Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine Friends

I'm fairly neutral about Valentine's Day. For about a decade, as a floral designer, the holiday meant a frenetic seasonal rush at a flower shop. Now that those days have passed, what I end up doing is a toss up. I like that people can interpret the day however they want and do whatever sounds fun and romantic. What's wrong with a day all about love, indulgence, and showing appreciation and admiration? This year, as a single lady, I want to express my appreciation for some of my most beloved friends.
I've known Will since middle school, and we became close friends when we lived together for a year and a half in college. In those days he'd bake up a storm, and after morning classes we'd sit on the front porch together, drinking tea and eating homemade pear-cardamom bread, dissecting all of life's questions and talking for hours.

We don't have those long hours together anymore, but our friendship has evolved into something I could have never foreseen: writing and editing support. I've edited his writing projects and he has edited mine. It's pretty sweet to connect in a new way after decades of friendship and I'm so grateful to have him in my life.
I met Lindsey in high school English when I hadn't done my homework to come up with a topic proposal for History Day. I sat down by her about two minutes before the bell rang, feeling desperate. "Do you have a research idea? Can you add my name to your proposal and we'll do a partner project?" Thanks to her saying yes, we became great friends and created a rockin' dramatic presentation on Gandhi and India's independence movement that made us regional champions and took us to the state finals.

These days, Lindsey lives in Austin, but I talk to her as much as any friend in Seattle. I save my funniest, most outlandish stories from the week, with the goal of cracking her up on the phone as much as possible. She just got engaged, but is still the staunchest supporter of single ladies. "I went to look at wedding venues," she tells me. "This one at an old mill has a ton of walking trails on the river-- so many spots for my single friends to make out!"
Alex is a friend that I've barely seen throughout the past decade, but we both ended up living in the same neighborhood last year. We rebooted our friendship last summer when I took a week off to go backpacking, and all my friends were working. I has fine with going alone, but luckily Alex had some time off mid-week, and we spent three days backpacking in Mount Rainier National Park together. He was such a fun, easy-going, stellar outdoor buddy. Since then, we've started running together regularly, even early on Sunday mornings and even in the pouring winter rain. He's a great listener and strikes that wonderful balance between goofy and sincere.
Alice is my role model for being a good friend even while really busy and even in a relationship. I know it's hard to maintain close friendships in the flurry of modern, urban life, and especially in a new, exciting relationship. Many people drop off the radar, but somehow Alice is always there. She is a medical resident who often works 70-80 hours a week, and still finds time for canoe crabbing adventures, meeting at the climbing gym, making dinner together, teaching me to brew beer, or sending me random texts like, "Hey, come over for Swiss chard pancakes!"
Do you have friends you love who you are especially thankful for today?