Thursday, October 8, 2009

injaynesworld "Friends Become Our Chosen Family"

Aside from some cousins who live in another city, I have no blood relations.   Both my parents had died by the time I was 23 and I was also an only child.  I have to admit that when I see friends who are struggling to care for aging parents, while still struggling to care for themselves, I can’t help but believe there’s a lot to be said for being an orphan.  Except for a brief time with a live-in boyfriend in my 20’s, I have always been single, preferring the company of cats and dogs with their complete indifference to my rather lax attitude toward housework.  The single life just suits me.   Plus, I’m pretty cranky. 

This does not, however, mean that I am anti-social or a recluse.  Far from it.  Throughout the years, I’ve created little pockets of friends wherever I've lived and organized them into loving, supportive family tribes.   I have friendships that go back 40 years and some longer, people who I am not obligated to love and who are not obligated to love me, but somehow the love is there and I believe sometimes even stronger than blood because it has been created out of choice.

We enjoy such rituals as monthly Margarita Night where we all take turns hosting the gathering with guest of honor, José Cuervo.   It’s always a fun group of interesting and diverse women, mostly linked through our mutual love of  tequila and horses.  We’re bonded by the fact that no matter how many times we get bucked off, we will rise to ride again, despite how crazy our doctors think we are.  They all totally understand when I say my dying wish will be that my carcass be tossed into the landfill with those of my departed, beloved steeds.  I know that sounds creepy to normal people, but anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows by now that I regard normalcy as vastly overrated. 

Another of my tribes, affectionately known as “The Usual Suspects,” has gathered to celebrate each other’s birthdays every year since 1996.   There are seven of us in this group and, on occasion, we allow their hubbies to join in the festivities.  I often hear single women talk about how they are excluded from the activities of their married friends and feel like married women regard them as a threat.  I guess I’m fortunate in that no one regards me that way.   Or maybe I should be insulted.  At any rate, it’s never been an issue.

At Christmas, I always have a tree-trimming party with about 20 guests, the main course being an awesome tomato-bisque soup made especially for me by a local restaurant.  My friends know I don’t cook and don’t expect that to change.  My friends also know I can sometimes appear to have Tourette’s Syndrome in that I seldom stop to edit my opinions before letting them rip.  They don’t expect that to change either.  They accept me warts and all and I them, because that’s what friends do. 

Over the years, we’ve shared the bad times, like when I broke my neck, as well as moments of great joy.   We’ve encouraged each other’s endeavors and commiserated over disappointments.  As we get older, I suspect we will come to appreciate and rely on our friendship even more.   I will likely not be the only single one in the years to come and I sometimes worry about how my friends will adapt to being on their own.   Fortunately, our friendship guarantees that none of us will ever be alone. 

That cliché that goes “if you want to make a friend you have to be a friend” is sucky, but true.   I cannot imagine my life without these smart, funny, raunchy, loving bunch of kick-ass great people and I can only guess I must’ve done something right to have deserved them. 


Contemplations of an Army Wife said...

Boy, is that a story after my own heart! I'm glad for your awesome people. :-)

Linda Medrano said...

You da bomb!

Ann Imig said...

I feel so lucky to have friends like you described.

It often amazes me all the different iterations of these women I've known and loved since childhood.

Thanks for visiting and following my blog!

Unknown said...

Ah, Jayne. Another great piece of writing. I so agree with you. My friendship circle is the very picture of diversity with me being the common denominator. I've always had the attitude if you don't like me, fine. That just means more of my time to spend with someone who DOES. I've also discovered, as my life continues on, I have the best relationships with women who have made similar choices as me. Not that all my choices have been good ones. Oh no, far from that. But most of my friendship circle includes childless women like myself, who really don't care they didn't reproduce, who didn't feel the urgency or the need to procreate, and who, as it turns out, are wonderful women despite that!

My friends also understand that upon MY demise, I want to be crab food in the Pacific Northwest. Yup. Dump me off the bow of a ship or cremate me and scatter what is left in the Bering Sea. It's my way of paying the crab community back. It's the least I can do. Oh, and 2 other things: play Pink Floyd "Learning to Fly" when the dumping occurs, and have a keg party on the beach. I guess there is 1 other item that must be broached: make sure my demise isn't suspicious, LOL! I've given the husband permission to push me overboard, but somebody make certain I've truly departed first.

Adam said...

Hi, Jayne! I can specially relate to your life story, and I think that's partly because of being gay. It's not unusual that we form "families" among friends, since that's the closest to family most of us will ever get! I plan to "marry" again and adopt, but I can't live without my friends. We are always there for each other and that means the world to me.

Adam (

Jane Lively said...

My mother's tradition was to consider many of her friends as "Family by Choice." It made for really fun, eclectic holidays. And I'd love to attend Margarita Night!

Aunt Becky said...

Beautiful and oh so true. Friends are so important.

Tawnia said...

I will be there! I am coming! I make the best margaritas! What an amazing life you have:)
Love Tawnia

Unknown said...

me in future years....


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