get older. It takes the age and experience to begin to see the bigger picture about what really matters, and who. Friendships aren’t planned; they happen, and sometimes you don’t even see the beginning until you’re well into it.

I am well ‘into it’ now. And I can look around me and see the wonderful group of people I’m surrounded by. At this age (I love saying that, too!), there are new friends in the picture, too – but they’re not really ‘new’ because I’ve known them for a long time. We built a history together without even realizing it, just by being there, even with the ins and outs and sideways turns of life. Our paths keep crossing.

Whether or not I get to see them a lot, or only a little, I have years’ worth of reminders that make me think of them – probably more regularly than they think. As a part of my history, they are a part of me (the good parts).

Maryann, someday I hope to show you fully how much you mean to me, because I don’t feel that I have adequately. You are still my date for the Oscars when I win Best Screenplay (even if it’s not for my sequel of Mary Poppins).

Stephanie, there’s so much I can’t (and won’t) say here. You know I love you.


Happy 50th Birthday, my lifetime friends.