As we get older, the list of things we recognize have gone underappreciated all our lives keeps growing: coffee, brief moments of silence, sleep, fast metabolism, etc.
When it comes to people we’ve lost, it’s easy to look back on our memories and the moments we wish we would have soaked in just a little more. My grandfather passed away six years ago, and I still pause every now and then to hear his voice. I remember it so vividly. It makes me smile, but it also hurts my heart because there are few things I wouldn’t give for my girls to hear that happy voice, to feel those bear hugs, to be loved by the personification of kindness — the very best man.
Loss, time, maturity and motherhood constantly have me reflecting on those precious moments. It’s not that I drown in the regret I have for the things I didn’t do, but I’m doing my best to focus on the ways I can avoid regret by loving the ones who have loved me so well…as hard as possible.
When I think of those people, one of the first that comes to mind is a friend I’ve been blessed enough to have in my life for over 25 years.
You know, THAT friend…the friend we take for granted because we know she’ll always be there.
For me, this friend is like a sister. Her name is Mary Beth.
That Friend Who Never Gave Up On Me
She’s the friend who has always loved me for our differences rather than in spite of them. Growing up, she was incredibly popular. Her social calendar was full. I was awkward and often actively working to find a way to avoid following the crowd…even if it was hers.
Still, she invited me everywhere. She jokingly rolled her eyes at my discomfort or laughed at my awkwardness. She did her absolute best to include me always, and I never made it easy.
She’s THAT friend.
That Friend Made of Honor
She’s the friend who was the obvious choice for my maid of honor. But, “obvious” apparently just didn’t do it for me at that time…because I didn’t even think to ask her. Maybe because she wasn’t the “exciting” choice. That choice wouldn’t shock anyone. So, I didn’t give her the special treatment or acknowledgment she deserved…the “thank you for sticking around for 20+ years.”
Still, she got up at my rehearsal dinner and gave a genuine, tearful speech. She was selfless. She was just happy for me.
She’s THAT friend.
That Friend Who Deserved More
She’s the friend who was standing in the hospital hallway after my first c-section. In fact, the second I held her little boy at the hospital in October of 2016 was the second I decided I was ready to have a baby. I just couldn’t let her go on that journey without me. I found out I was pregnant the following January.
We both found out we were pregnant with our second babies within the same month. I don’t think either of us had any idea the other was working on growing our family. When I learned I had a miscarriage a couple months later, I experienced a great loss, but so did she. She lost my excitement, my support and my regular check-ins. Until I was pregnant again months later, I couldn’t be the friend she deserved during that time. I was navigating a handful of emotions and a tinge of jealousy, while she was simply trying to enjoy her pregnancy.
Still, she gave me space and never once made it about her … even when it should have been.
She’s THAT friend.
That Friend Who Feels My Pain
I’ll never forgot the hug she gave me at my grandfather’s funeral. I held it together until I saw her. She’s the only friend in my life that truly understood what I was going through because she knew my grandfather. She knew what the world had lost.
We didn’t say anything. Just stood there and hugged. She’s that friend.
If you have a friend who’s been around for 20+ years and loves you like a sister, send her a quick text to tell her you miss her.
If you have a friend who feels genuine joy as the result of your own happiness, give her a call and tell her you love her.
If you have a friend who cries with you at your greatest losses, a friend who loves your children as if they were her own, a friend who feels like home…don’t forget to thank her.
Now, more than ever, in the midst of chaos, new motherhood and unclear futures, I’m so thankful for the constant that is my lifelong best friend. Aren’t you?