No, not money-wise, silly. But if we were to value friends as much as we value cash in this society, I would be a freaking high-roller, fat-cat kind of gal.
You know why? Because I have some great people in my life. People I am honored to know, people who humble me with their ginormous hearts, people who have made my life and my kid's lives better just by being themselves.
I wasn't always this blessed in the friend department. In fact, I think it's safe to say that I used to be kind of a lonely, bitchy soul. In a way, I have Big Daddy to thank for making me drop my Debbie Downer personae and turn my frown upside down. It was after he left that I decided it was ok to reach out to the people around me. Not only was it ok, but for someone in my shoes, it was essential.
My friends have saved my life.
One did, quite literally. After the shock of being dumped wore off a little bit, there was a very bleak time in my life where I couldn't picture myself going on without a husband. The shame, the throbbing black spot of pain I had in my chest where my heart used to be, the thought of raising damaged kids, it was just too much for me to bear. I called her one sad afternoon, on one of the weekends the kids were with Big Daddy. I had what I realized later on was my first panic attack, or maybe anxiety attack, whatever. Point was, it felt like I couldn't take one more step into this sad, barren life. For a tiny bit of time, I felt like I didn't want to live. And so I called this certain friend of mine who dropped what she was doing, came over and talked me down off of the imaginary but still terrifying ledge I had been squatting on. She reminded me of what I would miss if I left, how cruel and unfair it would be to do this to my kids, etc. And then she reminded me of the last thing Big Daddy had said as he walked out the door for good. "You're not going to do something stupid like kill yourself, are you?" he had asked.
That did it. The panic passed, the fleeting thoughts of hurting myself over losing someone who would say those words to the mother of his kids as he left...those thoughts left my head that second and have never come back.
All thanks to a friend.
Since then my life has been filled to the brim with people who make me smile. And I keep meeting more. Some I have never even met in person (waving to a few of my eBay and facebook hens...love you!!!), some I have known for eons, some I just met this summer. But I am blessed to know each and every one of them.
What inspired this sappy little Golden Girls moment?
The kids and I just spent a magical, long weekend at my friend's cabin. She and her husband have a beautiful lake home about 2 hours from here. I've been there before, and so have my kids. But this time it was just a little different.
This particular friend of mine has been by my side for the past couple of years, cheering me on when I needed it, handing me a glass of wine when I needed that, holding me up when I couldn't make it on my own (not from the wine, smartass...from the STRESS). She's seen me at my worst and never once judged, never once gave up on me. Even when going through her own life crap, she has been a constant brightness in my life, like a dependable little porch light that is always left on. Something that you look for when you're trying to find your way home in the dark.
She knows that I have, even on my best days, extremely limited financial resources. Isn't that a nice way to say that I'm poor? I thought so.
Anyway. This friend and her husband are comfortable. Very, very comfortable. And I am truly, deeply happy for both of them. I love it when my friends do well, even when I'm not...it's good to know that not all of the people in this world who live the good life are like Paris Hilton. Not that this friend and her hubby are Hilton-rich, but you get the idea. So, they have a lovely, lovely lake home where they spend a good part of the summer. And my friend knew that I didn't have the means to provide my kids with any sort of vacation this summer. I can't even drive us anywhere too far, because my truck is not trustworthy anymore.
So she drove me, and my four kids, up to her cabin late last week. Her husband met us there with their own brood of three.
We have spent the last four days laughing, playing in the water, going tubing, wakeboarding, going on turtle-hunting expeditions, watching a kick ass thunderstorm rumble across a lake, eating like kings (aside from being a friend, she's also the best cook I know), sleeping in, toasting marshmallows over a campfire...she even signed us up for golf lessons. My friend and her husband wouldn't even consider taking a dime from me. I tried, believe me. They refused.
We have had a little vacation. It's past midnight right now, and I should be going to bed. The kids have all passed out, cheeks and foreheads tan and smooth. My face is burned and I have bruises on my ass cheeks from tubing (that water slaps hard, ladies). My friend and her husband and I stayed up late last night watching an old Harrison Ford movie (Presumed Innocent, which has remained extremely watchable after all these years) and after her husband retired for the evening, she and I stayed up way too late and cackled and ate and drank. I'm tired.
But it's finally a good tired. Thanks to a good friend.