By Lisa Scottoline
One of the greatest things about the holidays is family.
But an even greater thing about the holiday is friends.
Because they’re the family you choose.
And they never ask for money.
But if they needed it, you would give it to them.
I never had a sister, but I have a circle of sisters in my girlfriends. And there’s no best friend among them. They’re all my best friends, and each of them is in their own circles of girlfriends. I have such old friends that I’ve even come to know their girlfriends.
We’re connected like the Olympic rings, but you don’t have to work out.
Like we’re all gold medal girlfriends.
There are some girlfriends I see all the time, but also old friends from high school whom I never see, like Sandy, who lives in Vermont. We don’t have to see each other to renew the connection or know it’s there.
Sandy grew up to be a psychiatrist.
I grew up to be a person who needs a psychiatrist.
Our friendship started on the tennis team, then was formed by a love of Breyer’s vanilla and Barbra Streisand.
We saw the movie Funny Girl and easily identified with its star, then we saw The Way We Were and A Star is Born, and we cried both times.
Then we grew up and Barbra Streisand started touring, so we went to see her and cried there, too.
We’ve basically cried over Barbra Streisand every decade.
You know we’re having a good time cause we’re crying.
Now Barbra Streisand has written a book and also recorded its audiobook, which we’re both listening to. It lasts 48 hours, but it’s not enough. Streisand recounts every detail of her life, what she thought, what she felt, what she wore, and what she ate. And when you listen, you realize how rarely it is that you hear the story of any woman told in such great detail, never mind that it is such a remarkable woman who has made for herself such a remarkable life.
Then Sandy and I text each other about how great it is, comparing this line to that one, studying it with a dedication we never showed in high school.
And that’s saying something because Sandy won the Calculus Award.
Me, I barely passed trig.
But did it hurt me?
No, frig trig.
And yesterday, Sandy sent me a video of herself, learning to play The Way We Were on the piano.
I burst into tears.
I was crying for so many reasons I couldn’t begin to sort them, which is the best thing about crying.
You don’t analyze.
You just cry.
Especially if you’re Italian.
And everybody is a little bit Italian, inside.
Anyway, at first I thought I was crying because Sandy was playing a song we heard Barbra Streisand sing, which would’ve been reason enough.
Then it was because I thought it was so great that she was learning to play the piano at our age.
But really it struck me that it was because I have been friends with this woman for most of my life, from the tennis team to the last set of the only game that matters.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
I bet many of you have friendships that have lasted decades.
And I wanted to take a moment to recognize how remarkable that is.
To me, everyone’s life is remarkable.
Every friendship is remarkable.
And I’ve made friends from all the decades of my life, and I value them all equally, whether I’m in contact with them or not, whether we’re speaking or seeing each other or not, because that connection remains.
And that may be something that only older people know, maybe even older women.
That to be girlfriends with someone over decades is the greatest gift you can receive or give.
Every old friend feels like home.
Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2023