From our earliest school pictures, there she is, always to my left. While our placement was partially due to last name; she was a Perry, me a Pardy, and partially – in group pictures anyway – to do with our shared gift of a shortened stature, we would have chosen to stand next to one another even if the alphabet and Mother Nature had other plans.
And that’s how it’s been through life; stubbornly thick as thieves. Why are we lifelong friends? I couldn’t tell you if I had to. It’s not like we’re cut from the same cloth. We actually couldn’t be more different if we tried. Where I’m flexible; mealtimes, homework, bedtimes and other routines, she’s regimented. Where I’m obsessed; vacation planning that lasts a year and packing for any trip, no matter how small, weeks in advance all the while making lists to support lists that back up my main list of to-do items, she’s much more chill. Our career paths are totally different, our marriages couldn’t possibly be more polar opposite, and our parenting styles are worlds apart. In fact, there’s been times in our lives when the only thing we’ve had in common is our love of red wine. Yet still, here we are so many decades later.
While we’ve had falling outs over the years, I’d be hard pressed to come up with any reason why we did. Thankfully, those spats have been short lived and we’ve always found our way back into the friendship fold.
Joy has been there for all my milestones and I’ve been there for hers. She was there at my wedding, and I returned home with a baby in tow to stand up for hers. We’ve shared our last pregnancies for a few months, both having our youngest as we edged close to 40.
Joy has travelled long distances to be with me for all kinds of celebrations and sorrows. When my first born came into the world, she flew up from Newfoundland to babysit a colicky newborn so hubby and I could go out for a few hours.
When I was up for an Atlantic Journalism Award, she flew to Halifax to see me win, because, as she said at the time, ‘I just knew you could do it!’ We’ve planned vacations together with our kids, drinking more than our share of wine in the process, and we always look forward to our lunch dates and catch-ups whenever we happen to be in the same city. Again, there’s the wine!
Joy has also driven eight hours to cry with me after my brother killed himself last summer. In fact, if I called on her today, just because I missed her, I’ve no doubt she’d be St. John’s bound if at all possible in the time it took to load the SUV.
And talk? Since Facebook has made staying in touch so easy, I’d say we’ve gleefully messaged away years of our life. From what’s for supper and weekend plans to the weather and our thoughts and feelings on the lot of it; there’s not much we don’t gab about, let’s put it that way.
I’ll be seeing Joy again in a few weeks when she brings her youngest into the city for a medical appointment. We will make a plan to get together with the kids, and if at all possible, sneak away for a few hours just for ourselves. And you know what? Even though we message back and forth hours at a time most days, I’ll guarantee we’ll never run out of things to say or be short on something – or someone –to talk about. Friends for life. It’s just the best! Cheers (with red) to that!