By Delilah McMasters
I have this friend back in East Texas and whether she knows it or not, she’s what I measure other women against what I look for in a friend.
She’s a Jack of all trades: you want an intricately-designed, contest-winning, crocheted blanket? Done. Gorgeously decorated cake or cookies? Done. Paint, wallpaper, sewing? Done. Yard of the month? Done. But none of these are what make me love her.
It seems like I always knew Angie, she was the daughter of my step-dad’s friend. Many years later I moved next door to her. We sat on our front porches sneaking peeks at each other. I had a yard full of noisy kids and was pregnant, she had one kid and kept to herself. I’m not sure how we crossed the street, but once we did, she took to my kids and became a steady force. I still have a mental picture of her standing in my kitchen barefoot, in cut offs with Nicholas on her hip, after she saw him trying to ride his big wheel to Sonic in the middle of the road, because it was too noisy at the house and he was thirsty. She ran after him! Angie was covered in irritation that I had let him slip out! She has never let me forget she’s not around now to watch out for my babies!
Life is made up of chapters, and within those chapters are friends at different times and events, through your spouse, work, kids and hobbies. Some friends go through your chapters until you complete the book; some are important, but minor characters for a couple of chapters, and a select few make it into the sequel and will always be a part of your life story.
Angie is part of my life-story chapters, has played major and minor characters, and will always make it into the sequels.
My sister has always said I’m a lousy friend. I don’t call or text you ever day, and I don’t understand why anyone would want me to. I’m awkward at best in social settings with new people, I tend to come across as a smartass or judgy - I’m not, I promise - it’s my face mocking myself! I don’t drink, which throws a lot of people off. They don’t want to accept I don’t like the taste and would rather eat. And I cuss. A lot.
Angie accepted all of those things about me, and will call me out in a heartbeat if she thinks I’m wrong, being stupid or just being a wench. We don’t talk every day, and there has been times over the last 20 plus years a month or more has passed, but we always pick right back up where we left off. If we both had our way, and life was perfect, I have no doubt in my mind we would be living beside each other, doing puzzles, swinging on a porch swing, and gossiping about kids and men.
There is nothing wrong with short chapter friends. They have a purpose or they wouldn’t be there. You enjoy their company, you learn and do things together, but then you go your own way down different paths. No hard feelings, you keep in touch on Facebook, or run into each other and ask about the family, the kids, catch up and continue on.
But those long-haul friends who make it into every book of your life, those are the ones you cherish. Those are the ones who will be there when you are down, broke and can’t see the light and will encourage and understand. They are happy when life is rainbows and don’t judge you when you make mistakes. Angie taught me this, and because of her I have a handful of friends from different chapters who I know will always come if I call.
Everyone has seen the memes about who to call if you need to bury someone - your ride or die - and it’s obvious to me, those should be my sister and cousins. But, thanks to Angie, I now have enough friends to always have an alibi and character witnesses. These women would stand beside me in a sh*t storm and stick around to help clean up afterward.
If you don’t have these kinds of friends, don’t give up. They are out there, they will accept you and care about you and your kids. They will laugh at you and with you. Defend you and put you in your place. And make sure you get to the next chapter.
Find your Angies, and you’ll always know someone has your back and a soft spot for your kids. You don’t have to be there every day, just be there when it counts.
Delilah McMasters is a local resident and the mother of six. Reach her at BlessYourHeart76065@gmail.com.
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