I just read that today is “Best Friends” Day. Who knew? I guess we all need something to celebrate every day so why not?
Except I do not know exactly who I should celebrate on this auspicious occasion. Because I do not have a best friend.
Now before you go feeling all sorry for me, hear me out. I have lots of friends. Lots and lots. Sometimes I have a difficult time keeping track of all my friends, remembering their birthdays (thank you Facebook!), keeping up with their lives, making time to get together and just, you know, doing the “friend thing” to the best of my ability. Sometimes I’m busy, sometimes I’m lazy and sometimes I’m in full-on cocoon mode and have no interest in socializing. Sometimes I feel guilty and sometimes I feel lucky but I never ever feel like I am lacking in the friend department.
But this “best friend” thing? How do you choose?
When I was a kid I always had a bestie. It was part of growing up, I reckon, having that one special person always in your corner, always with your back, always there to share all your secrets and all your dreams and all your popsicles. I think it wasn’t until my later high school years that I abandoned the bestie concept and adopted many friends, from many groups, for many reasons. I had a best drinking buddy. A best theatre pal. A best cottage crony. A best musical mate. All different people and all “best” at what they brought to my table. I no longer insisted that one and only one person fulfill all my needs. I created a village.
When my son was about 14 he asked me who my best friend was. He knew there were lots of special women (and a few men) in my life. He had seen me interact with them countless times. He understood that some went back decades and some only years and he was flummoxed. He couldn’t figure out which one was “best”. And he needed to know.
“I don’t have a best friend,” I answered. “I have lots of friends.”
“But one of them must be your best friend,” he countered. “One of them must be your favourite, right?”
Because much like in a village, every friend performs a particular role. Every friend brings a unique talent to my world. A special perspective, a singular skill-set, an exclusive energy that I desire and appreciate and DO NOT RATE.
And that’s what my son’s 14 year old brain couldn’t comprehend. He could not contemplate a scenario when putting things in their proper order wasn’t necessary. Rank your pals, mama! Know their worth! Anoint someone #1!
I had no need to do that at the end of high school, I had no need to do that when my kid was a teenager and I still have no need to do that. There is no “best”. There is only “best for that moment” or “best for that purpose”.
When I need to dig deeper than I want to but know I need to, I go to J. If I needed someone to save my life or at the very least get me to the hospital, C would be my first call. If I need to fill my soul with music and poetry, I will always beckon S. If I need beautiful sisterhood in close proximity, M is my girl. If I want sass and spunk coupled with insightful spirit, nobody beats T. If I want history and all the glorious wisdom that comes with it, I’ve got another T and A and H and F. The list goes on and on and I am overflowing with gratitude for it.
Sometimes it also goes the other way. Sometimes I am the one who is needed. And I gladly show up because those friendships are every bit as important.
I know women who purport that their mate is their best friend. I love my mate but no, he is not. Neither is my sister, my son or my dog. They are all awesome. There just really and truly is no best.
This past week a dear old friend of mine lost her best friend. And my heart breaks for her. I can acknowledge and appreciate their special bond and I can empathize with her pain and I can mourn her loss profoundly. They were twin spirits. And now she is one.
In my own sphere there are so very many whose loss would devastate me. I guess that makes me blessed. To love and be loved by so many? Lucky me.
Most of the special people I thought were twin spirits have come … and gone. Perhaps that is why I no longer subscribe to the bestie thing? Maybe it has let me down once too often?
I go back to the village thing. I’m a girl who needs a village. Call me greedy or call me flighty. You can even call my crazy. I personally think I am quite clever. I have figured out what I need and I have created it. With the help of an entire village of beautiful, loving, caring, special, unique, incredible souls.
You are ALL my best friends. So thank you, each and every one. My heart is filled with gratitude and love.
Happy “It Takes A Village” Day! Thank you for being in mine.