If I had to name a precious gift in my life today, one of them would be my relationship with my best friend, Whitney. We met about 10 years ago, hit it off pretty much immediately, and now I cannot picture my life without her in it. I have shown this woman my ass on more than one occasion, both literally and metaphorically, and yet she still takes my calls.
We have laughed hysterically, gossiped, yelled, argued and made up, sometimes all in the same day. We are excellent road trip companions, especially during a once-a-year jaunt to the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.
We have held onto each other through breakups. We stood by each other at our weddings (and not just the ceremonies; all the planning and associated crap that led up to them). She put up with me during my “angry Amy” years. I supported her during her “can’t date a man who actually lives in the same city” phase. We have seen each other ugly cry. More than once.
I think it would be accurate to say that we have been through some shit. The most recent of which was my year-long breakup with my husband (now ex for the second time). I am not going to air the details, nor will I disparage him here. Anyone who knows our story would agree, however, on these basic facts: He is very messed up, it is very sad, and he tried his damndest to drag me down with his proverbial ship. I made it to shore just in time.
Anyway, I don’t think I can ever repay Whitney for her love and support, as well as the sheer amount of her time she willingly gave to me during the roughest moments. (Put it this way….if she were a licensed therapist, I would have to sell my house to settle the bill!) She stood by me through cops, court (twice) and myriad other craziness. She held my hand through the entire trailer park soap opera that unfolded slowly and painfully over the course of a year. And now, she is my most enthusiastic cheerleader during the Amy Reinvention and Reconstruction Project of 2012.
I bring all of this up because Whitney and her husband had their first baby less than 24 hours ago. A healthy, gorgeous boy. I was honored to be the only non-blood relative at the hospital for the birth. I am so happy for her, I can hardly contain myself. My own son is 17 and nearly out of the house -- God knows Whitney supported me through more than one ordeal with that child -- so this begins a new chapter in our friendship. I can’t help but think that maybe this will be my chance to pay her back a bit. For fuck’s sake, I owe her. Her husband, too. It would not be an exaggeration to say they both saved my life on one particular occasion.
Anyway, something dawned on me as I paced the waiting room with Whitney’s parents last night --- I would do anything in the world for this woman, she doesn’t even have to ask. That’s some pretty powerful shit, if you asked me. I feel that way about my son and immediate family, but I don’t have a ton of friends I’m willing to “lay down in traffic for” (name that movie.*) As I worried about her during more than 24 hours of labor and the C-section that followed, the realization of how much she means to me smacked me in the face.
So Whitney, please call me when you are up at 3 a.m. with your son, even if nothing is wrong…the stubborn little stinker just won’t go back to sleep. I will gladly talk you through it. Ask me to babysit when you need to run to Kroger or just take a shower. I will show up on your porch with a grin. I promise to be there for you during the joy, the pain and everything in between.
And God willing, I will be there when your sweet boy is about to turn 18 and leave the nest, just like you have been here for me. Love you darlin’.
And if I haven’t said so lately ... Thank you.
*Good Will Hunting
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After nine years, she's still just saying.