By the time I graduated from high school, I think I had read Anne of Green Gables no less than 100 times. I adored everything about Anne and Diana’s relationship, so I was certain it would happen for me.
At that time I really thought that I would have that one friend from high school that I walked arm-in-arm down the lane each visit home. But that’s not how it worked for me. Instead I made friends in Biology labs and study groups. One of those friends is still, 15 years after our first meeting, very dear to my heart. I started college as a double major in music and biology and because of that was introduced to two girls who later served as bridesmaids in my wedding and were among the first people I told I was pregnant.
For me, the scariest thing about making friends was that once school was over, there weren’t mixers or dorm rooms or study groups to help me. I spent 3 semesters in grad school following my return home and I cannot tell you a single name of the people in my classes. I commuted and worked full time… There weren’t enough hours in the day. When I started my first professional employment, on September 29th, 2003, I was in the same orientation group as a girl who became my “Diana” for years. And on the day she moved an hour away, I stood in my home and sobbed deep, suffocating sobs because my friend was gone.
I was crushed when she moved, because now I had a major void in my life. We saw each other on a near daily basis and who would even want to spend that much time with me?!
This is the point in my writing where I tell you that for me, there isn’t so much a kindred spirit as a complimentary spirit. This friend I’m telling you about was my Diana because she served as the calm voice of reason to my fly-off-the-handle emotional responses. Because if I am anything, it is emotional. I cry. A lot. So although we are not two peas in a pod, we fit together like two puzzle pieces. Different, but perfect.
Since this time, I have made two close friends. What?! I know. I have two of them. And I even talk to them on a very regular basis. And when I’m with them, I’m honest and open. Now I am. When we met and even up until about 3 years ago, I was still pretty guarded with my reality, but now I am brave. I am brave because they are the puzzle pieces that complete my life. This week marks 10 years since the day I met one of those friends. The other friend… well, she came into my life in 2008, but it wasn’t until July 19th 2009 that I realized if this woman was willing to stick out finding a solution to my nursing woes, she was a real friend.
I am the sort of person content to only have a friend or two. In fact, I feel guilty when I call someone my friend and we aren’t much more than acquaintances! Regardless of how I feel about the actual friend label my goal, as I encourage my children to be brave, is to also encourage those relationships. I want them to learn how to be a good friend so that when those kindred and complementary spirits come along, they can fully embrace the experience. And who knows? Perhaps these relationships my children are building will be ones that stand the test of time and life.