I have a couple of “grown up” friends – by “this” I mean that they are a bit older than me, when they look in the rear view mirror they can see where they were when I am where I am now. Make sense? They have daughters that are my age and a bit younger but they definitely could not be my mother(s)… Definitely not.
It was only by a divine scheme that I found these women. Happened to live with one while Mark and I were engaged, then sort of met the others through her, it goes on. I forget now, it seems like they have been my friends for a long, long time. Now we run together (I am on hiatus because my current run is short, slow and gaspy and I don’t want to bug them with the agonizing sluggishness), work together, spend here and there weekend nights together, go to church together. One is Jack’s godmother.
Recently I encountered a challenging predicament and found myself sitting on the chair that hugs you in the living room staring out the blackened front window wondering what the hell am I going to do? One of my grown up friends was in another country. I called another one. This one is dealing with the fact that her mother—whom she loves perhaps more than any other human being on earth—has cancer. These days her mother lives with her because her treatments are in town, she is from out of town, and my grown up friend is taking care of her. She also takes care of her daughters, her about-to-be-born-first granddaughter, her husband, her middle daughter’s dog. I really shouldn’t have called her, considering her current load. But I wasn’t sure who else to call so I called her.
“Hi!” she said. It was 9pm.
“Hi. What are you doing?”
“Watching TV. What’s up?”
“I need help.”
So of course I told her, and of course she swooped down like Batman off of a roof jumps, gliding into action with a dizzying ability that makes you feel like a ten-story free fall can truly be softened with a black sheet. That’s how these grown up friends are, always knowing what to do and not panicking and loving me as if we had been friends since before they had their daughters. She talked me down, which was really what I needed more than anything, anyway. She also helped me figure out an answer and took on 90% of the ensuing implementation.
I think it is rare for women in my generation, life stage, place to have grown up friends. We tend to flock together with our peers and eye grown ups with a certain suspicion mingled with a bit of fear of aging. Plus, where does one even find a grown up friend? That said, I think that having these kinds of friends is tremendously comforting, delightful, and at times, helpful. I think that my grown up friends have helped me figure out a lot about my insecurities, being married, work, friendship and dressing well. They love with a perfectly pure kind of love, not mingled in with jealously or bitterness. I think that we all really need grown up friends.