Friends are one of life's greatest blessings - true friends enrich our life immeasurably by accepting us for who we are and choosing to share their lives with us. As I look back over 50+ years I am so grateful for the friends I have gathered along the way - both old and new, and those somewhere in between.
I have another friend who I've known since I started Primary School - she and I have walked very similar paths, she was one of my bridesmaids and we are still friends now, seeing each other every so often to catch up on the news. It helps that our husbands knew each other from "way back when" so they always have plenty to talk about when we get together.
There are many friends from my high school days and from days when I was a young mum, whose lives are running parallel with mine - our facebook updates mirror each other's - our children's engagements and weddings, then grandbabies, travel, work, leisure - so many similarities. We aren't close but we still care and we're still interested in each other's lives and how they are playing out over the years.
Then there is a handful of close friends - the ones who have been there through thick and thin - the ones who listen and empathize through the good times and through the painful times. The friends who always have time to catch up for a coffee and a chat. Some I've known for decades, others for less time, but each has a special place in my heart. These friends help me laugh, they've been there when I've cried, they share their hearts with me and I share mine with them.
Friendships take on many shapes and forms, but loyalty, trust, humour, authenticity, empathy, commitment, and love are all part of the mix. As I've gotten older, the number of friends has whittled away with distance, circumstances and choices that moved us in different directions, but those friends who have a place in my heart are more valuable than I can say and more appreciated than they will probably ever know......maybe I should mention it at our next coffee and catch up!