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This past year, I've spent a lot of time whining and complaining about my oldest child going to college, my youngest child going to kindergarten, and my middle child and only son not letting me snuggle him in public anymore. Admittedly, I've been a downer. I write another blog--No More Bellyaching--that is aptly named for the lack of whining and complaining. But, I get paid to write that one. This one is mainly to empty garbage out of my cluttered mind so I can write the other one.

And with that marvelous introduction, we're off.

Last weekend, my best friend arrived from Florida. We have clandestine meetings a couple times a year, when she comes into town, to visit her family. She doesn't tell her grandparents--who live very close and expect her entire visit to be devoted to them--when she's arriving and then hides out with me for a few days. We spend these days doing mostly nothing, laughing, and spoiling my children. She has no children and refers to herself as my kids' "favorite fake aunt," which gives her license to buy them all sorts of nonsense they don't need but really want. They share a lot of conspiratorial whispers and giggles and make me really squirmy and uncomfortable at the amount of money being spent on glitter, video games, and coffee. Respectively. Remember my kids are 6, 12, and 18.

This weekend was a lot of that. But thrown in with it, we had some really deep conversations. She is the very first friend I made when I went back to public school after a 5-year homeschooling stint. She was and is one of the most genuine people I have ever met. Although we were only friends for three years before her parents moved her to the Sunshine state, we packed a lot into those years. Enough that we are still best friends 26 years later.

We've had fights and gaps in our friendship. It's hard to stay in touch when you can't hang out together all the time like most best friends do. Once we didn't talk for nearly ten years. Although as we discussed this the other day, it was a lot of, "No...10 years? Couldn't have been!" But it really was. In those ten years, we both went through some dramatic life changes. I had another baby. She lost the only baby she'd ever carry.

Sometimes we get caught up in the missed time. Feeling guilty that we weren't there for the other one during difficult times. It's easy to slide down that slippery slope, but we catch ourselves. We catch each other. That's what we have always done and what we will always do. The past is gone; we'll never get it back. But we will also never take our friendship for granted again.

Last year for my birthday she sent me a card with two old ladies lying on the beach all wrinkled fabulosity in their bikinis. It said: Another year older, another year closer to the inevitable: Moving to Florida. Someday. This morning, when I was counting my blessings and cleaning pink glitter off every surface in my bathroom, I counted that girl twice.


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