I have a core group of 5 really, really close friends. Many of us met in grade 1 or 2. The history and the shared experiences are immense.
As the years have progressed, we have each taken different paths in life. Sometimes we don’t see each other very often or keep in touch the way that we feel we should.
When Matt died, all of my friends rallied around us, exactly the way that I knew that they would. They have been there for us in so many ways.
One friend started coming every Thursday night for dinner. The commute from her work was usually more than an hour, and she would often roll up the driveway just as I was putting dinner on the table (hungry toddlers are not to be messed with).
After a couple of weeks, she said to me, “You can stop inviting me. I’ll be here.” We would eat, and I would put Ellie to bed, and then we’d sit and talk. Sometimes another friend would join us.
When quarantine began, our Thursday dinners stopped. And oh I miss them. It felt like a huge hole in my week. Daily texts were not enough.
Desperate to connect, we came up with the idea to watch Celebrity IOU on HGTV together. Or as much as you can be together when you fear for your life during a global pandemic.
I would sit alone in the basement, the baby monitor by my side. My friend would sit in her condo with her cats. And we’d text commentary back and forth. It was fun. A connection. Casual. Someone who shared my delight in home stuff. Someone who shared my opinions and sense of humour… most of the time.
One episode was a more glam makeover. My friend texted, “Oh, I want that” at the same time as I wrote, “That would be perfect for you.”
So when I came up with the idea to redo this old TV stand, she was the first person I thought of. Something glam. Special. Fun. Feminine.
She–like me, like the rest of this special group of friends–is turning 40 this year. So the day before her birthday, I gifted her with this bench. She was really happy. It felt like her. It fit in with what she’s doing at her home–and has inspired her to do a few more updates to her bedroom.
Our furniture and our homes are so, so much more than just things and spaces. They represent the people who live in them and use them. For me, this bench represents 40 years of my friends and I figuring out who we are and how to embrace it. Nearly 35 years of caring for each other and helping each other.
It represents how we all–all six of us–work to give each other the love, peace and joy that we wish for each other.