When I was a little girl I remember how I’d spend afternoons in the living room listening to Bette Midler and dancing. I’d look at the record jackets as I sang my heart out; spinning, twirling, performing. My favorite Bette Midler jacket was the drawing of just her face with a huge mane of curly orange hair fanning out around her. ‘Cause you’ve got to have friends…la, la, la, la, la.’, sang Bette. I loved that song then and now 30 years later it keeps popping into my head.
I’ve had some wonderful friends along the way and am thankful to continue to find them. The really special ones are like signposts marking out the years. As I watch S grow and learn how to be a friend I can’t help but think of the friends I had at her age. Nancy Beth saved me from 9-year-old heartbreak and loneliness after divorce and a move. We would talk and laugh and play for hours, swimming in her Grandmother’s pool, riding bikes and jumping on the trampoline. I loved her like a sister.
Today Sofia had her first French friend over after school. They don’t really talk to each other because they don’t speak the same language but what they share is being little girls. They hold hands, smile and laugh, mime what they want to say and find joy in being with one another, no words necessary. As they held hands and jumped into the pool, coming up for air only to giggle, I thought of Nancy Beth and all the lovely friends I am thankful to have in my life. You know who you are.
Yesterday I had a new friend over. She’s got a little one the same age as the baby so he’s got a new friend too. I’ve become accustomed to being the only Texan around,the only American too for that matter, but way over here in France I’ve met a fellow East Texan. As we sat by the pool watching the kids swim she asked, ‘Have you taught them butt bumpers yet’? A spring of joy rose in me…butt bumpers! I hadn’t heard anyone else call it that or even know what it was in years--Nancy Beth years. I loved butt bumpers and have taught it to many people; from my step-siblings to cute boys I was trying to flirt with in college. There’s something about shared commonality. It makes you feel like you belong. Even if it is just a silly pool trick where you hold hands, push your feet together and push! butts bumping each other and forcing you both out and over in an exhilarating flip.
Rowan’s had friends over this week too and along with his came the whole family. All French, all wonderfully kind and funny. As Paul and I talked to them in halting French mixed with English, they did the same only in reverse. We’d reach for our dictionaries when things got complicated and laugh at the fun of it all. We’ve planned a dinner out ensemble and P and Monsieur Bon Ami have planned mountain biking and wine tasting.
All in all, it’s been a very successful week. Friends for everyone. Sing it Bette, sing it, you know you gotta have ‘em!