Friendship is an art and therefore beautiful. It requires effort although with true friendship it always seems effortless. It's full of humor which often makes it a comedy show, and if it's really a true friendship, it lasts through anything and everything and fills you with lots of memories.
Friendship has been on my mind these past few weeks because my small-ish, constant, never-changing group of girlfriends looks like it will in fact, be changing a bit. And it's strange to me because I've been pretty closed-minded about adding any new friends for years. I've had the three best girlfriends a girl could ask for and there wasn't a desire or the time to want anything more.
I think a lot of us Moms get into this routine of family & friends, and we get all nice and comfortable. We have certain people who truly know us - and just love us as we are (this is a HUGE accomplishment for my friends because I'm a total piece of work!). Being a friend to another Mom means you have to understand that sometimes, it will be three days (or in some cases, three weeks or three months) between conversations. It means LOTS of broken lunch dates because yes my kids happened to pass the stomach bug back and forth for the whole winter. I know it seems far fetched, and ridiculously impossible - but trust me... you'll likely see us listed in Guinness sometime soon for that world record. Friends of moms understand a bathtub full of toys when they come to stay for the weekend and clean my main floor bathroom - the one that gets used by EVERYONE... ALL THE TIME... without being asked - and they even know where all my cleaning stuff is. Friends of this Mom don't even complain when I serve them hotdogs three meals in a row.
My friends quietly let themselves out if I fall asleep when I put the little kids down to bed for the night. They don't mind if I go to bed earlier than them. They deal nicely with their kids being fed donuts for breakfast (as opposed to Kashi with almond milk) and only complain mildly after being bathroom bound for a whole day once they've returned to their own homes. While they insist it's because they've indulged themselves in too many goodies during their stay, I'm left to wonder if we ever really did get rid of that intestinal bug or if we finally just became immune.
My point is that each of us Moms have our own little worlds we live in, and our friends have to accept us as we are. Live and let live is the simplest way I can describe our "Motto"... and within this group, we do just that. We laugh & we love. We have talks that last for hours, and then 20 second chats. We have history, and stories, and memories of watching each others children grow up - even if from a distance. We all fit into that missing piece in one another's puzzles as though we were molded to fit into that exact spot. And maybe we were.
And then one day, comes along someone new. They don't know the rules (the rule is: There aren't any!) or that it's ok to rummage through my fridge to find the maraschino cherries. They even bring their own bottle of gin to a pool party and are entirely too formal in a really nice "I like you, but this is new to me" sort of way. They don't know it's ok for me to buy their daughter a swimsuit and goggles (that I got a great deal on) because 6 months from now they'll have taken my kids to the beach for a day and we'll totally be even. Or not. Because there isn't really any "even", or counting, or keeping track of this stuff. It is how it is and we deal. There aren't things such as imposition, or too much or too little.
Someone just shows up to a bonfire with a box of ice cream cones for the kids and man... they were a hit. The littles loved them and the bigs have begged for replacement boxes a few times. We all sat around and laughed and talked and shared Mom stories - and found some common ground. It's what Moms do. Then it got dark, everyone left and went back to their own homes with their own lives and their own puzzles. Also what Moms do. One month, 2 more bonfires, a pool party, and some short chats while dropping off and picking up kids - and Voila! Friendship. New friendship - but friendship nonetheless.
It turns out, there was room for another. Thankfully someone who doesn't live 2 hours away (at least not yet). It reminds me that we never really know what tomorrow will bring. Thankfully, it also reminds me of how to interact with people who don't know me (or know my horrible habit of hanging up the phone before saying "Goodbye" - yes... I know I do it).
SO - for anyone out there who's becoming a new friend to someone else I offer you these words of advice... be patient, be accepting, be understanding, and if you're MY new friend - be prepared. You might just find yourself sitting at the dinner table for Christmas Dinner and end up watching a 5 year old massage her aunts back with my pink vibrator. True story (for another time!).