I am thirty. I have a child, a husband, and a dog. But also equally important, I have a best friend. I don’t mean an acquaintance at work or a neighbor whom I really like, I mean an honest-to-goodness best friend. We have walked together almost every path of our adult lives: engagements, weddings, pregnancy, even the death of a parent. I have told her that her taste is sometimes bad; she has reminded me that I am negative and a defeatist. We have cried together, laughed together, mourned together, and continue to grow together (sometimes as much as fifty pounds each when we were 8 1/2 months pregnant).
I view our friendship as a commitment to each other as well as a legacy to our children. When our families join together for dinner, outings at the zoo, or just playing in our backyard, the adults relax and commiserate about the suffering we endure raising two toddlers. Yet it’s also an opportunity for our friendship to set an example for our children. We’re showing them that the strength you gain in life will almost certainly come from a friend who holds you up (or holds you down when said toddler knocks you in the head with a plastic hammer). Granted, our toddlers are too busy throwing sand, biting, and kicking to notice, but we are laying the foundation.
I have tried so many times to put into words what I want my son to learn. I would like to leave a little instruction book or a cheat sheet on life. Be honest, loving, smart, caring, yet all of this can be summed up by just being a good friend. I want him to have friends that push him toward excellence and that hold the ladder of his success. I also want him to have friends with roots, friends who can call a spade a spade, who know when he needs to be grounded. Quite honestly, I want him to have a best friend.
I go back to my own best friend, who lovingly refers to me as “Funhater McNaysayer.” My best friend, who is so slow that her twenty-one-month-old daughter already shouts, “Move, Mommy!” My best friend who refuses to buy anything that doesn’t have what she calls “good texture” (translation: horribly uncomfortable jute pillows and sisal rugs).
But in all fairness, my best friend is the person who has dreams for me to be more than I can dream for myself, the one who pushes me to pass my own expectations. Some days she is my anchor in the storm, and other days just the storm, but her unconditional love and acceptance have made me challenge myself and chase a few rainbows, and this, I believe, has made me complete.
When not working for a hospice organization, Penny Hagin finds time to read, procrastinate on her true passion of becoming a writer, and entertain her friends with long-winded, descriptive stories. Raised in Louisiana, Ms. Hagin now lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her husband, Joe, and two children, River and Lola.
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