stand by me.

Best friend! Bestie! Homie! Mate! Amigo! Pal!

When I was a kid, that one was easy. A best friend was the person whose entire scope of duties was to be available to go out and play.  Once junior high school hit, you had to be able to discuss boys and other cheerleaders, swap clothes, and be available for sleepovers, but still... limited duties.

In high school, the term best friend was confusing and kinda scary for me. It became significant. That was when the role of best friend became complex and time consuming. I had a best friend for many years, but then she moved away. I was lost for a bit and afraid. Afraid of trying to make this commitment again. Afraid that no one person could fit the bill, or worse yet that I couldn't fit the bill for someone else. the role of best friend is complex and time consuming.  There are a lot of responsibilities.  A Lot of them.

Enter the friendship tree. More than one best friend. Genius! I love the idea of a tree, because it keeps growing and the roots just become stronger and deeper. It was a realization that gave me both relief and joy.  I could have several "besties" and I could be "bestie" to several people in return. score! Everybody wins and no one person gets the whole burden joy.  It could be overwhelming.  And because life can dosey-doe friends in and out of your life, the friendship tree ensures that you will always have a bestest friend whenever you need one.  This is important stuff dudes.  You can keep your government shut down crisis, I need to know who to call if I get my feelings hurt or if the paint color I just picked is too dark.

This is kinda how it works.

Best Friend: The backer. quite simply, this friend has your back. at. all. times. no matter what. they are there to give you unconditional support. unconditionally. the question is not if you are right or wrong, they will fight for you. period. I have a particular friend I go to when I want unconditional support no matter what the facts are.  A backer for backing sake.  This is not something I need often, as I typically want an honest assessment of a bothersome situation even if I am the cause. but, you just never know. Plus, it's unconditional support and love and nurturing and too much of it wouldn't be good but when I'm at that point... it's pure love. 

Best friend: You're not crazy... or maybe you are a little. This is the friend who is the litmus test to find out if you are crazy on any given day. You totally trust them and seek their counsel to find out if you are losing it. They seem to know whether or not you have good cause or whether you need to just chill. They help you work through a crisis, looking at it from several angles and  bring practicality to the table.  They may say things like, "Dude you are totally right"  or "I understand exactly how you feel".  They will give you options, like, sometimes it's necessary to walk away from a bad situation but other times it's important to work through to a solution.  They are the sanity backers.  They will stew in the juices of the problem with you for as long as it takes and as many times as it takes.  This is the friend who must be able to devote hours to you.

Best friend: Marriage counselor. Yep marriage can be goofy.
This is the friend I completely and wholly trust with matters of the marriage ups and downs knowing they will never divulge or judge my situation, and maybe even more valuable, they will never use that information against me for future events.  They delete my wackiness, or the hubs' wackiness, each and every time.  Priceless.

Best friend: I knew you whenso you don't scare me.
These are the ones who knew me before the back story.  They have been with me the longest and who know who I really am, at my core.  The high school and college best friends.  The best friend mom or dad.  The best friend sister.   Basically anyone who has loved you for longer than they haven't.  If you don't have one of these on your team, reconnect.  There is simply no substitute for this safety net.  I don't have to impress.  I don't have to explain.  I don't have to convince.  I don't have to be embarrassed.  I don't have to give context.  These are the ones I can have a melt down with and they'll forgive and still love.  They don't push buttons and they don't purposely send me reeling.  They know me and they've accepted me.  Long ago.

Best friend: I love what you've done with, and you're really good at.
I have a group of friends who join me in my creativity, get-togethers, reunions, just because, and all things considered peripheral.  This is the fun stuff.  I love these best friends because they join in when you are flying high and in a really great place.  They cheerlead and suggest and contribute and smile.  They tell you you're awesome and they mean it. You tell them they're awesome, and you mean it.  They want to collaborate and marinate and exfoliate.  The point is, these are the best friends you will spend time with, look back at the end of the day and just feel awesome gratitude, which may be the wine, but still.  Maybe these BF's don't know the innermost workings of my life but they fill me with love simply by devoting small chunks of their time.  Plus who knows, maybe one day, one of these people will step into the circle of trust.  Maybe this is the best friend farm team.

Best friend: champion.
a devoted advocate or defender of my rights. You gotta have a fighter. You never know when you will need one. They may not nurture the crap out of you but they are the sideline coach telling you to get up and get back in the game. They will not let you accept defeat in your life and if you find yourself in a tight spot, they will do whatever it takes, while relentlessly telling you that everything will be okay. They believe it, and you will too. You want them on your tree. Believe me. 

Side note: While I have not mentioned names for each best friend category, most of you move smoothly through a couple of different roles, you're talented like that. and some of you fall into all of these categories. YOU ROCK!  As I look back behind me down the road we've traveled, I can see the value in being a friend and having them.  I'm happy to be and stay friends with you all. I want the longevity.  I want friends to grow old with, and yes, that train is boarding.  I want to always have my besties there with me. like Beaches but without the love triangle and the viral cardiomyopathy. 

There comes a point in life when you realize who really matters, who never did, and who always will stand by you.


Spiced Pumpkin Bread
makes two loaves
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 16-ounce can pumpkin
3 cups flour
1 t ground cloves
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground nutmeg
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, or better yet chocolate chips!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour two loaf pans.  Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend.  Mix in eggs and pumpkin.  Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, and baking powder into another large bowl.  Stir into pumpkin mixture in two additions (and walnuts/chips here if desired!).
Divide batter equally between prepared pans.  Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour and ten minutes.  Let cool.
Enjoy with a big pat of butter or cream cheese!


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