Friday, November 26, 2010
Friends and Family
As someone who works in retail, I know well that the phrase “friends and family” has come to mean a discount, a coveted once-a-year discount originally reserved for true friends and family members of employees and now offered far and wide to anyone. I hate that that’s what the term has come to represent, just as I hate the term “friending” on Facebook, because both devalue the meaning of true friendship.
I am currently staying with a close friend who happens also to be my aunt, the person who is closest to a mother figure in my life, a person for whom I would crawl across cut glass, a person with whom I laugh and cry and relax as with no one else. My aunt is 83 and in frail health. Feisty and sharp as a tack, she is also tiny as a little bird, recovering from major surgery, and worrying the pants off all who care for her. We speak absolutely every day, not out of obligation as much as out of our days being incomplete without this connection, and the treat of having a few precious days together in person during which we can share our coffees is my idea of heaven. This is friend and family.
Since it was getting close to the holidays, this week I saw an old friend who is like family, like a brother. He is to whom I turned for comfort and shelter after I was brutally attacked many years ago, and I was one of the old friends who he invited this week to share the first unveiling of his new puppy. We don't speak often, nor do we engage in Facebook chatter, but I know he has my back, that we have give and take, lightness and protection, puppy hugs and bear hugs through birth,marriage, illness and rape; these are the moments that reveal friends and family.