Today is the birthday of one of my oldest and dearest friends. We have spent many days and nights through the many years that we have known each other laughing until we cried, crying because we were either so very over joyed or so very sorry for the other’s loss or sadness, talking each other’s ears off or sitting together by a warm fire in comfortable silence while our kids and husbands were off doing other things. We have celebrated innumerable birthdays and milestones in our own lives and the lives of our husbands and our children together. I cannot imagine the years that have passed without her and her family in my life.

We have seen each other through the birth of children, a miscarriage, the loss of a parent, the trials, celebrations and tribulations of raising children, family vacations, birthdays, graduations, communions, moves to new homes and many other of life’s celebrations and trials that the years have brought our way. She has traveled several hours to be here for me when she could tell from my voice on the phone earlier that day that her presence would mean the world to me. These are the things that make friendships last forever. These are the things that make it seem like no time has passed when we get together despite the pages on the calendar flying by us in between visits.

There are several things that I hold in my heart as wishes for my children. To have friendships as special and loving as this is one of those wishes. I hope that as my boys grow that they are blessed to find and keep such wonderful, dear, special friends. Their lives will be so much fuller and richer, beyond that which money can measure, because of those friendships. Our boys have seen these friendships firsthand and have seen the years of love and laughter. They have come to know how very special this thing called friendship can be and I hope that they find it for themselves.

I have often told them, as has my husband, that friendship is special and to be tended to with great care. I have many times pointed out to my boys that while other folks may have many “friends” I am lucky to have a few friends that I can call my “3 am friends”. These are the friends that I know I could call at 3 a.m. with a request that they come because I need them and they would be there regardless of the distance simply because they were needed, without any question or any hesitation.  To be blessed with these friends is truly a gift that one holds so very close to the heart. I hope that my boys find their own “3 am friends” and they keep them close throughout their lives.

This weekend, I will be so very blessed and fortunate to have my very dear friend Kirby and two of my other very old and dear friends, Ellen and Gordon, coming to share a special event in our family with us. They should know how very much this means to me and how very special it will be to share it with them.

As the sign that hangs on our wall says: It takes a long time to grow old friends.

Happy Birthday, my dear, dear friend!