Monday, January 21, 2013

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Is there anything much more delightful than spending time with an old friend? (And by "old," I mean long-established, not advanced in age. NOT.)

Last week, I got to do just that with my friend Dana. She and I have known each other since we were 12. We only lived about a block away from each other then and spent a lot of time going back and forth to each other's houses. I liked to go to hers, because her mom bought Hostess Ho Ho's and Ding Dongs and kept them in the freezer for us. Dana liked to come to my house, because my mom baked cookies.

We were close friends throughout junior high and high school. CLOSE. Like teach-me-how-to-use-tampons close.

Then we graduated from high school and our lives diverged. Dana chose marriage and kids, raising two very amazing boys and trying to raise her husband (they really were just babies when they got married). I don't know how she did it, but she also managed to attend college in between all that and then became a writer. A real one. Not just newspaper articles, which she did as well, but she's written BOOKS. 

I went straight to college, then out into the big world. Our lives could not have been more different.

(And make fun of Facebook if you will, but it is a wonderful tool for getting back in touch with old friends, ones you wish you'd never lost track of, ones who were an important part of making you who you are today. Dana and I reconnected several years ago, thanks to Facebook.)

And it's as if we were never apart. Some friendships are just LIKE that.

Dana lives near Los Angeles now (ironically, very near where I lived when I was out there, although we didn't live in the area at the same time), but, lucky me, was in St. Louis to visit her first grandchild (a darling baby girl, in case you wondered). We arranged to meet in the middle for a good visit.

We took over a booth at a Panera for hours. We laughed. We cried. We looked at my boobs (in the bathroom, in a handicapped stall, and not without raising the eyebrows of a woman who was in the next stall, who probably thought she had somehow stumbled into a bus station restroom).

It was hard to say goodbye at the end of the afternoon, but the good news is Dana plans to make frequent trips back to see that sweet baby girl. And when she does, we will make arrangements to meet again. We also have another girls get-away in the works with our high school friends Abbie and Melody (watch out, Vegas, we may be heading your way).

My friends have been so very important to me since my diagnosis. Not that they weren't BEFORE, but since then, they have been an invaluable part of my recovery, regardless whether they are a few blocks away or a few thousand miles away. They make me laugh. They build me up. They let me spill my guts. They take my mind off of things I don't want to think about. They pray for me. They admire my boobs. 

Never doubt how much I value all of you. 

Now, bring it on in for a group hug.

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