As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other, said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This is why so many people meet their lifelong friends in college, she added.

via The Challenge of Making Friends as an Adult –

Today is my longtime friend’s birthday…it is one of those milestone birthdays that you celebrate with good friends because they understand how it is to mark another birthday that ends in a zero.

It has been a week long celebration, which I am thrilled to have been able to spend at her side.

You see, we met close to 30 years ago now…it was a chance meeting of sorts at a Country Club that both our families had joined so that our husbands could play golf and our kids could swim and play tennis.

From the start, our husbands hit it off, both were physicians and from the East Coast, both played at golf and looked forward to an early Sunday tee-off so that they could spend the rest of the day with their families.

My friend and I are both nurses married to physicians, I think this is a bond that is special because as a physician’s wife, you spend a lot of time with the kids sans without your husband because of his extra long work days and on-call schedules. You also have to learn to live with men who are very intense and under the stress of make life and death decisions on a daily basis.

We knew that our day to day activities did not nearly measure up to the stress and intensity as those of our husbands. Nevertheless at times, we needed each other’s shoulders to get through motherhood.

We also understood our days were not all that easy as young moms of four girls under the age of five.

Although we lived in different suburbs of Chicago, we managed to keep in touch throughout the long winters as we looked forward to spending almost every day during the summer in each other’s company watching our kids learn to swim and play tennis. Those were great years and we knew it then and look back fondly on them now.

A little over four years ago, we both became grandmothers…and yes, we dote on our granddaughters.

I am so thrilled that we are now grandmothers together, just as we were moms together. Because, becoming a grandparent is a very special life milestone, that one cannot truly appreciate until it happens.

Over the years as friends, we have shared many  holidays, family celebrations and life events together… as well as some of our happiest moments and some of our very saddest moments.  All of us are now adult orphans and my friend’s husband and I have tragically lost our only siblings as well. Together, all four of us have laughed, cried and solved each other’s problems at dinner every Friday night for almost 20 years.

Traveling as couples has taken a back seat only recently because of our grandparent statuses. Fortunately, we had the opportunity to travel for many years as families and then as empty nesters.

We made a yearly pilgrimage to the Bahamas, a place that we enjoyed with our children at one time, then as couples… hopefully we will travel there again with our grandchildren.

A standout special trip is one, the four of us made to Ireland years back. Our sides hurt from laughter as we drove the verdant countryside, white knuckled at times on curvy narrow roads (left-sided of course). Simply put, unforgettable, especially the sunrises and sunsets, along with the sips of Irish whisky and the tastes of Irish humor.

This morning as I drank my coffee and perused the New York Times, I came upon this piece “The Challenge of Making Friends as an Adult”. It brought home many thoughts of past and present friends.

It made me happy to think about a weekend many years ago, when I spotted this young mom and her two daughters sitting at the pool, as my husband and I with our two daughters in tow were making our way to the car after a long day of swimming.

I turned and told my husband to “wait a minute,”  while I went over and introduced myself  to a woman that would become my trusted friend for the next 30 years and beyond…we would grow up together…and grow old together at the same time.

So, Happy Birthday, Kathy and here’s to sharing many more years together as friends and family.

xo…your grateful friend,