Best Friends

Today is National Best Friends Day when we celebrate friendship and tell our friends how much they mean to us. I have written before that I have been fortunate enough to acquire five best friends, each from different stages of my life:

I met my first best friend as my next door neighbour when I started primary school in Scotland. We were inseparable and played together constantly and I was always around her house, where I was in awe of their life when her dad would bring home surprises, such as the first portable TV that I saw and a Jack Russell puppy. She now lives in Texas with her family, but her Mum still lives in the same house that I used to play in 50 years ago. I am very excited as she is coming over from the USA this summer, with her teenaged daughter, to stay with her Mum for over a month. I bought rail tickets yesterday for me and Joshua to go and visit them all in July for a couple of nights. The last time that I saw her was when I went to Texas 6 years ago to see her on her last chemotherapy session, so reunion is well overdue and I cannot wait to see them all again. It will be our Scottish adventure.

I was devastated when in 1978, Dad’s job took us away from Scotland, down to England and I had to leave my best friend behind. Thankfully we have stayed in touch ever since, initially through hand-written letters and more recently, additionally via email. I was struck when I visited her in Texas, after not seeing her since my wedding in 1995, how easily we feel back into chatting and we would both get up early drinking decaff tea putting the world to rights. More recently we have been communicating via WhatsApp as she is just going to bed typically, as I am waking up. It was my first best friend who encouraged me to start writing this blog and I will always be grateful to her for giving me the confidence to give it a go back in 2015.

I met my second best friend at High School and again, we used to hang around at her house after school. She caught glandular fever as we were doing our O’ Levels and so she was very poorly, and I can recall going round to try to cheer her up and to study together. When we both had our first boyfriends, we used to go around together that summer as a happy foursome. I was sad when she decided not to stay at school to do A’ levels, but went to college to study a B’tec course, but we still saw each other out of school. Again we would go out together as a foursome for years, me with my now-husband and her with her boyfriend from their college course. We went to each other’s weddings in the 1990s and again, I am delighted to say that we are still in letter, email and WhatsApp contact these days too. She now has three beautiful grown up daughters and I am planning to visit her this summer too – I have promised to bake her a coffee cake.

My third best friend also now lives in USA, on the east coast, as she also married an American. We met as we were both studying on the same course at University and so we started to hang around together. We liked each other so much that we became roommates in our second year at University and flatmates in our third and fourth years. When we graduated, rather than get work, she travelled around the world on her own. She would find a job in London when she ran out of money, then set off again when she had saved enough up. So she was always more adventurous than I was and she had some amazing experiences. Even now in USA, she does not have a permanent job but she volunteers and studies. She was one of my three bridesmaids in 1995 and I always used to try to see her when work took me to London if she was working there at the time. Sadly I have only seen her a couple of times since Joshua was born, when she comes over to stay with her family on the South coast but again we communicate by letter and email still.

I met my fourth best friend when Joshua and her daughter were both toddlers. Her daughter was Joshua’s first friend and they were so sweet together, she was the first peer that he spoke to! So we had our shared experience of motherhood in common. Sadly she moved away from our hometown when our children were in primary school but only to a seaside town an hour away. So we continued to meet up as our children grew, I would drive over and we would hang out at their flat and take trips out together. As our children became teenagers, she grew apart from Joshua, but still had a soft spot for him. They had several moves and changes in circumstance and I am sad to say that we are no longer in contact. We were very close as our children grew but now she has moved to Cornwall and is starting a new single life. I hope that she will get back in touch some day in the future, but if not, she was still an important part of my life as Joshua was growing up.

Finally, my fifth best friend I first met when she was Joshua’s teacher at his second special school. We hit it off immediately, as our teacher/parent relationship developed into a friendship, initially as we made each other laugh. She taught Joshua for three years and during that time, got to know us both very well. We remained close friends once Joshua moved into 6th form at school and since he left school too. We communicate on WhatsApp daily and exchange emails and letters too. As she lives 40 minutes away, we see each other , though never often enough as we both have busy lives. We have had a couple of weekends away with our boys and we hope to get away just us two soon! On our rare nights out, we talk constantly. Having seen our recent lack of respite care for Joshua, she has offered to have him overnight in her home, with her own family, once a month until his formal respite care is re-established. He has stayed twice so far and the next two stays are in the diary too.

So as you can tell, I have been very fortunate in my best friends over the years and I want to thank them all for the love and support that they have shown me , I really appreciate it. I know that they will do anything for me and I feel the same about them.

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