Friday, May 8, 2009

Feeling Blessed

From the DailyOM: Part of the joy of friendship is the feeling that we are accepted just the way we are, with no need to change. It is a gift friends give us, and one we can give back every day. Ultimately, we choose friends because they make us feel good about ourselves and life. Through tears and difficulties, friends help us find the laughter. When we find those special people who offer us that perfect combination of comfort and stimulus to grow, we are very fortunate. Friends, those wonderful companions that walk with us through life, help us define and refine who we are and who we choose to be every day.

My life is rich with amazing friends. I was reminded of this once again when I was invited to Leslie's for dinner last night. There was supposed to be 4 of us, very close friends. I should have been suspicious because Leslie doesn't like to cook. She has the local Chinese Take-out phone # memorized. But she said she wanted to try something new, and I fell for it. Some would call me thick. I guess I am. I arrived to a large gathering of many of my friends, all there to celebrate my nomination for the White Pine Book Award which will be awarded next week. I think I went into a state of shock, and when Leslie toasted the nomination with the loveliest of speeches, I was too overwhelmed to say anything coherent, let alone gracious. I'm still feeling dumbstruck.

I may be the first author, ever, who was thrown a party for an award nomination, but that's the kind of friends I have. When I moved recently, the offers of help poured in. I have friends who listen endlessly to my worries about my mother's declining health. I have friends who have helped me through the huge transitions in my life. My daughters have become my friends. My sister is my 'oldest' friend of all. Some of my friends I rarely see, even though we are practically neighbours, but we keep in touch through email. Sometimes months or years go by, and I think I may have lost touch with a friend, but then we'll reconnect and I'm reminded of the special bond we once had and enjoy the rekindling of it. Some of my friends I know through common interests, like bookclub, and I enjoy getting to know them as we discuss how books move us (or not).

I have always made it clear that I never want to be the recipient of a surprise party. I'm most uncomfortable being the center of attention at any event. But seeing so many friends gathered together last night ~ well, it was truly heartwarming. Thank you, Leslie, for being you, for believing that this was an occasion that was party-worthy, and for all your kind words. (I almost felt like I was at my own funeral.) (note to self: make a request in my will to have Leslie give my eulogy.) Thank you to your co-conspirator, Jennifer, for the many ways you celebrate women and encourage us to reach our potential. You are both women that truly deserve to be celebrated.

And I'd like to thank all my other friends, near and far, the ones I know well, the ones I am just getting to know, the ones I rarely see, the ones I see daily. Each of you enriches my life in so many ways. I am truly blessed.