Monday, December 22, 2008

Friends Before Breasts

After thirty-something years I finally reconnected with friends from my elementary school days. And I made some realizations.

There are some words that can only be shared with those you knew before you had breasts. (Gentlemen, add your own comparable experiences. I won’t even try…) Yes, there are things that can be said only to friends from the time before you knew how to hide your warts. To people you could ask what ‘that word’ meant. To people you envied and loved at the same time.

The funny thing is to talk to these friends decades later and realize that they thought you were okay – even as you were busy being embarrassed because everybody else seemed normal and you felt so inferior. And then you realize that they felt the same way.
What a joy. What a release. What a wonderful discovery. And now I realize – what perfect timing.

Our group of four musketeers got together for the first time in over 30 years last summer. We rediscovered each other in person, by email, and by phone, and realized that the very things that drew us together as young compatriots were still there. That we actually liked each other as adults. And that we had someone to talk to when tragedy fell. And it did.

Our artistic musketeer’s tragedy fell when she discovered that her marriage was over. And she picked right up and amazed us with her strength. She cursed a little, dusted off her feelings, and began to build a new life. The girl is beautiful inside and out, and has reminded us that being part of a pair is nice, but being a whole person is essential…

And then, the unthinkable. The musketeer with the biggest heart got the call that no one is ever prepared for. Her soulmate -- and a gentler, kinder, more supportive soul I’ve never met -- had left his heaven on earth with her and was moving on to his next adventure. This reminded the musketeers what it meant to be there for each other. And just as we would have guessed, she put herself into taking care of others at the local food pantry instead of insisting that she needed to be taken care of. The phrase ‘steel magnolia’ comes to mind…

Thank goodness our lifeline musketeer has been on duty through all of this. She’s the evergreen vine that keeps the musketeers connected. So, while the rest of us get lost from time to time, we know this musketeer will always be ready when we find ourselves again. She remembers to be there for us even when there’s not a tragedy to remind her. What an incredible gift…

Then there’s the last musketeer. She gets lost a lot. She’s busy chasing rainbows that aren’t as pretty when she catches them. And she forgets what’s important, but she’s relearning. She is remembering why these musketeers make life worth living even when the tragedies fall. And she realizes that the other musketeers might even need her a little. She knows she needs them and she won’t lose them again.

One for all and all for one, my friends.

This is dedicated to all the musketeers we’ve lost touch with through the years in hopes that you’ll take the time to contact one today and remember the joy of those simple friendships.


Shauna Roberts said...

How wonderful to have such friends. My best friend from those young days and I have grown apart and rarely see each other.

Unknown said...

They really are special.

It's funny -- with friends like these, even after not communicating for 30 years, when you do finally get to talk, it's feels just like "later that same day..."