Grateful For Old Friends

One of the things that I’m finding difficult about writing a series on what I’m grateful for is the idea that I need to put the things I’m grateful for into the correct order. I keep feeling like my list should build in importance or gratitude, so that I should end whatever is most important to me.   I can’t place these things in order of importance.  They are all essential.  I’ll write about everything I’m grateful for, but not in any particular order.

I’m grateful for my friends.   I am grateful to have a small number of people who have been at my side for what feels like my whole entire life.  I’m talking about Mike and my Best Friend Forever, Anita.  I’m grateful to have them in my life because they remember me when I was very different from how I am now.  I know their love for me is not conditional in any way.  They remember my ridiculous 80’s hairstyle (that I was wearing in the 90’s) and all the pretensions I used to have about myself.  Most of all, they remember me at a time in my life when I didn’t love myself.

I am humbled every time I remember who I was when I met them and I marvel at how they were able to see some value in me when it felt like hardly anyone did.  What I mean is that most people saw my (very prickly and unpleasant) outer shell and figured they didn’t need to know anything about what was inside it.

They helped me to find the path that I’m on.  I was on a self-destructive path before them.  And with them.  And then they helped me get off it.  Whenever I think about my marriage, I wonder how Mike and I could have known we would really be compatible marriage partners.  None of our parents ever modeled successful marriage for us and we married in our early 20’s, before we had really even figured out who we were.  How did we know what we needed to look for?  My friend Anita was really knowledgeable about this and over many conversations of many, many years she helped me to see what conditions create the possibility of a successful marriage.  Luckily, I already knew someone who fit the bill!

Anita really helped me to see past the fear I used to have of marriage, and later the fear that I had of having children.  I feared that having kids would turn us into our parents, or maybe even someone else’s parents.   I just had that belief that parents=people who hurt their kids.  I didn’t want to be that bad person, that mother.  And I had to see someone else become a mother and not turn into a bad person to really know that it was possible.

She has taught me about way more than just parenting and marriage.    She has been a great all-around role model for me.  When I was younger and I got in a situation I didn’t know how to handle, I’d ask myself what Anita would do, what she would say, and I would do that.  Following her example helped me to get along with others far more gracefully than I had been doing.

And it never ends.  She always has new things to teach me.  And a sympathetic ear when I just need to vent.  She’s a wonderful friend, not because she’s a perfect person or because of all the (many, many) things she does.  She’s a great friend because she is a wonderful person and she has been all along.

Anita and me (with Connor)

What has your BFF taught you?  How long have you been friends? What makes her a wonderful friend/all around person? 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Anita
    Dec 13, 2011 @ 00:44:10

    Well, I am obviously way behind on my blog reading… Glad I finally caught up! You made me cry, but maybe partly because it is so late. One thing I love so much about our friendship is that it has been a two-way street. You are also the voice in my head and have taught me so much. Ironically I am finding that I need your good advice so much more as my kids are entering adolescence. You are very wise, my friend, and I love you!

    Reply

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