It’s seems rare to find others that you immediately have a connection. They come into your life and it always seems to surprise. It seems that many life long friends are developed in childhood when the odds of meeting lots of people are high. As long as you stay in school or work in a huge company, the percentage of meeting new friends is high merely because of the magnitude of population at your disposal. But as you get older, some friends drift away over the years because of busy schedules and the usual rigors and demands of living a life. The odds seem against you in finding someone that might become a true lifelong friend. So when I meet someone that pleases me to the extent that friendship is immediate and zen like, it surprises me. It has only happened three times since my thirties.
What has really surprised me is that I found this connection of pure friendship with the most unlikely person. When we look into each other’s eyes when we laugh or make jokes, or tell stories, it is an amazing feeling of camaraderie, sincerity, and friendship. The journey of our relationship got its true start when I was almost 40 years old. At first I thought it was a fluke because she was so young. We liked each other right away. I liked her because she always made it a point to come and talk to me. She saw me for whom I was and what I had to offer her. She would always ask me questions or direct me to her attentions. She was two years old.
We were close throughout her young years; even if there were spans of time apart, when we came together it was always as friends. I’m her aunt but our relationship didn’t resemble the typical aunt niece relationship. I’m a mom of a single child, a son. I have always wanted a girl and when my niece was born, my sister said to me that I could share her daughter, and I became her godmother. But our relationship is not the surrogate mom or “ the daughter I never had” type of relationship.
I half expected, as she grew older, that her interest in me would surely wane and her attentions would turn elsewhere. Plus our visits have been farther and farther apart. Surely she is growing up and her slight “hero worship” may have been what kept our relationship going for so long. The talented Ms. A. is entering the tween years. She is eleven years old and I am a fifty-year-old woman (although my head and heart says I’m still 32). She may be putting aside “childish or childhood things.” I thought I would eventually end up in that category. Our visits tell me differently.
Today I had the pleasure of her visit, while her parents went out to celebrate my sister’s birthday. She came to spend the evening with me. She is older and doesn’t need me to shower all my attention by entertaining her, or crafting as we usually do every time she came to visit in the past. The last few visits have been just talking, no demands on each other except for time. We follow each other around the house talking and just being. Her eleven-year-old conversations are never boring. As good friends we are eager to hear each other’s thoughts and anecdotes. We get each other’s jokes. The energy is so positive. We are never bored when we are together.
I never thought that this relationship could have been possible. Is it sustainable? If so and our friendship thrives into the coming decades, I will have to say that this is one of the most amazing developments in my life. We are nearly four decades apart and I can’t get past the wonderment of it all.
This is such a gift to discover that such a thing is possible. It is something so sweet, so pleasant, so unexpected, nothing I have ever experienced before in my life. Simply remarkable.