in praise of friendship

ode to a best friend - heirloom mothering

My friend AnnaLysa (middle beauty in the photo above) just had a baby girl. It is so hard not to be in the same city to witness the cooing and bonding. I’ve been flipping through old journals, snuggling up to memories of good times past since I can’t be with her to celebrate the present. Here’s a snippet I found from an old journal I kept around the time that picture above was taken (2001?), when she and I were co-directing 20+ counselors and 80 kids at summer camp:

She writes songs that capture the essence of camp and sings them to everyone. I stress about how camp might fail then go home and quietly write in my journal. I am in awe of the lack of fear she has about sharing herself, her art, with the outside world. I don’t tell her enough how lovely she really is. I am so glad she’s my friend. I love her!

Over thirty years into our friendship, I am still so glad to call her my friend. Lindsey Mead—a writer whose blog I found, then lost, then happily found again recently—has been writing about friendship this month, and I can relate to her feelings on the subject. She wrote, “A person’s closest friends can tell you an awful lot about them and that who we truly love shows us a lot about who we are” (gosh, I hope that’s true). And, “Friendship is made of attention.” I agree especially with the part about attention, which is why I took Annie’s latest phone call from the bathroom. I didn’t want to miss any wonderful baby details, and it’s the only place I can guarantee my full attention these days.

Here’s my own honest truth about friendship. I think probably the only thing that keeps me ever being a good friend—and there are plenty of times I’m not a good one— is that when I think to myself, Why aren’t my friends paying attention to me?, I’ve trained myself to respond to that feeling by paying attention to them. Works every time.

Here’s hoping you have folks who pay you some attention. You deserve it.


2 thoughts on “in praise of friendship

  1. I LOVE this. When we want attention, we should pay it to others and it miraculously addresses our own lack. This is so true. Also works in other cases – for example, I’ve found that there’s nothing like volunteering or helping others to assuage any feelings of not having enough … xoxo

    1. So true. I came home from volunteering last night and started another purge in our basement. “We already have nice things” keeps me from buying more to fill a void.

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