“In times I’ve been single, I’ve grown closer to my friends.”
One of my closest girlfriends told me this after my divorce in March, when some early attempts at dating left me feeling disoriented and discouraged. When you are fragile, it is much easier to be intimate with people who already know you than with those who would like to learn more about you. We’re afraid to let new people see us damaged. Friends, though, will love you when you fall to pieces, because they’ve already loved the you that’s whole.
You’ve done the same for them, or will, and will again.
In the year since Andy and I began to realize we wouldn’t be married, my friends have fed and sheltered me; whisked me out of town; loved on me, entertained and amused me; cracked me up. Glued me back.
They’ve come to all my parties, get-togethers, random happenings, brunch dates, networking events, concerts, and last-minute therapy sessions at bars and coffee shops.
They’ve invited me to all of theirs.
They’ve gotten me drunk and sobered me up. They’ve helped me find my way back to hobbies I love, like bicycling and blogging. They’ve shared their own favorites, which have in turn become mine – music, books, ideas, food.
They have let me crash their homes and spend the night when I didn’t want to be alone, or if I didn’t need to be driving home.
Dear friends in East Nashville have a lovely guest room, the aesthetics of which I’ve incorporated into spaces in my own house. I’ve stayed there so often and love them so much I think of their room as “The Stivender Suite”.
I drove with expired tags for four months until a friend offered out of the blue to take my car from Nashville to Williamson County to have the emissions tested on his day off. He is the sort of person who does this for all his friends, yet I know we all feel special.
This was one of the most precious Christmases I have ever had (and the only one in my own home) because of the kindness and spirit of my ex-husband’s sister-in-law. She found a way to get us all together, feeling comfortable and thankful, in most improbable circumstances.
The couples in my life are of a particular comfort. They offer feedback about relationships from two perspectives and inspire me with their tenderness and respect of each other.
My single friends, meanwhile, are of a strong, independent nature – and they, too, offer appreciated advice in a way I’ve been open to receiving it.
My friends have extended their care to my family as well. Three of them performed (Taylor Swift and Katy Perry songs, stand-up routines, air guitar) at my daughter’s 10th birthday party. They’ve encouraged my unusual friendship with my ex-husband and his family. Andy, himself, has come through for me in countless ways that make us both stronger parents, closer friends, and better suited for new people in our lives.
In this year of transition, I’ve let myself be vulnerable with the people I know love me. That’s putting me in a position to let new people enter my life with confidence and sincerity.
Said another cherished girlfriend, a single mom who stopped by tonight for a glass of wine: “I feel like we met each other at the exact right times in our lives so that we can truly appreciate this friendship.”
A toast to her and to all of you: thank you for being here and knowing how much I have needed you.