"Friendship is like a prism through which the many variations of beauty are revealed in our lives."
Friendship has always been important to me. I may be a rock but I'm not the proverbial "island". I have been blessed with wonderful friends. At times I have been cursed with less wonderful ones. My friends are an eclectic, mismatched bunch of very good people.
I have a long list of acquaintances but my inner circle is a rather short list. When I give a dinner party for that "inner circle" we fit nicely at a table for twelve. There is no messiah and there may be no holy grail but there is surely a Mary Magdalene, a Peter and a Paul. There is probably even a Judas.
My dearest friends are from all walks of life from electrician to best-selling author, from mini golf partner to producer and from stay at home mom to a boozy chanteuse. Let's not leave out the chubby gay married guys who argue like the couple from Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf. The conversations are wild and head-spinning. I love each of them for their individuality and strength, devotion and foibles.
Being a full time caregiver has shaken some low-hanging fruit from my tree of friends. I may not be as much fun as I was when I was younger and carefree. I certainly cannot be spontaneous. My friend time has to be planned and much of it has been reduced mostly to phone calls and emails but its value certainly has not been diminished.
I had one friend from high school with whom I shared nearly thirty years of my life. We were so close for so long that our other friends regarded us as an old married couple. I think we may actually have been closer than many married couples. I saw her though her brief problem with alcohol. We were there for one another over lost pets. We vacationed together. We dined together. She was by my side through business successes and failures.
The stresses of my life as caregiver were more than she wanted. When I could no longer travel on a whim or dine out several nights a week, our friendship became a casualty. To put it directly, she abandoned me.
Another of my wonderful friends has been there for me forever. We are family. When times are good we laugh and celebrate. When times are bad we are one another's rock. Lucy is the lucky recipient of my many phone calls from the emergency room. When she got married I was the luckiest because I got a new best friend in her husband Joe. Lucy and Joe are quick to offer help and always the first on the scene in a crisis. Together they gave me the highest honor of being godfather to their first daughter and honorary godfather to the second.
While some friendships waned others flourished. One friendship blossomed and grew because we had caregiving in common. I was well into my role when she was just beginning hers. When she was overwhelmed with the task at hand a mutual friend suggested she give me a call. As the local pro I am often called upon for support but this was special.
Ms. Alice and I had met casually in the past at social or theater functions but we really didn't know one another. Now through our common bond of caregivers we discovered how much else we had in common. We are both from theater. We are both artists. We are both bitchy. Most importantly we have the same sense of family and duty. Not only did we become strong mutual support but most definitely members of our "mutual admiration society". No one understands the life of a caregiver better than another caregiver.
"A true friend is someone who is there for you when he'd rather be anywhere else."
Maybe it's that I am of a certain age or maybe it is an eventuality of technology but this past year has been a year of reconnecting with friends from my past. Somewhere in the early middle years we disconnect from some old, true, loved friends. No arguments. No traumatic event. Some friendships just fade. We get sidetracked with career choices. We get preoccupied with building our lives and families. We meet new friends. We drift geographically. What doesn't change is the seminal connection we had with our friends. The good memories are stored and cherished. These friends were the building blocks of our lives, without whom we would not be who we are at present.
At fifty we are mostly settled into our lives. Friends' children are sufficiently grown. Careers are mostly chugging along. Few of us have much need to prove ourselves. We have returned to our roots and our old friends. There is comfort in old friendships. We share commonality and secrets. Perhaps in reconnecting with old friends we are making an effort to reconnect with ourselves. Maybe we're trying to recapture a bit of our youth. Maybe we're just more comfortable with ourselves.
In the past year I reconnected strongly with a girl I went all though elementary and high school with. We have a strong bond of common past but we also admire the people we have become. I most recently met with my best friend from high school. We were inseparable back then. We shared everything. We grew into men together. We could have been characters from Summer of 42!
Lawrence became the important doctor we always knew he would. I found my way though antiques businesses and theater and writing as we knew I would. Twenty years had lapsed with only a brief email now and then until he re-appeared on my doorstep with his bright and lovely daughter. He had brought her back east to hunt colleges and included a side-trip to his hometown to show her around [and to show her off].
Twenty years were shed as quickly as anyone could imagine. We reminisced and laughed and remembered and we were 17 again if only for a few hours. We have such different lives in different parts of the country but none of that was perceptible. We looked at one another and saw the kid, the best friend, the mischief-makers that we were.
Old [good] friends are like that. Years can pass and you fall right back into rhythms and patterns. There is great comfort in that. Within my small circle of friends we know that a little time or distance or even life's interruptions don't matter. One phone call and we're there for each other.
"Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives, and remembering what one receives."
From the beautiful Hudson Valley, New York, United States
Thank you for taking a look. I am a 50-something year old single male Creative Consultant [writer, producer, director, image consultant] who until recently has stayed at home to care for my 1920's vintage mother who was in late stages of Alzheimer's Disease. My mission with this blog is to share the ups and downs of everyday life with humor and honesty.
Please remember that this blog is for entertainment purposes and not meant to offer medical or legal advice. Always seek the help of a professional. The author is neither a healthcare professional nor a legal professional. Advice and information given is anecdotal and strictly from personal experience. Every situation is unique and thus requires a specific plan of care.
Furthermore, all content remains the sole property of Christopher E. Lanni and cannot be sold or copied without permission of the owner.