The Warm Blanket of Friendship

I am incredibly lucky to have so many people in my life who I can call friends.  I don’t loosely apply the term and know the difference between a friend and an acquaintance.  As I talked about in my Friends are Like Teapots post I am somewhat of a collector of friends.

I have some very dear friends who I have known for most of my life.  On of those is my beautiful friend Kim who I shared my entire childhood with.  We are still friends, although we are not a part of each other’s everyday life, our friendship remains.  It always will.

When we have children it is usual to meet mums with children the same age through playgroup, kindy and school.  These friendships tend to blossom and grow throughout the years of our children growing up and spending time together.  Sometimes they last beyond that.  Sometimes they only last while the school or kindy bond is there.  I have and have had these friendships too.

I have recently made a number of new friends through Twitter.  Most of whom I’ve not met.  Most of whom I hope to meet.   Some, who I may never meet.  I call these people friends because we share a bond.  A kinship.  An understanding.  We care about each other.   If that person was to disappear from the Twitterverse I would miss them.  When I know I’m going to miss someone, that’s when they move from acquaintance to friend.

Sometimes you strike gold and live next door to someone who you can become friends with.  These friendships can either be short lived, last only while you are neighbours, or go on to last for a lifetime.  I have one of the latter.  A very special one.  She hasn’t been my neighbour for over 10 years.  However our friendship remains.  She is a very important part of my life.  She is Jill. 

There is a saying “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves”.   In my case this is especially true.  Family wasn’t something I really had.  My solace and comfort has always been found in the special people who have joined my journey and become my friends.

For 14 years Jill has been my friend.  In fact she is one of my very best friends.  She was there when my boys were little.  She was there when I left my marriage.  She was there for all my ups and downs.  Her friendship has never wavered.  She is always the voice of reason.  She’s not one to say what I want to hear to make me happy.  She’s tells it as it is.  She’s always ready to administer a good uppercut when needed, but when a hug or a shoulder is required, she’s also there.  

She was my next of kin.  Whenever I had to fill out a form and it asked for Next of Kin, Jill was the name I wrote there.  While I was single, she truly was my next of kin.  She was my sister, my mother, my best friend.  She still is all of those.

She tries to get me fit.  She walks with me and talks with me.  She drags me along to water aerobics.  She tried to get me to go to Zumba.  We’ve done Pilates together.  We did the Gold Coast Marathon together.  Ok, how about the Gold Coast Marathon 10 km walk.  That’s a bit closer to the truth.  We’ve had weekends away together.  We’ve even shared a bed together. 

Next Wednesday, Jill is leaving.  Not for a holiday.  Not for a few months.  Not to another state even.  She is moving to Germany for 3 years.  I have known about this for over 6 months.  It was something I chose to bury and not think about. 

I have continued to walk with Jill.  Talk with Jill.  Laugh with Jill.  All the while not giving any thought to her leaving.  It was something I didn’t want to deal with.  It was the elephant in the room.   To a degree it still is.  Jill doesn’t want to say she’s leaving.  She says “I’m going on a long holiday that’s how I’m looking at it”.  She will come back twice a year because her 20 year old twins are staying behind.  I will see her next September when we spend a week with her after we get married.  I will Skype with her.  I will email her.  I will MISS her. 

As a farewell gift and an early birthday present, Lyn (who was also my neighbour) and I took Jill out for the day last Wednesday.   Just the three of us for 10 blissful hours filled with fun, laughter, naughtiness and love.  We were like 3 teenagers again.  I was sick, but nothing was going to keep me down.  Nurofen Plus was also my best friend that day.  

We met up at 11.00 and headed off to a trendy cafe precinct for a late breakfast early lunch.  At 1.00 we headed over to the Rainesforest Spa Retreat where we spent the next 3 hours being pampered.  We had a one hour relaxing massage, then it was off for a sauna, spa, champagne and chocolates.  We took crazy photos.  We laughed.   We joked and we had the best time.  We then went to the Blueroom Cinebar where we watched Eclipse and had an In Cinema meal.   We were all rugged up in the warm blanket of our friendship.  It was perfect.

Jill, Lyn, Annie

I will miss her terribly.  I will be sad.  However the world is a very small place thanks to amazing technology, and we will talk, we will see each other on Skype, we will still be caught up in the warm blanket of our friendship – it will just be a very big blanket stretching from one side of the world to the other.

Does anyone else have to stretch their blanket of friendship over a long distance?  Is it still as warm?

This song is for Jill and for everyone who is someone’s best friend.

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About Annieb25

A mum to 2 teenage boys, would be writer, thirsty for knowledge, Radio Solution solver on Radio 1116 4BC and so much more!!
This entry was posted in Family, Friendship, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The Warm Blanket of Friendship

  1. Seraphim says:

    Oh Annie what a beautiful post! I have a girlfriend in the UK who I feel the exact same way about. Her friendship with me has never wavered. I am hoping to meet up with her next year for the “Best Weekend Ever 2011” (that’s what we’ve called it)
    I hope you know your online friends will be here when you part from your friend. I know the heartbreak it brings. Lots of love and cuddles xxxx

    • Annieb25 says:

      It is going to be sad, but I do know our friendship will always remain. I hope you are meeting up with your friend in the UK. That would be an amazing weekend, plus a family holiday tacked on?? I will be needy and definitely looking for the loving on Wednesday.

