I always find myself gazing at my closest friends adoringly. I know, I probably sound completely nuts, but I am woman enough to admit that the feeling is pure, unadulterated adoration. It happened tonight while visiting with one of my oldest friends over dinner (who also happens to live in California). It happened at my 20th high school reunion with another BFF who I don’t get to see nearly enough; I mean, a stare/gaze of adoration that was so intense that I felt tears welling up in my eyes (if she’s reading this, she’s laughing). And it happens every time I see a few of my other friends, really my best friends in life, almost every single time I see them.
It’s not immediate, it’s not intentionally creepy … it just IS. Some of my friends get it and also gaze back or end up collapsing into laughter with me once we realize what we’re both doing. Others tell me I’m a complete weirdo and just laugh at me for being an “emotional infant” (this gem courtesy my male BFF).
Friends are just important. Especially to and for someone who grew up as an only child. These faces, these people, these souls are as much a part of my family as any blood bond. They are the people who have known me as far back as kindergarten – the ones who love me FOR the things I have sometimes found to be my flaws. I have one BFF who can’t “handle” my little thumbs. Translation: she loves them. With another BFF, my extreme vampy tooth has become a thing of legend and, now with her kids, a living, breathing entity (“Vampy” has emotions…).
In knowing and having friends across the years, you develop something that can’t be matched. Life-long friends know you and love you in a way that no one else can or could. You love them through love, loss, marriage, divorce, sickness, improved health, promotions, degrees, babies … They love you, equally, through everything.
And you adore each other because there are few other verbs that capture the gratitude for the safe harbor of infinite acceptance.