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My friend and why I liked her

29 Mar

Yesterday I said goodbye to a very dear friend. I only found out recently that she was 84. Of course I knew she was in her later years, but her mid 80s? I’d never have guessed. She was such a youthful lady with a very young heart.  Her daughter told me recently that she still shaved her legs.  It didn’t surprise me.

The almost 50-year age gap just didn’t seem to matter. I hardly noticed it.  And meeting all her friends and family yesterday at the funeral, it was obvious that I wasn’t the only 30-something or even 10-something who’d laughed and loved and gossiped with her. How can someone cross generations so effortlessly?

To me, good friends are both interesting and interested.  The former seems obvious – we all like someone who is fun, can share a good story, and throw out a thought-provoking opinion, but to me it’s more than that. It’s someone that will give instinctively of themselves – who isn’t afraid to be open, to share not only the things that make them look good, but those that make them look weak, vulnerable, foolish even. I love people who are honest almost to a fault – not with malice or judgement towards other people – but about themselves.

Likewise, a person may be witty and intelligent and make you roar with laughter but if they’re not prepared to listen, a camaraderie will soon fall short of a friendship.  And finding someone who can really listen, who is genuinely interested in what you have to say because they value you, and like you, and are interested in the world, is something different.  Above everything else my friend was always willing to listen, always wanted to know what you were up to and what you thought and how you felt.  She was genuinely interested in other people and she made them feel important.

And if you have all those friendship ingredients? Age doesn’t matter – it simply gives you better stories to tell.

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Marjory was my dad’s partner for the last years of his life and I will always owe her a debt of gratitude for the selfless care she took of him when he needed her most, and when he was incapable of giving much back.   But after he died our friendship didn’t endure because of the connection to my dad, nor from any sense of debt I felt to her; we remained friends simply because I really really liked her.

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We miss you Marjory. Good friends don’t come along every day. xx

dad&marjie

Milk Retrospective: Friends for life

19 Jul

I thought it was time for some reflection. I posted this originally in November 2010. 8 months later and me and my lovely friend Joy are back in touch. Both mothers now, living in the same city again; things have moved full circle. And the special magic? Still very much there.

Tonight i found out that an old friend of mine had become a mum, and i never even knew she was pregnant. I feel absolutely gutted.

It’s not that i feel it’s my right to have known. I haven’t seen her in nearly two years. It’s just in those few words she might as well have drawn a line from here to China and said i’m here and you’re there.

Everyone has those friends, the ones you hardly ever see or speak to, but they’re special to you, and if you never saw them again that wouldn’t change it. You shared something important and that stays with you.

Every now and then something reminds you of them, and you feel a tugging in your heart. A cliche for sure, but the truth. It’s a real physical longing, a pang of regret, a feeling that something is unfair, amiss, that circumstances rather than choice have drawn you unjustly apart.

So i’ve been feeling a bit sad. Mourning a friendship that i wish i still had in exactly the same way i did when i was 16.

But then my sister said something to me today which made total sense. You mourn that friendship because you feel that you have lost it, but actually the something special you shared is always there. In the end that part of your life is still special, still cherished, even if the friendship has changed, become distant, or passed.

What’s more, just because someone’s not a part of your life in the here and now, doesn’t mean they never will be again. That’s the thing with these special friendships, they pop up again when you least expect it. And the best thing of all is that when they do, the magic is still there.

So if you’re reading this, I love you Joy. I miss you. But i’ll be waiting here for you until i’m old and grey, if you ever fancy a natter. I know for sure we’d talk for hours, and I’d laugh a lot.

Blogging in the Dark

21 Jun

Blogging is a bit like Dating in the Dark. You do quite a bit of anonymous flirting on twitter, make a few risque comments to make yourself stand out , act a lot more confident and easy-going than you really are.  You choose which other bloggers you like the best based on banter and their 20 character bio, make snap decisions about those don’t light your fire because they don’t *phnar phnar* at your lewd jokes, or join in with the “is it too early to have wine?” banter (or use too many exlamation marks in their tweets of course.)

