My daughter is always coming home and talking about a new BFF. Most of the time we're hearing the name for the first time when she refers to them as her BFF. It's one of those terms that doesn't mean anything any more. She uses it to refer to acquaintances who she likes. There's nothing wrong with that. At her age, who knows who will pass the test of time that last "F" requires? My BFF's were my acquaintances once. Tom gets annoyed with the whole concept because he says that the "Best" part implies that there is only one - one who is better than all the rest. I suppose from a strictly semantic point of view, he is correct, but I'm gonna have to go with my daughter on this one.
Different situations call for different "bests". None superior to the others, just different. All vital.
This Christmas I received a very unexpected gift in the mail and it was simply inscribed: B.F.F. This made me smile from ear to ear, because it struck me as so true and real. Three simple little letters, thrown about liberally and casually by every teen and tween girl in the nation, but here they were - addressing me - from a woman I've called a friend for over 30 years. Now 30 years isn't forever, but it's a heckuva long time. And if someone can put up with your antics for 30 years, they've kind of committed to the long haul.
My BFF's - and I am blessed enough to have a few of them - don't all go back 30+ years. A couple do. I suppose a BFF passes not only the tests of time and distance, but mostly the test presented to us in our marriage vows: for better or worse. We promise - vow - to love our spouse for better or worse, but what makes us stick with our friends through those rough times? Why don't they give up on us when we make poor choices? Why don't they leave us when we're whiny and depressed and unreasonable? Why don't they turn their backs when we become embarrassing and ridiculous? Some of them do. Sometimes they come back. The BFF's come back.
The BFF is that person who you don't need to see or even speak to for days or months or sometimes even years - then when you do get together it's like no time has passed at all. The BFF knows all of your embarrassing secrets - some of them first hand - and that's okay, because they would never use them against you. Which is not to say that they won't, from time to time, tease you mercilessly about them. Because, come on! They're friends, not saints! Unless you're friends with saints. In which case, good on ya, I guess. But I'm not. I'm friends with gorgeous, amazing, utterly fallible folks.
At the risk of being cliche, the BFF laughs with you and cries with you. They love you when you're ugly.
My mother called me last night to tell me that she is losing a BFF. Her friend is dying. Last rites have been administered. My mother is out of town. She is not holding her hand. They talked on the phone. They said good-bye. Neither tried to pretend it was something it was not. They knew they would not speak again in this world. As my mother relayed all of this to me last night I tried to imagine being in either of their positions. The friend who was losing her life and the friend who was losing her friend. I couldn't wrap my brain - my heart - around either. Of course I know I'm mortal. Of course I know my friends are mortal. But forever - doesn't that just mean - to quote the wedding vows again - 'til death do us part? Or does it go on?
I think maybe it goes on.
If any of my BFF's are reading this - and you know who you are - I love you, man.