It is the friends you can all up at four a.m. that matter.
I had my own belated birthday party Saturday night. Some friends I had not seen in months, some I had seen the day before. One I have known since first grade. Eight women and me.
Whether it was the warm glow of tequila or something else, I realized two things: each of them have something in them that I admire, deeply, but feel I can never achieve for myself. And I could call on any of them at 4 am and they'd answer. Most of them I have called and they have answered.
I was going to write about perspective and how much I've gained in 2008, and how it's okay for friendships to change and drift, but really, when I looked around the table, I just felt lucky for each of them. Really, I'd be lucky for any of them. And not just because they drove in the beginning of a snow storm to buy me margaritas.
Do you ever have people in your life whose words you remember, or whose actions trump all others? Like once they say or do these things, no matter what happens, they are part of your clan, your tribe, for life? One of the women at the party, C, she told me in the dark days following Brody's birth, when we didn't know if he would even live or not, that she had seen Brody, and he was moving his arms and his legs, and crying and strong. And I clung to those words for weeks while we waited for the testing to come back.
Another one, L, was one of the first ones besides J in front of whom I was able to give voice to my darkest fears: Brody's kidney not working. I remember she walked over to me, crouched in front of me while I cried, and put her hand on my arm. And it was exactly what I needed.
Another one, A, sat in the waiting room of the NICU with my mother in law. I haven't written much about my mother in law, but let's just say at times - particularly where Brody is concerned - there is a lot to write. And she sat there, and brought J and I distractions and food, and occupied my MIL so I didn't have to deal with her.
And each of those women on Saturday had saved me in more ways than I know. And this quote explains why:
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
And so, while one of my resolutions really is to grow out my hair, which these friends mocked appropriately, another one is to be a better friend to these women who have carried me these last years.