I forgot it was my best friend’s birthday, and it wasn’t the first time I’d forgotten.
I’m one of those people who has a stash of cards to send out. My left, middle desk drawer is full of cards for all occasions. I like old-fashioned paper thank-you notes and invitations. Under normal circumstances, I like to think I’m thoughtful. So, it feels especially ridiculous to forget my friend’s birthday.
How is it my bestie’s birthday rolls around EVERY year at the same time and I have a panic attack when Facebook reminds me it’s her birthday? It is obvious I should not be relying on social media to remind me of important dates such as my loved one’s birthdays. However, I am oh so thankful it does remind me early in the day while I still have time to offer a birthday lunch, send the text, make the call, and scramble to make someone special feel special.
While I can’t get the date to stick in the muck of my memory bank, I can tell you what restaurant her late dad took her to for birthday lunches. I can tell you where she goes downtown on special occasions for flourless chocolate cake. I know her preferred morning routine and her favorite stores. I know her order at our usual taco place.
If I’ve learned anything about friendship, it is that you can’t base it on one day.
We’ve all got bad days and hard days and days we want to be alone. Our friendships are tested those days, and if we judged our relationship on that snippet of time, we’d throw in the towel.
Friendship isn’t all long lunches and laughter because life gives us hills and valleys. Sometimes, those hard days extend out for an entire season. A friendship that lasts years will have to endure the valleys. A friendship that lasts years will also have to celebrate some mountain top moments even when you yourself are in a valley.
Recently, I added my friend’s contact info to my favorites list on my phone, so even if the phone’s in sleep mode, it would alert me to her call or text. Her precious teen daughter is struggling with mental illness. I fear my friend may need me in the middle of the night, and I want to be there even if I’ll not know what to say.
We are meant to do life in community. My community has always been a small one.
This one friend is near and dear to my heart, and I still forgot her birthday. I could blame quarantine fatigue or the mental load of motherhood or the way I overextend myself, but there’s really no excuse.
While my memory lacks, my heart does not. Once you’ve shared milestone moments and crawled out of the valleys together in a friendship stretched over decades, there’s a sisterhood of the very best kind. A sisterhood that forgives mental lapses, bad days, and still sees the best of you.