“Sustaining friendships over time keeps you honest. They are reminders of mistakes you have made, excuses you have given yourself. These real friends don’t mince words to get you back on track again.
There is always a degree of . . . electricity in friendship, whether it be with men or women.
People you choose to spend time with– there is something pleasing about their physicality to you.
It doesn’t mean you want to sleep with them.
It means you are drawn to them.”
Iris Krakow, The Secret Lives of Wives
I became friends with A through her husband. Her husband is my husband’s best friend.
“Reminders of mistakes you have made”
We were sort of thrown together one Fall when her husband invited my husband out to speak. At this time no one was close or even best friends.
I tagged along, part of the husband-wife team that did not speak that weekend.
I shadowed the wife, A, and her three children.
A was huge with child. As I observed her open-faced pleasure in being a mother, I could not relate. At the time I didn’t even want children.
All I wanted to do was talk about my book on womanhood, apologetics and my burgeoning but still veiled feminism. She wanted to take pictures of her brood out on the lake.
I thought, again, of the sacrifices of marrying a man who did itinerant work with practical strangers you were supposed to like.
Don’t Mince Words
That summer my husband invited them out to visit Colorado. I still didn’t really anticipate a lot of heart-to-heart conversations, but I was agreeable. A was not going to bring all her children, just the new baby.
Moments stand out, like when A refused to get frazzled when her kid interrupted us, and the way she really listened to me. She even let me push her, challenge her thinking about her own beauty.
The week we introduced them to summer in the Rocky Mountains changed us all forever.
Choose to Spend Time
We could not last a year without seeing each other, without being together again. Besides my family, theirs is the only other group of people who feel like home to me.
They would visit or we would visit and stay crammed into their three bedroom house with their four children. They would sleep on a lumpy pull-out sofa and give us their bed so we could keep Finn in a bedroom with us.
All eight of us would take turns using one shower.
I would give their children watercolor lessons while the guys played Warhawk. We explored Boston and the Art Gallery. A and I would take walks and knit together. We would savor those days, living rest together. We’d stay up much too late each night to have good conversation or compare Apple products.
And we would feel like we had experienced the best vacation of the year, Ritz and Hilton hotels from speaking engagements notwithstanding.
Our friendship has everything to do with the happiness of knowing they are near.
These are the friends that I miss in a way that I think most miss their family.
These are the friends that I repeatedly choose to spend time with. This summer during a week Dale attends a writer’s conference, we’re already strategizing how I can stay with them and add Finn to their brood.
And when we’re together A isn’t the only one snapping pictures of our kids at the beach.
As I look back over the five years of our friendship I can see how they’ve changed me and I’ve changed them.
I love how our closeness has made me different than I would have been.