Today is my friend JF’s birthday.
JF has been my friend my whole life. When I was six months old, my parents moved to their current house which was next door to JF’s house. We’ve known each other since we were six months old. That’s almost 40 years!
She’s been my friend through it all. I was not an easy person to be friends with in junior high and high school. But she stuck by me. We haven’t been number one best friends our whole lives, but she was always someone who I could count and who would always talk to me.
We were in each other’s weddings. I’ve been to see her and her family in Chicago every other year or so. We try to see each other when they’re in town for visits. (But the whole world is trying to see them so sometimes we don’t even try.) She is more like a sister to me than my own sisters. My mother considers her part of our family, and I was at her mom’s funeral.
She has been a rock for me my whole life.
I admire her sense of identity. She has always done her own thing and been whoever she wanted to be. She didn’t seem to care what anyone thought of her in school, and I was always wanting to be one of the popular crowd. She did study abroad in Germany our junior year of high school. Of HIGH SCHOOL! How many people pack up for 9 months in another country when they’re 17?
I’ve learned a lot from her. I’ve learned about being whoever you want to be – although I still have a long way to go in that. I’ve learned about being tough in a truly devastating life experience. She’s always encouraged me to dare to imagine my life as bigger and different than it currently is.
She’s been a constant thread in my life, and I can’t imagine my life without her. We can go months without talking, and when we do call each other, it’s like no time has passed. It’s not like we confide every little detail in our lives to each other. But we just have a lifelong friendship that always makes it comfortable when we talk. No awkward pauses, no weird comments, no “what do I say now”. Just friendship and connecting with that awesome friend.
I always have been and will always be grateful to have her in my life. I only hope that she knows how much she means to me and how much I love her.
“Friends are family you choose.”