Wednesday, July 22, 2009

With a little help from my friends

Last night I was passing through Lexington, Ky., on business and had the chance to meet some old and dear friends for dinner. The four of us don't see each other very often, so when we do, we try to get in a lot of laughs, and typically a lot of food, in a very short time.

I've known these girls for more than 15 years. We've seen each other through two divorces, a house fire, two adoptions, four kids (soon to be five), the death of two parents, the illness of a couple more, and more job changes and bad breakups than I care to remember. They are one of the only reasons I remained sane during my dad's unfortunate incarceration. We've laughed and cried together, given and received advice, and practiced primal scream therapy on each other. We see each other only a few times a year, but when we get together, it's like we've never been apart. I love these girls like sisters.

We disturbed the peace in a Lexington steakhouse for more than two hours, laughing loud enough to attract the attention of the tables around us (well, okay, that was just me). As I headed for home, I was still laughing to myself about some of the best quotes of the night:

"If I had your life, I would just kill myself!"

"Let's go make a f#%&ing memory!!"

"Everyone has their cross to bear. My mother-in-law is mine."

Evenings like last night remind me of how blessed I am to have such good friends in my life, and how rare that kind of unconditional acceptance is. Not that long ago, most of the people I counted among my best friends turned their backs on me (funny what having a convicted felon for a father will do for your popularity). But these girls never did anything but love me and support me through the whole mess. What would I have done without them, and without the handful of other friends who stuck with me through it all?

I can't tell you how lost I felt when so many people I had loved turned away from me. Just when I needed them most, they were gone. I spent a long time feeling sorry for myself, counting up all the friends I didn't have. But somewhere along the way I realized that the few true friends I still have are worth far more than all those who had deserted me. It's a shame it took a crisis to make me see how valuable they are.

So, the point of this post is to say thanks to Em, Allison and Leigh Anne -- not just for the much-needed laughs last night, but for being there all along the way. You've loved me fat and thin, good hair and bad, bitchy or not. You've loved me when I didn't love myself, and most of all, you've made me laugh when I needed it. I love you, girls!

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