It’s pathetic, really,what a bad friend I am.
You know that friend you want to bemoan to, share your fears, loneliness and sadness about someone who hasn’t shown up in your life?
Yeah, I’m really bad at being her.
My challenge is, I guess, to borrow from that old movie “The Sixth Sense,” is I see people. Not dead people, mind you, like little Haley Osment saw in the movie.
In my case, I can’t help but see live, real, here, in your life, not in your mind kind of people.
You see who is missing.
I see who is here.
I saw people for my friend, Jennifer.
Jennifer, who was feeling sad, depressed and oh-so-disappointed about her sister-in-law.
“My whole life I wanted a sister,” she shared baring her sadness “And I thought this was my big chance.”
“You want a sister?” I asked just to make sure I was hearing correctly.
“Yes,” she sniffed. “It was only my brother and I growing up. I was so psyched to marry a man with a sister, I thought she was the one I was always waiting for.”
“Oh, someone to share your darkest secrets and fears, someone to giggle with, to splurge on birthday cake, to make goals with, take girls’ trips?”
“Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! And yes!” she felt so understood.
She said all this with a straight face, as she looked at me and our other close friend sitting right in front of her.
Uh, Sisters! Hello!
“Looks like that wish was fulfilled long ago,” I pointed out. “You’re talking about us.”
Took some time for Jennifer to go from “Whoa is me,” to “I have exactly who I wished for all along.” But she got there.
Then, there’s my friend, Emily.
Emily is going to be a grandmother.
Which is news.
Especially since Emily has never had children.
Her husband has no children.
She’s made peace with not having children, but looking into the future and not having children, that’s made her sad for days.
She shared this the other day. In a wave of woe and mourning what surely will never be.
A good friend would’ve sympathized. Mourned with her.
I am not that friend.
Me? I got excited.
“Grandkids are on the way!” I exclaimed.
“How is that possible?” Emily wanted to know thinking for a moment that I’ve lost my mind.
“Won’t it be interesting to find out?” I smiled.
See, even when I can’t tell you exactly who will fill the role, I’ve come to trust they’re either here or on the way.
Emily should know that. She’s the friend who bought a wedding present for me two years before I met the man who is now my husband.
Yes, I’ve been on the other end of this kind of thinking.
I’m going to tell Emily about Dear Reader, Wilda, who wrote to me last week after seeing my column on my Lucky Charm. “My lucky charm came to our family as a high school foreign exchange student more than twenty ago,” she wrote. “Now we visit his family yearly . My natural born children have not had children. He has given us three wonderful grandchildren!”
Wilda is my kind of lady! There she is celebrating the grandchildren who are here, wasting no time on the silliness of biological ties or other grandkids who have yet to arrive.
Wilda sounds like the rockin’ grandmaI know my friend, Emily, will be. Don’t know where those grandkids are coming from, but I know they’re on their way.
Here’s the thing, Dear Reader—I’ve learned to let go the labels and embrace what’s here.
Am I alone in this? Do you “see people, too?” Who has stepped into your life to fill that special role that once looked impossible to fill?
I’d love to hear.
Of course, you’ll probably make me cry.
See, I’m that kind of friend.