Something happened this weekend that made me think about what sets "best friends" apart from friends.
First I have to go back to the good old days of 1986. I had just gotten my first teaching job and was looking for a place to rent. Majella, a very good friend from secondary school, told me about a house that had two fellas and a girl who were looking for a fourth housemate. She assured me that we would all get on, especially with the girl, Genevieve, who was lovely, if very quiet and reserved. I jumped at the chance and promptly moved in.
The first night I moved in, I didn't get to meet Genevieve as she also had gotten a teaching job and had a meeting in the school. So myself and the two lads headed off to the local pub to bond.
When we arrived back later that night, every light in the house was on. The lads were panicked as that was so unlike Genevieve. When we entered the house we could hear a rhythmic "thud" from upstairs in Genevieve's bedroom. As Vincent, Gen's boyfriend of a number of years wasn't there, the lads knew it wasn't that!!!
We raced upstairs and Des knocked on Gen's door.
"Are you alright, Gen?"
"Of course...hic! Come in."
We peered around the door, like the three bears looking for Goldilocks, and saw Genevieve sitting upright in bed, her nightie on over her clothes and she was sporadically banging her head off the wall behind. It seems she had gone out with the other teachers after the meeting and had drank for the first time. She had two bottles of Satzenbrau (ah, God be with the days!) not very much mind you, but remember, she was a novice at this drinking thing. And it had blown the head off her!
She squinted at me and said
"Oh you must be the new girl. I'm so sorry. I'm not usually like this, hic.....thud!
I looked at her and thought
Someone was lying about how quiet you are....I think we are going to get on just fine!
And that was the beginning of a best friendship that has lasted for the past 25 years, and hopefully will last at least another 25, bar a major disaster!
We have been there for each other through thick and thin...and that's just the dieting phases!
There have been countless nights of crying and gnashing of teeth over failed relationships. Seeing as she met Vincent when they were 16 years old, were childhood sweethearts, got married and have two gorgeous kids, you can see that all that anguish and drama came from my side!
There have been fantastic holidays. This is from the month we spent touring France in 1989..the bicentenary of the French revolution. I can't believe that we were teachers in our 20's. We look about 14!
Vincent peers over our shoulders to see whats going on!
Vincent is still peering over our shoulders!!!
As a result I wasn't there for her when she went through her first pregnancy and birth of her first daughter Sadhbh. However her christening was held over til the summer when, guess who returned in time to be her Godmother.....yes, me again!
My favourite godmother story.
Two years ago I had the part of the wicked stepmother in Leixlip's production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Genevieve and Sadhbh were there to cheer me on. Everytime I appeared on stage, the audience of children went into the terrors, screaming, crying and booing. Some were so distraught they had to be brought out. But not Sadhbh. She was the only child who stood up, cheered, waved and clapped for me! Ah, that's what godchildren are for!
We were there for each other's milestone birthdays.ie my 40th........even if it was dangerously close to the due date of child #2!
Life changes for all of us, and of course it becomes more difficult to stay in touch with each other. But we have always made sure to ring each other regularly and to meet up at least every couple of months and have a girlie night out on the town like our young, free and single days. This weekend was to be one of those.
Genevieve abandoned hubbie and two kids for the night and came down to Mullingar. We spent the day shopping as she was looking for a pair of black boots.
Guess who ended up buying a pair, despite the fact that she wasn't looking for them/couldn't afford them......yep, me again!
We came back to my house, where we had an hour to get ready before we headed back into town for dinner, drinks and a night club.
We dropped the shopping bags and decided to have a cup of tea before the grooming began. As I was stifling a yawn, I looked at Genevieve, to see that she was doing the exact same thing. It was then that telepathy, brought about by years of friendship, came into play.
"I'm not really fussy about what we do tonight. We can go on the town or we can stay in. Whatever you want."
"No, I don't mind at all. What do you want to do?"
"It's your choice.You've came down. I'm happy to do either."
"Well, I wouldn't mind staying in, if you don't mind."
"Oh thank God. I couldn't face going out. I'm knackered."
"So am I. But I thought you wanted to go out."
"Not at all. I didn't want to disappoint you."
So, off I rushed to the village. Stocked up on pizza, chips, garlic mayonaisse......and wine!!! We plonked ourselves in front of the telly, watched The X-Factor, followed by The Xtra-Factor whilst stuffing our faces.
When we were nicely tipsy, we reminiseced about all our various adventures and escapades over the past quarter of a century (OMG! That sounds like forever) And we will have many more in the future.....just not on this particular night!
And so, back to what makes a friendship?
For me being Best Friends means not having to go out in order to have a great night out!!!
Thanks for everything Genevieve.