I have a friend named Ryan. I’ve known him for almost 20 years. We went to high school together and we moved to the town I live in together and even though we live in different parts of the state, we’re still friends. Good friends (and friends who have never, ever crossed the line into romance, which I believe is the key to maintaining excellent friendships).
This friend, Ryan, is really a complex man. He can be, quite frankly, one of the biggest assholes I’ve ever met, and he’s lost some friendships because he is sarcastic and sometimes even mean.
But the thing is, he’s really not any these things. He’s really a kind, gentle soul with a wicked sense of humor that some people don’t understand or appreciate. I always think of him like a real life Dr. House (minus the limp, the doctor credentials, or the money).
I think because I’ve known him for so long and seen his many different sides, I love him as a friend regardless. He’s the type of friend whom I won’t talk to for 6 months, and then he’ll call and say he’s on his way into town, and ask to stay the night.
I’m never put off nor offended by his random visits. I actually look forward to them because I know the kids and I will be in for a funny night, even if I have to make Maddie “ear-muff” it a few times.
The one thing Ryan is NOT, however, is sentimental. I’ve never seen him tear up; hell, I’ve never even seen him close. I’ve never really seen him be very complimentary either. He’s not one to hug or kiss or even offer me a shoulder to cry on. But he’s steadfast in other ways, and I can almost always count on him to call me or text me for mother’s day and my birthday.
Which is why I made sure to invite him to my birthday party this year. As much as I really do eschew personal birthday bashes, my good friend Jenn convinced me to throw a big bash, not to celebrate my birthday, per-se, but to celebrate the end of my year of thanks. As I thought about Jenn’s suggestion, I started pondering how this bog, my year of thanks, has changed me. I realized that the one HUGE thing I’ve learned is that I have some really, really awesome friends, and that for my birthday, I’d like to get them all together and celebrate them and their huge, positive influence in my life.
So I wrote an overly sentimental facebook message to all my friends, particularly the friends who showed up on this blog. Since Ryan is not on facebook, I sent the message to his email account.
Today, I received his reply: