Monday, December 19, 2005

Ode to My Friend

My best friend since the sixth grade has also caught the bloggin’ bug, and I’ve been enjoying seeing her life in more detail than had previously been possible from seven time zones away. But imagine my surprise to read this about myself. Although she might have overdone it a wee bit *grin*, it really touched me. And although I know I will not be able to do her justice in mere words, I want to tell WestTexGirl here just how much she means to me. (1)

We went through most of our teenage firsts together: first dance, first boyfriend, first heartbreak. We weren’t clones of one another; we had interests apart—WTGirl managed the girls’ sports teams in junior high, and homemaking against my inclination—but the differences never served to split us up, just to make us each more well-rounded. And they didn’t prevent us from spending hours on the phone every evening after spending all day at school together. One reason I was such a reasonably well-behaved teen was that my parents threatened to take away the phone as a punishment for rule-breaking. What would I ever do without at least 10 hours of contact with my best friend every day?! And we somehow always had something to talk about.

I spent my last night before driving the four hours to start university the next day with her—first at the Kettle until midnight, drinking hot cocoa, then standing in my driveway for a couple more hours, not wanting to say goodbye. Despite the distance, we managed to stay in touch and see each other semi-regularly. And at each visit, we picked up right where we left off, as if there had never been a separation or major changes in each of our lives.

We used to joke about being on the same brain wave, but now I realize it was probably all WTGirl. I can’t count how many times I’ve been in need of a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on, and the phone rang, or there was a “thinking of you” email from her in my inbox. Even with hundreds of miles between us. And it’s not just her timing; she always knows the exact right thing to say. She is tactful and warm, and a compliment from WTGirl is like a bear hug.

She is also wonderfully supportive. Many is the time I’ve had an ass-headed idea, when my normally supportive husband looks at me like he’s trying to decide on the best institution to have me committed to, but WTGirl enthusiastically cheers me on, although with a helping of advice and common sense so I don’t go immediately down in flames.

Part and parcel with her supportiveness is her fierce loyalty to her friends and her generous heart. There are a lot of us she could have given up on as being too far away or too busy with our own silliness, but she doesn’t. For example, when one of her friends recently had twins as a single mother, WTGirl could have said, “I’d love to help, but I have a full-time job, and a family of my own” (including a toddler and a stubborn little 8-year-old). Instead, she became this friend’s main lifeline, even more so than her own mother: she took her to the doctor, took care of a million tiny details while she was on bed rest, even accompanied her into the delivery room, and she was there when her babies came home.

The flip side of being friends with WTGirl is that you always wonder if you’ll ever live up to such a high standard of friendship. But I like to think that I am benefiting from her example.

She is also a super-smart lady. You have to take what she said in her blog entry with a grain of salt. This woman teaches ANATOMY, people. I would never in a million years be able to remember everything she does; I get to “the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone,” and then I’m lost. And she manages to deal with college-aged students and not go on a killing spree. Tact. Patience. She’s got them both in aces.

And she is eloquent. You should read her entry on our home town. I promise you, no one else could make it sound so good. The Chamber of Commerce should be cutting her a check. She sees the good no one else sees, and she can translate it so the rest of us start to get it.

I am proud that she still thinks I am worthy of her friendship, because it is something worth having.

(1) Lovely Husband has pointed out that this is something only women would do. The last two message he received from his best friend from high school were a birth announcement for his second child (typed by his wife, I think) and an evil, gloating missive on the occasion of George Bush’s reelection. To say nothing of the porn.

1 comment:

westexgirl said...

Now we're both crying, the good kind of crying. See? I knew what I was talking about all along. You have a way of making me a better person and you always have. If nothing else, I strive to be the person that you think I am. Thanks for loving me so much and setting that bar so high. Love you, Nee!