I've always heard that if you're lucky enough to have one true friend in a life time, then you're lucky enough. My friend Carol makes me the luckiest person on Earth.
We first met 26 years ago when are then boyfriends - now husbands - were neighbors. We made an instant connection over our love of the South or more like our hatred of cold weather up North. We both shared bathrooms with our sisters (plural in her case) as teenagers. We could relate to Alanis Morissette’s songs (that has passed), and we worshiped Prince (that remains). But, the best part of being friends with Carol – then and now - is that I can always be my true self, my silly, happy, fearful, sometimes neurotic self, and she still loves me.
Carol is the type of person whom when they threw a party, and I had terrible migraine and not be able to lift my head up from the couch, would come over and hang out with me, so I wouldn't feel left out. We would go on to be pregnant with both of our children at the same time - twice. And, after they were born, we would walk miles and miles pushing them in strollers together, solving all of our problems and the world's in the process.
Carol eventually moved across town, and our kids went to different schools. It’s hard to fathom, but we lost touch for around eight years, only seeing each other here and there when our paths would occasionally cross. It's hard to believe I made it that long without her now.
We blinked and our children started high school, reuniting like long-lost cousins while Carol and I picked right up where we left off. Since that times, she's been there for me at my highest of highs and lowest of lows. My kids are like hers, and hers like mine. Our friends are all mutual, and our enemies? Well, they’d better watch out. With the two of us combining forces, those against us don’t stand much of a chance.
Now that our youngest children are now young adults and will be off to college soon, Carol and I have grown to realize more and more just how lucky we are. So much so, that during a recent girls’ trip, while we were on an early morning hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we began talking about our friendship and just how valuable it is, especially the older we get. As we hiked, we talked about our hopes and dreams for the future and how we never wanted to stray apart again.
"We will always be best friends, no matter what,” I said. "Even when we are old and gray, we can spend our days in the nursing home side by side."
"I'm fortunate to have a friend like you," she said.
“No, I’m the luck ... EEEEEEEEEEE …
About that time, I heard a very low growl from what could have only been a bear cub guarded by its angry and ferociously protective mama. So, it was then I did what every best friend would do ... I stuck my arm out to block Carol from taking the lead, and I ran like hell!!
To my which my best friend who heard what she thought was a bird, and not a bear, chuckled and said, "I've never seen you move like that before."
Needless to say, I have a lot to learn about friendship, but, fortunately, I have Carol to show me.