Friday, October 7, 2016
Friends like these
I took the boys away down to the Southern Highlands of NSW with a friend of mine and her two boys last week for the first week of the school holidays. I've never done a trip like that before, ie without Mr A but with a friend instead. It was great - all our boys get along so well. My friend managed to find a house that had its own tennis court with a basketball hoop. Although the weather was pretty cool at times, the boys didn't care - they spent a lot of time out on that court. One day in particular was so sunny, and my friend and I sat underneath a pergola covered in vines and sipped coffee while the boys alternated between tennis and basketball. There's nothing I enjoy more than a chinwag with a beautiful friend while sipping on a cappuccino. Especially an uninterrupted one.
We did 'farm stuff' too, like feed the sheep in the hazelnut orchard, and take long walks in hope of spotting local kangaroos (we did) and to check out the cows, all while dodging animal poos galore and large wombat holes. Then there was the time we took a rather disastrous bush walk. We accidentally chose one that was close to a main road - during the walk we could hear traffic and spot local houses! Then less than ten minutes in, Eldest Son spotted a snake in the grass (that looked disturbingly like a brown snake - you know, just the second most venomous land snake IN THE WORLD) and promptly stopped to excitedly take a photo of it before sending it out to friends on Snapchat (as you do). My friend and I couldn't get out of that bush fast enough, and it didn't help that our boys were teasing us by making, 'Look - a snake!' comments, causing us to squeal and run through the remainder of the walk until we (thankfully) hit a clearing. Having decided after some lunch to take the nearby access road back to our cars instead of risking another meeting of the snake, Middle Son - playfully chased by one of my friend's boys - managed to run straight in to a huge mass of mud, completely drenching his (only) pair of sneakers, and covering the back of his clothes in said mud in the process. *sigh*
My friend's beautiful eldest son offered the t-shirt off his own back for Middle Son to wear, and wore his mum's spare long-sleeved top instead so we could continue on to the beautiful surrounds of Milton Park (with Middle Son squeezed in to Youngest Son's thongs we thankfully found in the car) - a nice change of pace for us after our short, yet eventful, bush walk.
The biggest bonus of our boys amusing each other was that my girlfriend and I got to do a lot of talking. Whenever we get on the phone for a 'quick' chat, it's not unusual for a whole hour to pass. Even if we've already spoken to each other earlier in the week. We stayed at the farm for three nights and every night we chatted for hours and hours, warming our toes in front of the fire, sipping white wine and not once struggling with anything to say. We've been friends for almost twenty years now - we became friends pretty much from the moment she joined the bank where we both worked (where did the time go?). We attended each other's weddings and celebrated the birth of our children and supported each other through the death of our parent(s). (She lost her father just months after I did.) She remains one of my dearest friends today.
While we were down at the farm, the first anniversary of my dear Mum's death came around, and that morning I found a beautifully wrapped gift in my bedroom with a card attached. My friend had written some beautiful words of comfort for me, causing tears to well in my eyes - partly due to the memory of Mum's passing, of course, but also in recognition of the incredibly thoughtful gesture by my friend. I carefully unwrapped the shimmery, pink paper to find a beautiful candle inside.
As I write this, on the day of my mother's funeral held a year ago today, the candle is burning beside me in memory of her, thanks to my gorgeous friend.
I'm lucky to have a number of really good friends in my life. So lucky. There's nothing quite like a good friend, is there? And this one is one of the best. :)