Monday, September 10, 2012

Friendship Flowers

yellow rose - friendship
For those of you who are frequent readers of Honestly YA, you may know I tend toward a little “comic relief” in my posts. For those of you who are new to Honestly YA, you can just go ahead and believe that “comic relief” is my role, okay? I want to get that out of the way because as much as I planned - months ago, when this topic came up - to keep a little comedy in my post, it abandons me today.

 See here’s the thing. I’m starting a new topic today: Stand by Me / Lean on Me. it’s about “being there” for your friends. Having their backs and them having yours. it’s a particularly meaningful topic for me, and one that shows up repeatedly in my fiction. Deadly Farce a mystery with a generous dollop of humor, looks at how far the main character will go to keep her friends safe. Braving the Titanic looks at how much a character is willing to risk for a friend. Even the manuscript I’m working on now asks a similar question: how much will you sacrifice for the good of your friends? Friendship and loyalty are themes I return to again and again.

cornflower - loyalty

Today I was reminded why.

Because when life goes down the toilet, a true friend is there for you. They pick you up, tell you everything’s going to be okay, maybe take you for ice cream, or a frappuccino. Their default behavior is to look after you, cheer you if they can, support you, defend you, be strong when you can’t be. Your job is the same. When your friend’s life has gone to hell, it’s your turn. You are the one to offer support, a shoulder to cry on, a frappuccino.

Friendship and loyalty. For me, these ideas go hand in hand. They are inseparable. Indivisible. Non-negotiable.

Now here's an odd fact. Those friends who have always stood by me, could always be counted on when life went south, always knew when to make me laugh or when to let me cry... those are the friends I made in high school. And as I've said before, I'm an old broad. High school was a long time ago. But it is also, as you all know too well, one of the most challenging, terrible, wonderful times. It stands to reason the friends you make then will stay for a lifetime.

To be fair, I have friends now, made during my so-called adult years, who are every bit as true as the gals from high school. But I've also been betrayed by more so-called friends since then. So I thank my lucky stars for the friends who've stood by me, who always have my back, and know I'd rather have a frappuccino than an ice cream. To each of those great gals I send today a (virtual) mixed bouquet of cornflowers and roses (with some daisies thrown in simply because they're cheerful *s*), but especially to Petra - even though she keeps beating my ass at Words with Friends - and to Julie for the virtual frappuccino that got me through my day.

Your turn. Who are you sending a bouquet to today? I hope your list is long!

(added note: if you would like to go ahead and send these flower images to your friends, you are safe to do so! both are public domain images!)



Kimberly said...

My virtual bouquet goes to you, my friend! What a great post. I love when books (especially YA) have strong friendships in them. They are severely lacking in girl YA. For whatever reason, boy books have much stronger, truer friendships in them. It drives me crazy when I see the bratty, catty stuff in so much YA. It makes it look like that's normal, and it isn't.
I know I had great friendships in high school. I'm hoping that my girls will know that same gift because friendships can really hold you together through the bad times and good times alike.
I'll send you a virtual frap anytime you need one!
I prefer a gallon of ice cream. Since it's virtual and all...

Jennifer McAndrews said...

Kim, you're a doll! You gotta know that right up on the top of my send-a-flower list is all my MargaRitas. You all are right there the moment I need help pushing someone into a pot(ted) plant : )
Virtual ice cream headed your way... and a virtual toppings bar to go with!

Natalie D Richards said...

What a lovely post. It's so true that friends like that are amazing -- they're the most valuable treasure we can find, right? Sadly, most of mine weren't formed in high school, but at random, unlikely places over the years. I always feel we've got to keep our eyes never know when that next amazing friend is going to come along. ;-)

CareyCorp said...

Wonderful post Jen! I'm sending 2 bouquets. One to my AMAZING critique partners and one to my wonderful, inspiring MargaRITAs!

Julie O'Connell said...

Well, Google ate my comment, so I'll try again. What I said made me very drippy, Miss Comic Relief! *sniff* Thank you so much. You know all the people who'd get my bouquets - with a BIG beautiful one to you! I am very lucky to have the friends I do, and I know they always have my back. Especially good to know when you have a year like I've had. *sniff* Getting all verklempt again. See you soon vibes heading your way with a generous helping of SQUEE attached. :-) Love and hugs!

Melissa Landers said...

This was such a sweet post, Jen. Being a nomad has taught me how difficult it is to cultivate new friendships as an adult. I also think it's given me a greater appreciation for those friendships, because I've had to work harder for them.

Jennifer McAndrews said...

Natalie -- I don't think it's sad that you haven't kept high school friends. you've still made amazing friends, right? that's what counts. it's not the when, it's the knowing.

Carey -- there's something extra special about our critique partners, isn't there? And of course, the MargaRitas ROCK!

Jennifer McAndrews said...

Julie, you are the only reason I was able to write that blog post, you know. Thank you for being there for me ((hugs))

Melissa, I can't imagine having to pick up and leave friends behind all the time. Your appreciation of the value of friendship makes your friends extra lucky to have you!

Lorie Langdon said...

Love this post, Jen! True friendships are hard to find, but so precious.

One of the hardest lessons I've learned this year is that sometimes a friend is only meant to be in your life for a season. And there are times when we have to make the difficult decision to let them go.

Hey, I think I just found my blog topic for this rotation!

Ginger Calem said...

I feel exactly this way about friendship -- it's intertwined with loyalty and "I'll do anything for you" that I honestly can't separate the two.

I'm honored you're among those friends whom I hold close and dear to my heart. Basically, you're stuck with me.

What has been surprising to me, and I don't know why, is that I've been able to discover new friends lately that snuggled up and settle next to my heart much faster than when I was younger and kept people at a distance for a long time.

It's very telling who you immediately reach and out call when you're hit with a crisis or just truly need a connection.

Suzanne Lilly said...

What a great idea! But then, you always have great ideas, Jen. I'm going to do this for my friends, too, just to let them know how much I appreciate them.

Edward L. Saucedo said...


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