Friday, November 16, 2007

A Tribute to Fortysomething Friendship

"With each true friendship we build more firmly the foundation on which the peace of the whole world rests."
~Mahatma Gandhi

I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately.

On Monday night, I got to have dinner with my "birthday sister" and celebrate our birthdays 1 month late. Several years ago I met Nancie, who is my colleague in our Seattle office, and we immediately hit it off. Then we discovered that we were born on the same day, October 6, exactly 10 years apart. We'd both lived abroad (she in Chile and me in Japan); love to read and travel; experienced infertility and other losses (she is a breast cancer survivor); married funny, wonderful men; and balance motherhood with our careers.

Once you reach your 30s or 40s, a new friendship is a rare gift.

When I had Nicholas, Nancie came down to Portland (battling rush-hour traffic on a Friday afternoon from Seattle to Portland!) the weekend after I came home from the hospital. She did the best thing possible for our family: she spent high-quality time with Chris and Kieran, taking them all over town to do fun things and treating them as if they were the most special kids in the world. We asked Nancie and her husband Dave to be godparents to Nicholas, because they are fantastic parents and role models and know how to make children feel special.

Kieran and his buddy "Nancie B" (as he calls her)

At Nicholas' Post-baptismal Blessing

At dinner on Monday, Nancie and I talked about the choices we have been making about our own friendships. At this point, life is too precious to spend time with people who do not warm our souls or make us laugh.

For my birthday this year, I asked Mike if we could spend time with a couple that we had not seen for almost a year. We met them through the NICU Family Advisory Board, and our friendship has grown and flourished over the years, even though we really do not see each other often enough! We had a fantastic dinner at Mother's Restaurant in downtown Portland, and that adult dinner with friends was the best possible birthday present for me!

With our dear friends Catherine and Doug

In September, on a business trip to Boise, I reconnected with a college friend who also was in Japan with me, whom I had not seen for 10 years! Tami and I had a great dinner together, and it was truly like no time had passed at all. I left our evening together committed to seeing her more frequently and staying in touch better.

This summer I made a new friend, which is truly difficult to do once you leave college and the arena of shared experiences. Shelia and I spent a lot of time on the porch swings and following children around at Holden Village, and I discovered we have tons of things in common--love of reading; crafts; a laid-back but attachment-oriented, fun approach to parenting; and the fact that we both lived in Japan and we both have three children. She has a wonderful, irreverent approach to life and conversation. I knew we had a lot in common, but what really brought it home to me was the first time I went into their bathroom and discovered she had chosen the exact same, unusual bathroom tile that I had! Too funny! Unfortunately, she and her family moved to Idaho a few months ago, so it's ever more important to commit to staying in touch. I truly feel that her friendship is a rare gift, because we all become so stuck in our ways as we age and do not reach out to others as easily. It helps that our children have hit it off so well!


Then there are our dear friends Neal and Annette, who have been taking Nicholas lately on several weekday mornings, so Mike can actually get a chance to do some writing. This has been a blessed gift for him, and for me too because he's happier when he's able to write! Nicholas has been developing a very special bond with them, and we are so happy they are part of our "village" that's helping us raise our children.

Neal and Annette

These are just a few of the people I've been thinking about lately as I think about our wonderful friends. We are truly blessed to have a wide community of supportive, caring, and fun friends to share our lives. I could blog all day about you! Thank you for blessing us with your presence.

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