We've been friends for so long, I don't really even remember meeting them; its as if they came as part of a freshman welcome package - a room in Dickinson, a Rodney Dining hall meal plan, and some best friends. One turned 40 almost a year before me, the other - the youngest - celebrates her birthday today.
Upon reaching 40, I've realized that I've known some of my closest friends (including my husband) for just over half my life. After all that time, people become a permanent part of your landscape. We've traveled through so many significant milestones and not-so-important moments that have colored the years. Driver's ed, prom, college graduation, Vivarin fueled late night studying along with the post-final exam crash, first job, first pink slip, weight gain, weight loss, our first drink, swearing that we've taken our last drink, marriage, divorce, birth of babies, loss of parents, sickness and recovery, moving to a new city, traveling to a new country. Close friends remember when you used to wear a name belt (or still do), they remember the crazy hair cut you had way back when you were trying to find yourself. They tell stories about how cute you thought you were when pledging your sorority or how ugly you were when pledging your fraternity. They remember, or were, your first crush. You can make them change their plans for elopement into a wonderfully fun, small destination wedding. They will open the door to their home and your band of children, allowing you to make their city your vacation spot.
Over the years, we still get together for annual dinners and to play tennis. We compare notes on raising our kids and call each other to find out what to wear to the upcoming birthday/wedding/party/shower. On late night phone calls or lounging in hotel rooms, we laugh for no reason at all, or for all the reasons we don't have to mention. (For a certain group, just the mention of a wet rain coat is guaranteed to begin convulsions of laughter.) As I look forward into my life, I know it will be full because they will be there for the years of graying, slowing down, and becoming those old women who dress too sexy, date too young, talk too loud, and carry a big purse.
And I can't imagine it any other way.