Which makes next weekend’s Cybermummy a bit  like the big reveal. The moment the lights come on and you get to see who you’ve been cyber-snogging for the past 6 months.  It’s really intriguing and scary all at the same time.  Will I like the same people I think I like? Will people find me as sensitive, sharp, sassy as my Milk persona? (my careful emarketing strategy has worked hasn’t it?)  Or will I be a big fat disappointment? A squat, courdroy- wearing, egg- sandwich-munching brunette, to their imagined willowy, classic-champagne-cocktail-sipping, poached-salmon-with-dill munching, tousled blonde.  Will anyone even like me?

I’m sure I’ll get myself packaged up okay. Wipe the snot trails off my shoulders in time. (If I even make it out of the house alive that is.) I’m just not sure what might happen after those first few wines. Then again,  that doesn’t sound too much different from your average tipsy night on twitter now, does it?

Friendships divided

21 Nov

The Milks have just come back from a sejourn in Manchester. Mr Milk and myself lived there for 11 years. In fact we met there. We came to London when i had big Milk because we wanted to be near our families, but it was, and is, with a divided heart.

We’ve done alright in London, and we adore being nearer to our families. In truth we wouldn’t and couldn’t move away again. But boy do we miss our friends. When you become parents in a new area, you do make friends but separately. I have lots of mummy friends, but with the exception of a few i never see them outside school times. Firmly “first base friendships”.

Likewise Mr Milk has made good friends at work, and they might down a few pints after work sometimes, but the relationship ends there.

So if me and Mr Milk ever go out, it’s always on our own, which is lovely of course, but it is a bit one dimensional. There’s nothing quite like the fun you have with a crowd; it takes the pressure off you as a couple and allows you to explore and enjoy other facets of yourself. There’s nothing like looking across the table at your partner sharing a joke with your friends and thinking “Phwaor, you’ve still got it honey”.

So we miss our shared group of friends in Manchester, and it was with thick glasses of nostalgia and longing that we trundled back down the M6.

But life has moved on. In truth, it’s not just geographical distance that has changed things, so much as life itself. We’re all parents now, short of time and low on energy. Gone are the days as students when we spent all of our waking time in the pub giggling into our watered down pints of Fosters. I’m not so sure we left them behind in Manchester, as much as they grew up, just as we did.

Still, we can’t wait for our next trip up North guys, so put the Fosters on ice.

Friends for life?

11 Nov

Tonight i found out that an old friend of mine had become a mum, and i never even knew she was pregnant. I feel absolutely gutted.

It’s not that i feel it’s my right to have known. I haven’t seen her in nearly two years. It’s just in those few words she might as well have drawn a line from here to China and said i’m here and you’re there.

Everyone has those friends, the ones you hardly ever see or speak to, but they’re special to you, and if you never saw them again that wouldn’t change it. You shared something important and that stays with you.

Every now and then something reminds you of them, and you feel a tugging in your heart. A cliche for sure, but the truth. It’s a real physical longing, a pang of regret, a feeling that something is unfair, amiss, that circumstances rather than choice have drawn you unjustly apart.

So i’ve been feeling a bit sad. Mourning a friendship that i wish i still had in exactly the same way i did when i was 16.

But then my sister said something to me today which made total sense. You mourn that friendship because you feel that you have lost it, but actually the something special you shared is always there. In the end that part of your life is still special, still cherished, even if the friendship has changed, become distant, or passed.

What’s more, just because someone’s not a part of your life in the here and now, doesn’t mean they never will be again. That’s the thing with these special friendships, they pop up again when you least expect it. And the best thing of all is that when they do, the magic is still there.

So if you’re reading this, I love you Joy. I miss you. But i’ll be waiting here for you until i’m old and grey, if you ever fancy a natter. I know for sure we’d talk for hours, and I’d laugh a lot.