30 plus years…

“It’s amazing the connections we make with people we have known for 30 plus years”

I typed this earlier today in a private chat. I won’t comment on who it was with (they know who they are). At first I had a moment of panic as I realized I typed 30 PLUS years. How is it feasibly possible that I am old enough to type this? Both ladies promptly forgave me for the horrible breach in etiquette of bringing up time. Because it’s what you do when you have known someone as long as we’ve known one another. You forgive each other most anything.

Then as I thought more I was perplexed. Why shouldn’t I type 30 plus years? I am damn proud of those 30 years. And I am even prouder of these two ladies.

I’ve known these 2 particular ladies for 30 plus years but in the past two years we have become so much closer and I can’t imagine a day when I don’t chat with them in some form or fashion. These ladies make me laugh, inspire me, cry with me and keep me honest. They don’t hesitate to call me out on my shit and tell me when I am being a supreme bitch (although honestly, we take that as a compliment).

We don’t live near one another so our support is virtual. But somehow I am certain if I needed one or both of them they would move heaven and earth to get to me. I feel the same about them. We each come at life slightly differently. On paper our view points probably shouldn’t work. But somehow it does. It has created a magical connection that only took us 30 plus years to get to.

Today during our seemingly endless chat about everything and nothing we realized that we each fit one of the Steel Magnolias characters (I should mention we are southern so we identify better with that movie than Sex in the City). To protect the innocent I am changing names, our new names will be Mary Elizabeth, Mary Katherine and Mary Margaret. (Writer’s note – I am catholic and grew up with 11 different Mary somethings. I could have chosen Angie because we went to school with 8 Angie’s.)

In our little circle Mary Elizabeth is always M’Lynn. She is our rock. Mary Elizabeth is by far the kindest of the three and genuinely one of the most gracious people I know. She softens the two of us, makes us kinder, more compassionate. However, don’t let her kind, southern exterior fool you. She is fierce and will slap you into shape in a heartbeat if you dare place one toe out of line. She both frightens and thrills me. I am constantly in awe of how she keeps all of the balls in the air, even those she occasionally flings at a wayward child or friend to get them back on the straight and narrow.

Mary Katherine is equal parts Ouiser and Annelle. She constantly reminds me that getting back up is the strongest trait a person can have. The fact that she has done it with a smile, a quick wit and more grace than any single person should have is even more amazing. She is loyal, supportive and always ready to make you laugh – sometimes at her and sometimes at yourself. She calls it exactly like she sees it. I’ve no doubt she will be that old southern woman growing things she doesn’t eat in the dirt because that’s the way of the world. She has made me laugh when I’ve felt like crying more times that I can count. It is a rare gift which she has in abundance.

That makes me Mary Margaret. Mary Elizabeth & Mary Katherine will tell you that I am part Ouiser, part Truvy (really just the rack part) and part Clairee. I’m not sure it’s close to accurate (well the rack part is). What I do know is that I am truly honored to have these very special ladies as a part of my life. I know when I have some random off the wall thought, comment, idea, murderous moment they will be there. They will listen, perhaps laugh, most likely mock but never judge. They will pick me up when I am having my rare dark days. make me laugh at something truly inane (like when Mary Katherine was dive bombed by a bird today) and make me feel accepted.

We’ve known each other since middle school. I can’t honestly remember if we were all that close back then. I suspect like all teenagers those connections were tenuous based upon what boy we liked at the moment. However, somehow as adults they have become my touch points, my true north as it were.

Thank you seems too little to tell these wonderful women. The best I can hope for is another 30 plus years (Remind me one day to tell you about our funeral pacts). It’s the only way I can think to pay them back for all they have given me. In the immortal words of Clairee, “I love you more than my luggage.” Except in my case it would be my Coach purses.