I have a wonderful friend, let's call her Shmeth. I adore Shmeth despite the fact that I am inferior to her in every way. Shmeth is blonder than I am (naturally), thinner than I am, a better dresser than I am (like that would be hard to do) and smarter than I am (empirically speaking, she went to Harvard Law School for god's sake. I went to...not Harvard Law School). Shmeth also sews, bakes a mean pan of brownies and always has the perfect teacher gift at the ready. You can never look good next to Shmeth. And yet I absolutely adore her because she is a *true friend*.
When I was younger a true friend was someone who was there for you when you got dumped by the love of your life, or held your hair in the bathroom of some frat party. And made sure you made it home from that same frat party. Or tells you that you are really smart even thoughyou failed French 101 because you suck at romance languages no matter how hard you tried.
Later in life the true friend celebrated with you when you got that amazing job, and later the promotion. She stood up with you at your wedding and didn't blink an eye when you went all psycho about the bridesmaid dresses, shoes, and hosiery being a certain shade. Or when you actually cried because you were having an August wedding and white tulips are not available in August in Seattle.
The true friend supported you through your pregnancies no matter how hormonal you got. She assured you that it was perfectly okay to eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's each night and sleep 20 hours a day when you were pregnant. In fact, there would be something wrong with you if you weren't doing these things. The baby's health might suffer otherwise. She was there for you once you had the baby and looked like a complete sleep-deprived, nonsensical disaster for two years, and then another two years after that because you had a second baby.
But I didn't meet Shmeth until all those events had passed. So why would I have such loyalty and love for a woman who, in comparison, makes me look so...mediocre?
A few months ago we were out to dinner with our families. It wasn't a fancy restaurant but it was in a public place. We were tired and hungry and it was a long time until we got our food. Once our food came I looked down the table at my son who all of the sudden vomited onto his plate. Then he did it a second and a third time. I jumped up from my seat and started cleaning up while simultaneously whisking him away, out of the restaurant and to the car. At that moment Shmeth could have looked at me, or my son with horror. She could have frowned, screamed, or vomited herself (which is what I might have done). Instead she smiled, rolled her eyes and laughed. Then she offered to drive my daughter and husband home if they wanted to stay and finish their meals. Seriously. The actions of a true friend who understands that hey, vomit happens.
So Shmeth, I forgive you for being blonder than me, thinner than me, a better dresser, smarter and all around more talented. I am just glad I found you because you help me get through my days a little easier.