WARNING- LATE-NIGHT WANKY, PSEUDO-PHILOSOPHICAL RAMBLE ALERT. APROPOS OF NOTHING... Read on at your own risk...
I've been thinking.. (always scary)... friendship is an interesting thing. I suspect we've all had close friendships that we thought would last forever, but suddenly came a cropper (often for no discernible or predictable reason). I've certainly had a couple of those.
There are also those friendships that just kind of happen; they sneak up on you, and before you know it, you have this really great friend, and can't for the life of you remember (or figure out) how it happened, but are really glad it did. I have a few of those, too.
I am extremely blessed to have a number of friends who have been in my life for a loooong time, e.g. the small group who call me Carolyn, rather than Caro, have mostly known me for over 30 years (except, of course, Alan and Chantal, who just prefer to call me by my full name, because they like it better :-) )
When Mum was dying (the most difficult year of my life to date), I was surprised at how much support I received from friends who I hadn't previously considered to be all that close... but (at the risk of mixing clichéd metaphors) I guess it's true that when the chips are down, people show their true colours. So much so, that I now have an adopted family, that adds significantly to the attraction of Melbourne.
And then, there are the friends who have come into my life in more recent times. (Is it weird that my major temporal reference point these days seems to be things that happened 'Before Mum' or 'After Mum'?) Some of these newer friendships have become quite close; some have ebbed and flowed a bit (so that one friendship which was quite close for a while has eased off a bit - and that's ok). There are some friendships that have been in place for a while, but have recently started to become closer, which I'm finding enjoyable, but also a little curious. And other, much newer friendships that have the potential to become solid and special, and I look forward to seeing how these pan out.
When I was working for Fusion, I remember one of the things Mal Garvin used to say, when talking about the phenomenon of social isolation, was that most people can count the number of true friendships in their lives (and by this he meant 'the people who really know what life is like for me') on the fingers of one hand.
If Mal was right, and this is indeed true, then I think I must have rather deformed hands, (with many more fingers than most people). So I guess the crux of this long ramble is to say that I feel extraordinarily blessed to have so many people in my life who know me so deeply, and yet still love me and want to hang out with me (and even allow their offspring to hang out with me, and call me 'Aunty' :-)
Thank God for the blessing of deformed hands! :-)