How many friends do you have?
I have a lot of friends. Friends I run with, friends who read my blog and whose blogs I read, friends who I sit with at basketball games and friends who meet me at swim meets. I have homeschooling friends and Michigan friends and Tribune friends. I even have long-lost college friends and grad school friends.
But I only have one friend who I can call at anytime to talk to about any topic. I call her when I hear something funny on NPR or when I hear something unbelievable. I call her when I'm frustrated with my husband or my children. I call her when I feel like I want to scratch my eyes out rather than read another English comp essay.
For years, nearly 16 years, she has been my best friend.
We met at a LaLeche League meeting. She had a one-year-old, I had a baby and a two year old. On our first play date, which was more for us than the children, she told me she was pregnant with her second baby.
When I look through pictures at baptisms and birthday parties, she and her kids are there.
When we moved away from Michigan twelve years ago, I bought a telephone plan that allowed me to talk to her everyday.
I strained to hear her as she waded through her divorce. I drove to Michigan and sat in the courtroom, supporting her fight to keep her children full time. Then, later that same year, I drove to Michigan to attend her wedding to a new man.
I suggested that she wait. "If he's a nice guy now, he'll be a nice guy next year..." but she was turning 40 and he wanted children so she married him.
We visited a few times as a family. We continued to talk most days.
Maybe my job as a friend is to listen to her problems and only give her what she needs. Maybe these past few years I've been pushing too hard to get her to end her marriage to the man who spends her money, yells at her children, and never gets enough of her time or attention.
I know I have output control. Sometimes, I just need to make myself say nothing. But not with my friend. I didn't stop myself.
And that's why this week, my phone has not rung. When I needed to talk, I picked up the phone and stared at it for a few minutes before setting it down. I had no one to call.
Because, although I've been urging her to end this unhealthy relationship, this unhealthy marriage, instead, she ended the friendship with me.
We didn't have a break up call.
We just had silence.
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