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  3. Meegan says:

    I have never had a good friend move away. I have friends that live quite some distance, but they always have, so it doesn’t feel strange to carry on our friendship via email, phone, skype etc. But I can relate to how you are feeling because over 18 months ago, my Mum and Dad started their Grey Nomadic travels. I am very close to both of them, but Mum has definitely morphed from mother to friend. Before they started their travels, Mum and I had daily contact and they even lived with me for a period when setting up their motorhome. It was a huge adjustment, not having her ‘just’ there. But yes with today’s technology it is so easy to keep in touch. I still miss them terribly and can’t wait to give them a hug and sit down to have a proper face to face catch-up. I would like to add that the last 18 months has gone very quickly and I’m sure your friend will be back in Australia and you’ll be sitting down to a coffee together, saying “wow, where did that time go?”.

    • Annieb25 says:

      Oh that must have been very sad when your parents started their travels. Thank goodness for the technology we have today – makes that distance seem somewhat smaller. You will definitely be loving all the hugs when you see them again at Christmas. xxx

  4. Thea says:

    Oh Annie, you are so good at tear jerkers. In a good way!
    I love your heartfelt posts.
    I’ll miss her too, and I don’t even know her! xxx

  5. MsDovic says:

    Oh Annie, you do write such beautiful posts!

    Having grown up in Melb and now living in Syd, my blanket has had to stay stretched over a long time, and I can say is just as warm as it always was :). With friends like Jill the distance doesn’t matter one iota! Although you’ll miss her for sure, the beauty of online is that it is so easy to stay connected and aware of what the other is up to.

    I had a friend move to Germany 12 mths ago and I was oh so sad – even tho I only knew her a short time. She is just ace y’know. Anyway, she just came back for a visit and it almost felt like just a weekend had passed. That’s the other thing with friends like Jill, you just pick up where you left off 🙂

    xxx

    • Annieb25 says:

      I love that about great friendships. You don’t have to see the person every day, every month or even every year, but when you do it is like time stood still while you were apart. Thank you for the lovely compliment, but I’m not sure my posts come close to beautiful when compared to your beautiful post about your beautiful Bella. xx

  6. a-m says:

    What a beautiful, beautiful post…. and what a wonderful last day together you had. She is lucky to have you as a friend. A-M xx

    • Annieb25 says:

      It was the best day ever. We seriously had so much fun. I’m also very lucky to have her as a friend. Thank you. xx

  7. I look straight to the positive and see some ‘essential’ European travel in your immediate future! Why not start planning now?! 🙂

    On a personal note, my best friend is English, we’ve travelled the world together and been through incredible experiences together – a burst appendix in the Amazon (mine), a decision to become a single mum (hers), bridesmaid at a wedding (her at mine) and now we’re embarking on our kids swimwear line together.

    She’s recently moved from London, and is now calling Bali home – again the perfect excuse for many visits 🙂 And most importantly, our friendship has never suffered from being apart, as the strong ones never do.

    x0

    • Annieb25 says:

      I love it – you sounded like a fortune teller. We have a long trip planned next September. We are off to Italy to get married and will be over there for 5 weeks. One of those weeks we will spend in Germany with Jill & her family. YAY!

      I loved reading about the special friendship you and your friend have. What an amazing journey you have had together, and are still having. You need to write a book about that. xx

  8. Jane says:

    Annie,
    Such a lovely post.
    Just over 4 years ago I was the friend, sister, aunt and daughter that moved away.
    Now I’m back.
    It was such a bitter sweet time and technology will now be your greatest friend.
    While away it was a conscious effort to keep in touch, but always so fun to share stories about different places and yet I still keep grounded by hearing about the day to day goings on back home.
    I just find the challenge now to not miss the new friends I made abroad that became my family for the 4 years I was away.
    It will get a little tough and I know there will be tears, but three years is a blip in time and she’ll be back before you know it.
    “It’s a small world after all”.
    Jane

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  10. Naomi says:

    Annie, such a moving post. So beautifully written.

    I too have some life long friendships. One I write about fairly frequently. We have been friends since we were 10. We have been through so many things – we now live in different states, but the phone, blog, facebook, text, twitter keeps us in constant contact.
    Distance and time mean little to friendships like these… but I know you will feel her absence. Just know we will be there to embrace you in the love of twitter. xxx

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  12. Jill says:

    Thank god I did not read this before I left…or maybe I should of…never mind, I have left and left behind my soul sister Annette for I am sure we were friends way back in another life and we will be again because we learn so much from each other, when we are old and dodgy (or is that now?) we will laugh and say things like remember when you moved to Germany and we got so upset and then you guys got married and came and visited etc well thats what we are doing making memories and lots of them, so here’s to making memories for a couple of years (or maybe 6 months if I can’t stand it!). Lets make the blanket stretch to Germany and beyond!
    Your sister always,
    Jill x

  13. My friends are the family I got to choose too Annie. Gosh you and I have a LOT in common. You say and write thoughts/feelings/things I’ve said/thought/written about too often! Are you sure you’re not my long lost sister?!

    Big Hugs from a Twitter friend who also really hopes to meet you one day!
    Big Al xx

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