We just couldn’t move. There we were, lying on my sofa and on the floor, spread eagle, aching from limb to limb.
Had we just completed a long run? Nope. Pushed a car uphill through a snowstorm? Guess again.
We had just cleaned my basement.
Before you jump to conclusions, I’m no hoarder. My basement was probably no worse than yours on a bad day. (What’s that you say? Was not.) But two of my best friends in the world and I had just gone through the debris left from 14 years of marriage.
There aren’t many people I’d trust to do this with me. It’s intensely personal, even if you’re just making decisions like “Will this picnic blanket make me cry because it’ll remind me of happier times for our family?”. You know you’ll get a bit cranky at times, possibly shed a few tears—and the task is daunting because your ex wasn’t exactly the kind of guy who was into keeping the man cave in order.
But, two of my former college roommates had offered to travel several hundred miles to see me. They knew the organization piece was stressing me out. They gave up their kids’ games, time with husbands and precious hours they could have spent to get their own lives in order, to help little ‘ole me. These are my keepers.
Keepers hold your secrets, your spare house key and privileges to call you out when you’re being irrational or unreasonable. They keep you sane, loved and laughing. They keep your wine glass full when pouring your heart out and they keep those who wish you less than good a safe distance away when you’re struggling.
That weekend, we laughed, we cried, we created a spark of hope from what had been chaos. We made umpteen trips to my ex’s place and Goodwill. We trudged the stairs with boxes twice our size. We listened to our favorite tunes. We hugged and bickered and bitched.
They combed through my jewelry (just like college) to find something funky to wear, borrowed my shoes and mocked my drink of choice (alarmingly like college). I was able to thank them, but I was also able to look at my divorced friend and say, “You need to stop telling me what to do.” That’s how a keeper friendship works. You can say the hard stuff (“My divorce is and always will be different from yours”) and remain fast friends.
I have other keepers who are absolutely phenomenal pals. And I should probably list them all here, along with all of their wonderful qualities. But they’re MY keepers.
Finders keepers. And, well, you know the rest.
You’ll have to get your own.
But then again–you’re so smart, you probably already have some.