The sweetness of friendship resonates deeply this month. My oldest son graduates from college next week. He’s busy wrapping up loose ends as I write this…planning or saying his goodbyes.
He was fortunate to entertain a few of his close high school buddies* last night. All in various stages of college graduation or completion, finding jobs or internships. The bonds these men (who were once young boys hanging out in our home) have all grown and developed into beloved friendships. Yet they are at the precipice of their next life stage. (They grow up too soon!!)
The friendships he has made and maintained (and the ones yet to be realized) could last his lifetime. These friendships have reinforced his values and integrities as well as helped him stay focused on his goals. But what they really have provided is the foundation of trust that a true and authentic friend provides. For a treasured friend is with you when times are tough and when times are good; they are supporting you no matter how near or far from you they are.
Naturally some great friendships develop out of circumstance but what about those friendships that magically happen. These friendships transcend or outshine others. There is a spark, a knowing and a comfort with these friends. Is there a divine force that brings them into your own life’s existence?
Can you reminisce about friendships you’ve had all your life. Childhood best buddies, teammates, work colleagues, neighbors, your spouse or your siblings…. What’s their connection to you? Even if you have lost touch I’ll bet you have fond memories or maintain a deep connection to the stories and adventures you shared.
My middle child missed all those special in person high school goodbyes last year (Covid-19), but thankfully with technology he is able to stay connected with his local and “new” college buddies. My husband has maintained a weekly zoom call with his college foursome for 14 months now (one of the rare blessings of COVID) that combines laughter, support and predictions about their college team in 2021/22 football and basketball. It’s hard to watch her go but so sweet when you see your sixteen year old daughter hop in the car with a buddy that has their newly minted drivers license. Music playing and windows down…smiles all around.
Nick has had a unique college experience. Some added pressures and protocols to follow including leadership and training for his next chapter. But what he gained was the “awareness” that we are all going through life together.
Nick is an expert off-shore sailor. Bravery, Defiance, Integrity, Gallant, Courageous...all names of boats he sails on — these are fitting descriptions of qualities we seek in our friends. He’s learned a lot about patience, teamwork, exhaustion and forces out of your own control. He’s experienced many circumstances and emotions with his friends, peers, shipmates — and that is the most genuine kind of joy, dedication and trust you can receive in life.
I know his adventurous spirit and he might say: “Laughter with Grit just makes the bond so much tighter.”
What is it about friendships...the affection, the kinship, the camaraderie, the giggles, or the tears that bonds you together? Do your friends make you smile or feel like family? As Nick goes out into the world...I consider what I cherish most about my own friendships. They love me for who I am, they support me on this journey called life but most of all they inspire me to be brave, courageous, and occasionally defiant!
“So long as we love we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I would almost say that we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend.” ― Robert Louis Stevenson
*Yes, Dom, you were missed!!
**This watercolor painting is a graduation gift I painted for Nick, honoring all the buddies that have supported him along the way. A ship only sails with wind and stays on course with the strength of your crew.
I love you! Mom