The older we get, the more we understand that the women who know and love us—and love us despite what they know about us—are the joists that hold up the house of our existence. Everything depends on them.
It's Tracy's birthday and I'm down with the flu. No matter. Ain't nothin gonna keep me from celebrating my Tray. When it comes to her, I will always show up. Always. I'm getting old and let's face it, I may die from this flu—okay not really, the fever is making me melodramatic—but surely I've reached the age where I can dispense a little advice? Humor me. I'm on my deathbed after all. So here they are, three simple words that will change your life: Find your Tracy.
Let's face it, life can be hard. Maybe you've been spared the big stuff so far, but rest assured it's coming. That's not the melodramatic fever talking either, that's just the cold hard truth. And when that phone call comes in the middle of the night or you get bad news from the doctor, you're going to need a Tracy to cushion your fall and pick you back up. Real friendship doesn't come easy. It takes work and time. Most of all time. And in the words of our imaginary BFF, Anna Quindlen, "To be a good friend and to appreciate the value of friendship requires honesty and concentration."
Oh but it's worth it. Especially if you find a friend like Tray. Trust me when I say that life has hurled some significant wallops our way these past several years and I can't imagine going through any of it without Tracy. She is the definition of a once-in-a-lifetime friend: loyal, encouraging, providing much needed laughter when all looks grim, and crying with me in my darkest moments. And light. She is full of light. Most of all, she's got the words of Henry James written on her heart: "Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind, the second is to be kind, and the third is to be kind." Happy Birthday to one of the kindest people I know. Here's to years filled with lots of candles, plenty of cake, and loads of laughter (the wrinkle-inducing kind). And just more time spent with you, one of my life's greatest gifts. Love you Tray.
*PS: Anna Quindlen's Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake makes a perfect gift for your own once-in-a-lifetime friend.