The Precious Gift of a Woman's Friendships
“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindness there is at last one which makes the heart run over. ”
Samuel Johnson 1709 - 1784
I drove 775 miles to see my friend graduate only to become hopelessly mired in traffic in the very last leg of the trip and managed to miss the ceremony. We were on the cell phone until protocol for the pomp of awarding degrees cut us off. I drove to her home on the plains below Mt Rainier that is Enumclaw, Washington and wandered through the rooms I know so well. The scent of her life and the lives of her family filled the rooms and my heart. Friendship is so tender. Friendship that cross time and miles are particularly precious. While waiting for folks to return from their big day, I showered to no avail because it was Western Washington and I've become a desert rat in one short year. The warmth and high humidity had me sweating as soon as I emerged from the shower. Well, at least the grime of a hard drive was gone. Shortly afterwards Caroline arrived home with her son, mother and sister. I've not met "Mom" nor her sister but like Caroline they are alert, magnetic and very kind. Caroline's son just graduated with a degree in psychology. I've known him since he was 12. Now I realize that although he is just 21 he is a man not the boy who use to house sit for me. Bittersweet to see the off spring of dear friends grow up. Three years ago I announced to Caroline that I had the perfect job for her but first she had to become a nurse. Then listened to the usual crap about fear of math etc. That was then and in the now she has managed to graduate with distinction. So much for math phobia. She was voted most likely to become a nursing instructor. I wouldn't be remotely surprised if that was not the path she takes on this her now second career. She use to be an installer for an IT company. She worked in the land of men and handles herself well there. She was also a shop steward and knows how to argue and negotiate. Probably why she can ride her huge Harley with complete confidence. :) She is one of those women who is completely comfortable in her body. She is fierce in her loving and protecting. We all went to her class's graduation party. Fun to meet her fellow students. Most much younger than Caroline. I loved watching her move through the room. Every encounter was happily passionate. Caroline can drink me under the table and stay standing. And luckily for all us when the party is over the drinking stops ~ who could live like that! We talked and danced and toasted for many hours. I heard the news about the new guys in her life to the pounding of music. It was glorious. I've not danced in a long time and almost forgot how liberating it is and how good it feels. A year since we had seen one another and we've not missed a beat ~ a time warp that made us feel that there had been not seperation at all!
The next morning I had breakfast with my sister, Casey. We took up space for hours but this is in Enumclaw so no one rushed us. How I love this woman. She is younger and my polar opposite. She is so feminine and quite elegant. Speaks French fluently. Has traveled the world. Always dresses beautifully and has her make-up on...and I, well, I am an unrepentant life long tom-boy. We make each other laugh...until our sides hurt. She is delicate and fearful in a way that I am not. Funny how life shapes us. She was always a perfect student and rarely in trouble. I didn't know I could be a good student until I put myself through college. Frankly, I've spent my life "in trouble", if something is not right...I have to say something. Sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes it is not. There is afterall an arogance to thinking you have the right answer to so many things. It is a problem with being the Briggs Myers INTJ. But she is younger and grew up listening to the terrible violence that was our home. She did not want to be beaten or molested so she learned to be submissive, funny, a spectacular writer and an academic star. I have always been, well, not what Casey is and took the brunt Lady Blue's irrational furies and the advances of her many male partners. I do not know the right and wrong of any this need of mine to speak out except for one thing ~ no one should beat their children ~ there is no right reason for assaulting a child. On this matter I will always be loud and adamant! Casey calls me "TEOS" ~ the Evil Older Sister...a nick name I've come to love. In the now, Casey and I can laugh at almost anything and we do. I love her so much. We are sisters as an accident of birth but we've become friends over time. It was very hard, almost painful and desperate to say good bye.
Then my last visit was with Juanita Jo. She is my age. I met her in 2004. She was the realtor that I engaged to buy a house. As it turned out she lived just down the street and we started walking together. Somehow treading those many miles on foot together led to a fast and loyal friendship. We've stood by one another through the loss of family members, break-ups (I've had some whoopers), s.o's with addictions, miles of seperation and life threatening illness but the fast friendship persists. It is in this friendship that we can both indulge in a acerbic humor that we don't use with the rest of the world. JJ is impeccably honest and can manage money better than anyone I've every met. Ah what a treasure she is!
I had to leave late Saturday night to make sure the Tall Texan could get to work on time. It makes my heart hurt even now as I recall saying good bye to each one of these women as they are in so many ways the air that I breath. I want them to stay healthy and very much alive. If wishes were facts they have not a thing to worry about! Good thing about long drives is the thinking time it affords. I was able to recall details of each of these cherished gals and how they have each impacted my life. I am thankful to my bone marrow that they count me as a friend. I have several dear friends on the east coast as well ~ another post perhaps. Each person is an anchor. I am so blessed that chance meetings blossomed into enduring, loving friendships. A blessing that friends see the strengths and weakness, the light and dark sides and find a way to love one another anyway.
PS: I realize that the last number of posts have been perhaps to much of a diary. I will be returning to the "normal" wildwoods in the near future...like the next post! :)