We met each other as freshmen in high school. There was a group of 7 of us who hung out together, but Marlene and I had a special bond. She is the friend I've had the longest (almost 40 years)! As teenagers, we drove around the town square on Friday nights, often going out for pizza. There was the night we stalked the boy she had a crush on when he took one of our friends to the school dance. (That boy is now her husband of over 30 years). She was the one I cried to when I found out that I was moving across the state when I was a senior in high school. We visited each other in college and then were in each other's weddings after graduation. Before our kids were born, we'd take turns bringing craft ideas that we could do together each time we visited. After the kids were born, our visits were consumed with kids and sharing the ups and downs that come with parenting. It never mattered how long between our visits, we could always fill our time together with conversation, picking up as if we had just seen each other.
Today was one of those days filled with stories, laughter, and good food. I drove to visit Marlene and we spent the day filling each other in on our kids and husbands. She shared all the preparations for her son's wedding, and as always, we shared titles of good books we're reading. Our afternoon together ended all too quickly. As we hugged good-bye, she reminded me that the next time I hugged her would be at her son's wedding. How does that happen? It seems like it was just yesterday that I was standing next to her when she married Chris and then a year later, she was standing next to me when I married Keith.
As Oprah would say, What I know for sure is that taking the time to nurture these lifelong friendships is one of the most important things you can do. Life throws lots of curve balls and there's nothing like having that special friend who loves you no matter what. They help you through the hard times and celebrate the good times.
I am so glad that Marlene has been in my life.