January 27, 2011
Value of a BFF? Priceless
My best friend is not a techie.
But I recently texted her when my BlackBerry was acting weird. She called her brother, who is a techie, hunted through her BlackBerry menus and searched the Web before we finally found the solution.
My best friend doesn’t have surplus money.
But when I was budgeting every dollar during the hardest financial time of my life, she handed me a check – just a temporary loan, she insisted – so I could attend a good friend’s wedding.
She’s not an obstetrician. Not even a nurse.
Yet she stayed by my side through the 36-hour delivery of my son, Matan, leaving only to walk to Coffee Bean at 5 a.m. to bring my husband and the rest of my family coffee and bagels, supporting my head as I pushed and pushed … and pushed.
Debbie has never had a baby. Although in my mind, she owns 30 percent of mine.
She spent weeks researching strollers and car seats. She rolled hundreds of diapers into centerpieces for Matan’s brit. She has taken more pictures of my baby than I have. Way more. She’s been to two doctor’s appointments with me (I’m sure my pediatrician mistakenly thinks Matan has two mommies). And recently, when attempting to Ferberize my son – the infamous sleep-training method that requires letting the baby cry to exhaustion – left me in tears, I fled the apartment in pajamas and flip-flops and called Debbie for advice. (Don’t call child services — my husband was still at home.)
Debbie and I have been best friends since fifth grade at Rosewood Avenue Elementary School, through our period of dorky purple-rimmed eyeglasses, the Seth and Cedric saga, hundreds of Skittles candies, summers at Camp Chai, hand writing essays for AP European History before either of us owned computers, USC football games, dozens of boyfriends and thousands of other memories that flash like colored bits on a gigantic mosaic.
A soul sister (or brother) is as rare and precious as a soul mate. So while February has become the domain of lovers, this issue of TRIBE is dedicated to the intimate bond between friends, honoring the profound role they, too, play in our lives.
Without vows or legal contracts, true friends stand by us in health and in illness, as we read in Leslie Berliant’s poignant personal tale of helping a cancer-stricken friend die gracefully (Page 14). Also in these pages, friendship expert Irene S. Levine, who regularly writes about the intricacies and complexities of maintaining friendships on The Friendship Blog, offers advice on navigating the sometimes-tricky territory of platonic male-female friendships (Page 19).
This February, I propose a twist to your Valentine’s Day plans: Let your significant other off the hook (I can hear the guys cheering!), and take time instead to celebrate a significant friend. Hit the town together (see Best-Friend Bonding for great ideas, Page 20), regale your BFF with a heartfelt gift (Shopping, Page 47) or dedicate an entire weekend to your favorite gal pal(s) (Girlfriend Getaways, Page 44).
For me, Valentine’s Day has never been about just one kind of love. I’ve always spent the day with my family, celebrating my mom’s birthday, and only when I was old enough did romance become part of the mix.
This year, I’m adding one more toast: Here’s to Debbie, my best friend for life.
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