The power of a best friend

Nikki and I last weekend
As a child growing up in a military family, you often don’t get to have a friend for longer than the duration of a typical posting; two to three years is all you can muster in the way of “Friends Forever” before they move away and you’re left wondering who will wear the other half of your Best Friend’s necklace. But as a child, you usually adjust pretty quickly and move on to the next girl who shares some sort of similar interest. While growing up in Borden, ON, I was usually not the one moving away, but rather, people were always moving away from me. That is, until I met Nikki Kowalski at the age of 9 during golfing lessons. She invited me over to play on her trampoline and that was it. Our friendship was meant to be. We’ve been friends ever since and because Nikki’s parents are civilian, she never moved. We went to high school together, lived together during university, and recently, I was in her bridal party for her wedding. We’ve been there for first loves, first day of university, first day you move in with someone (I never thought Nikki could relinquish control of her obsessively clean house to a BOY!) and now, her first year of marriage. Yes, we’ve been through a lot together. And she supports me now as I go through my various stages of loneliness, ensuring she calls back when I wail into her voicemail.

Nikki and I last weekend

The main criteria that I feel all best friend’s should meet is that you should be able to tell them everything about your life. You should be able to tell them about every bad decision, every stupid mistake, and every time you failed. Because your best friend should never judge you or make you feel bad about yourself. They should be your biggest cheerleader and your most noble accomplice. Nikki is that friend. Nikki never, ever judges me and I love her for it. And now, at a time when Nikki knows I need her most, she came up to visit me and we went out for a series of girly events; drinking martinis, going to the spa, watching romance movies as we ate Doritos…it was the weekend great memories are made of! She consoled me when I cried because I missed Ben. She didn’t hurry me at all or push me, but just let me cry until I was finished. Her patience is eternal. But this time, as we said goodbye, it was more emotional than usual and it caught me off guard. In 17 years, I can count the number of times I’ve seen Nikki cry on my two hands. As we said goodbye, we realized our lives are about to change. I’m posted next year and will more than likely be moving out of province. Nikki and her husband are going to try having children soon. And suddenly, girly weekends will be a little more difficult to arrange. We have husbands and fiances and children to consider! When did this all happen? Real life is sneaking up on us and we have officially become grown ups. And it scares me. So we stood there, sobbing like babies in my driveway as we loaded up her car. We didn’t even need to discuss why we were crying because as most best friends do, we already knew. And as sad as we were, there was a strange comfort as well, in knowing that no matter how far apart we are, our friendship will always be the same. But that’s the thing about a really great best friend, you always know you can come back to them and things will be just as they were. No matter when I see her next, I know she will still accept all my faults and love me for exactly who I am. And that’s how I know I won’t have to tell her I don’t want things to change, because they will change…change is just a part of life. But even if I’m across the country and Nikki has her arms full with three kids, she will still be there, standing in my corner, telling me it’s all going to be alright and it’s okay to make mistakes. Kelly