The word “friend”…

In the twists and turns of the past year and some, the word “friend” has definitely found itself being redefined over and over again. Rather than focus on the negatives though, I felt the need to pay tribute to some of those people in my life who have helped preserve my sanity and sense of humour during these “interesting” times.

As far as girlfriends so, I’ve had a few since high school that are absolutely nuts but honestly the best support and advice I’ve had in life. The original number has dwindled over the years with distance, both physical and emotional, and just the course of life. In the past year, we’ve had 2 weddings and 2 babies. The most recent baby makes my eyes well with tears every time I see his picture or even think about him. I’ve known his mom (and dad) since high school, and their wedding was a testament to true love. 15 years!!! Over the years, the communication hasn’t been anywhere near consistent, but his mom holds a special place in my heart. We’ve had our differences since the day we met but her concern and help during the most difficult time in my life is something I will never forget and deeply appreciate. We’ve all grown into our own lives and the time she took to make sure my son was doing well and improving right after his birth means more than any card or gift ever will. Thanks Les, may the blessings continue to shower your family and we’re all looking forward to seeing that little man grow into the giant we know he is going to become 🙂

The rest of the “crew” can’t be forgotten for the love and support they rallied during that time and ever since. I can’t forget the “boys” – my drinking buddies, partners-in-crime, impromptu ‘dates’, adventurers, conspirators, towers (literally for some) of strength. For the advice, the ‘shoulder to cry on’, the lectures, the phone calls, the jokes, the visits, everything… Thank you all. As I said to our Gypsy PhD on her birthday, I am honoured to be a part of your lives after all this time. The ability to share birthdays, weddings, new life and everything in between is something I treasure. Thank you for being a part of my journey and for allowing me to be a part of yours 🙂

I still marvel at how many Jamaicans I met in college in the USA that lived 5 minutes away or had the same friends, but we had never crossed paths at home. My ‘big brothers’ have always looked out for me, but never overbearing. They let me make my mistakes, but made sure I learned from them. On the birth of my son, their message to me was simple: “You have a man who will love you the way you deserve to be loved, take care of  him. We will all be here to make sure he becomes a man we will all be proud of.” My son has many good men in his life, and I hope their combined influence will help him become one.

Moving back home was challenging to say the least. Reestablishing a life in a place I’d only visited for so many years was definitely made easier by friends, both old and new. In the years since then, one thing remains constant in my life – these amazing people, near and far. Life has also allowed friendships to grow with people I’ve known for many years. Every now and then, a new person comes into my life and someone familiar exits. It’s a cycle I suppose and reminds me of being told people come into your life for a “reason, a season or a lifetime”.  The most I can say to everyone of these people is “Thank you”. Your presence, whatever category it falls into, has helped me to recognize and appreciate my blessings.

Friends are the only family you get to choose. Take care of them.

Love, K.

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