Yesterday my sister posted one of those "How did we meet?" things on Facebook. You know, the "post this on your status and see who answers" thing. I, of course, had the compulsion to be a smartass and left the comment that "my mom gave you space in her uterus"- something only an older sister would say. :-) Those things always make me think though. I refuse to post the "one word that reminds you of me" because some of my friends are just as much smartasses as I am and would be rude and crude- and my Daddy and my Son are on my facebook page. But the "how did we meet?"- that one made me look at my list and think about how I met those who I hold dearest in my heart.
A half a dozen of my dearest friends, I met at work. Working day in and day out together allowed us to form a bond of shared experiences. The busy times showed us how the other person handles themselves under pressure and the slow times let us learn more about one another as people. No matter what our ages or our different places in life- being in the "trenches" together trancends those boundaries and lets you connect when you allow yourself to be open to it. It's not something I have allowed myself to do out here as of yet, partially because many of them have known one another for years (like-close to 50 years) and partially because I miss my "old" friends so much that I am not wanting to feel that again.
Another half dozen of the people that I hold dearest I actually met online. I don't know what it is-perhaps the anonymity of the web, or the fact that we don't live near enough to be a part of one another's "daily" lives, but I have a small circle of people that I met online that I can be more open with than even my closest "real life" friends. There is just something about being able to write it down and get it out and have someone read your words and answer you that allows you (or at least ME) say things that you just couldn't say in a face to face situation. Over the time that we have been together online-some for years and some for months-I have grown to know and care about my online friends as much as if they were sitting in a room with me. Day in and day out we share our joys and hurts, our triumphs and tragedies. I don't honestly know what I would do or where I would be without them. I can only be grateful that different online mediums brought them into my life.
The final place is much closer to home. As I have grown up and as I have made changes in my life, I have realized that there are three people who are, for me, the most important of my friends. They know ME and despite our differences still love me. That would be my two sisters and my darling husband.
Jim and I were friends before we ever started dating but once we did, that changed to a very deep love. We were very young and immature when we married and over the years there were many times that though we loved one another- we didn't necessarily LIKE one another. It wasn't until we moved out here and found a life that is less of a pressure cooker that we have rediscovered that friendship that we had so very long ago. These days, we not only love one another but there is a very deep friendship there too. And that is a true blessing. If this move had given us nothing else- it gave us that.
When I think of my sisters, I know how very fortunate I am to have them. We are so very different. Even though we were raised exactly the same, I cannot think of three more divergent lives than our adulthood has been. I often wonder-if we had NOT been sisters and had met as adults, would we even be friends? Somehow I doubt it which makes it all the more of a blessing that the fates gave us one another. We don't even have to speak to share our thoughts. We can read one another's faces, moods, body language without a word. We that connection that just cannot be broken. Geography seperates us physically but our hearts are always together. We split up- me to get married and move overseas, Heather for college and then Lisa to military service, when we were still teenagers and took one another for granted but over the years I have learned that they are genuinely terrific people and that if one of us needs the other- we are just a phone call or an email away. When I think of my friends relationships with their siblings- I can only be thankful that my sisters and I are able to see past the exterior and really enjoy one another. They are both wonderful, loving, smart, admirable women and terrific role models for their daughters and I am so lucky that I can call them my sisters.
You often hear that (and I truly believe) that our friends are the family that we choose, but I am doubly fortunate to have a family that I would never trade as well as friends that I have made my family.