Family · Friendship · Life


As you know from my cover letter that I wish I could write, it’s application season. My actual cover letter needed help, so I turned to one of my best friends ever for it. He and I got on the phone- yes, a real phone call, I do that with him- and began the work of what we call wordsmithing. While working we chatted, of course, and shot around jokes about cancer. He’s had it too, though not the same kind, and it has brought us even closer together. He has a certain empathy for some of the things I’ve been going through, some of the paths of thought my brain wanders down are old trails to him as well, and it was a comfort. We laughed quite a bit at and with each other. We were mesmerized by our abilities to know exactly what the other means. We planned upcoming events. We even cried a bit. Well, I cried a lot, especially when he said some of the most powerful words I’ve ever heard in my life: all you need to do is say it. More about that perhaps another day. But I digress…

As he and I were talking about my teaching career and cover letter, we obviously talked about how we would get across my passion and need about getting back into the classroom without sounding a little crazy and desperate. It’s really hard to not sound desperate when you pretty much are. There was a slight pause and I said to him something I’ve only ever asked myself. I said, “Why do I allow one situation in my otherwise very successful teaching career to be the one thing that stands out?” He went into this speech unlike anything. He was my personal Lincoln delivering his address. It was astounding. He knew every facet of what had been in my heart. He knew it wasn’t about perfectionism or wanting to please all the people all the time. It was totally about compassion and love. It was perfect.

While his words were important to me, they wouldn’t be nearly as important to you. What should be important to you is having this type of friend. Before we even met, there were people telling us we’d love each other. I feel confident that each of us took it with a grain of salt because no one is that perfect. It was totally like that though- it was instant friends, instant giggles. When we met our respective spouses it was the same, and they were almost like we are to each other. As we became closer, we also let down more barriers and were more opinionated. We started to push each other on issues and even drive each other a bit crazy. There was always love there, always compassion, always an attempt to understand, but neither of us were willing to budge on issues. We’ve come around to each other’s viewpoints on some things over time, and not on others. This is more than a best friend.

After that call I thought of the word “friemily.” We are family who weren’t born together. We need each other and miss each other terribly. We’re the best kind of friends- the kind with whom you can walk arm in arm, go to a bar, have dinner out, start a diet, cheat on a diet, share greatest fears, be completely vulnerable, laugh until we snort (though that’s mostly me), and ask for help, real help, when you need it. If I had three wishes I could make with no adverse consequences, my third would be that every person who wants one would have at least one person to call friemily.

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