Celebrating My Friend

Some friendships are like a gift wrapped in so many different and lovely layers of packaging and when you finally get inside you discover that something precious and unexpected is there.  I have a friend that I have known for 23 years on January 6th, and as I celebrate her birthday today, I recollect that even now, she continues to surprise and delight me in unexpected ways.

Of my childhood friends, she is the sweet one, the kind one, the one who could be simultaneously compassionate and completely hilarious.  Growing up, we had some tumultuous moments, two opposite personality types clashing at a challenging time in adolescence.  We got into trouble together, went through puberty together, have suffered some very difficult times together, and last year, when she visited me in Texas for the first time, we got to have some international adventures together as well!

A child when I met her and now a grown woman in her mid-thirties, I have had the pleasure of seeing her grow into the person she is today.  In some ways, so much my total opposite, and yet someone I can turn to for trusted, thoughtful advice from what I like to call "such a humanitarian perspective" when I am unsure if my decisions are going to be perceived harshly.  I love that when I am about to make a decision I can run it past her and she will not be afraid to tell me honestly if my stance is unjust or unkind.

She gives me faith in humanity, for all that I "hate people," and yet she allows me to be my true self.  She does not discourage me from being coarse, firm or coldly rational when my stance is well thought out.  She reminds, rather than lectures, that there are softer sides of life. She has an unusual blend of tender-hearted sensitivity in terms of individuals and curious, intellectual skepticism about mainstream ideas and the world.  She is perceptive and skilled at seeing people as they are but also very careful not to assign fixed labels or put people into boxes. She understands the quirks of the humans!

I think back on her today and I think how lucky I am to be able to recall the sound of her laugh easily to my mind, or the way she can say in a total deadpan voice, "I f!$#ing love swearing!"  I can picture her smile over the years, growing in maturity, but always full of sincerity and warmth.   Her youthful prettiness has not changed at all over the years, nor has her appreciation for a good laugh.  I am grateful to have this crazy, charming, intelligent and thoughtful woman as a friend, and today, I wish her a very happy birthday!