Girlfriends, kidney friends, the women that keep you sane.

I have spent the past week with a friend, not a fly by night friend, but a friend who has known me and mine for over 20 years. We went through pregnancies together, we share things that no one else knows, dreams, indiscretions, times when we thought we were horrid mothers, bad wives, and when we drink to much we dance under the stars and are grateful that our friendship has survived broken marriages, ungrateful children, living in different countries and still we have a bond that nothing can compare to.

I took leave from my job recently because I knew she needed me and my husband of 30 years knew that I needed to support her and so he booked my flights and said “”You fly out on Saturday 28 March and you fly home on 4 April so we can be with our grand babies on Easter Sunday”. ┬áSB lives on the other side of the country, Perth.

SB and I can tell each other anything, there is no judgement, what there is, is unconditional love and support. It is the type of love that I can walk into her home and say, darling your garden needs my attention and for three days I will prune, trim and repot. She is a gardener but not like me, gardening is my passion, I find it soothing and relaxing. What makes it fantastic is that she trusts me completely, she does not question what I do or why I want to do it. We do fight over who pays for what plants, I think because her garden needs a particular plant that I am happy to pay for it. It was our first “domestic”. But I let her win, because she thought she had secretly hidden in my bag money but I found it and with that money I will purchase an identical rose and I will look at it and think of her. It is a peace rose, yellow for her and pink for me.
She is the type of friend that I can open her pantry, her fridge and say, honey this needs my attention. She makes me drinks and I sort and I put things In order and I throw out things that are past their use by date and she smiles and says, only you. And the thing is, I like it, I love doing that for her and strangely enough I find it soothing as I know her life needs uncluttering and she knows it too but just right now she is not strong enough to do it but I am. As I said to her, let’s start with the little things first and then we can deal with the bigger things. I’m also trying to do the same with my own life.
We talk about our children, my grandchildren and I had the challenging chat with her daughter that had to be had. She is with a mam who seems nice enough but even after meeting him for only 20 minutes those alarm bells went off and I asked her the question, “Darling, do you think he is the one, does he make you laugh, can you talk about anything with him, is he a great lover.”Now I get that may have thrown her but I think as the “special” aunt I can ask these things. Both her mother and I don’t want her to settle for second best we want her to be happy and cherished. Unfortunately what it did do was make her think about her relationship with her man. This meant that she took her anger out on her mother at dinner. I felt so bad and thought perhaps I had overstepped the line and so when we got home I sent her a private message on Facebook, explaining why I asked the hard questions and that I was truly sorry if I had embarrassed or offended her. Her response was wonderful. She was grateful that I had asked as she wasn’t sure how to broach such things with her beautiful mum. I assured her that her mother was perfectly equipped to handle such questions and that believe it or not we were her age once and had the same fears and questions but wasn’t sure if we could talk to our mums about such things. As I have two daughters I was determined that whilst I never wanted to be their best friend that I would always listen and offer what ever advice I thought was appropriate. Anyway the upside was that all is well.
I have a few, of what I like to refer to as “kidney” friends, these are the women that should they need a kidney, I would be at the front of the line.
Over my lifetime I have made heaps of friends, some were stayers but most were not. These were the friends that my mother referred to as fair weather friends, they only contacted you when they needed something. I think I have weeded them out now. Oh trust me there were friendships that I would thought would last a life time but they didn’t and the breakups were hard and hurtful, there are some that even though the break up happened years ago still make me sad because at the time I thought we could weather anything, obviously they did not.
So the point I guess I am trying to make is, treasure the friends you have, if in your lifetime you have friends that you can call in the middle of the night and bail you out of jail or just hug you because even after 7 years you still miss and ache for your mum, they are the ones you want in your life, they will come no matter what, they are the ones you should nurture. Send them cards that tell them you love them, call them at stupid o’clock, just to tell them you love them. Acquaintances will come and go but true friends will love you no matter what.