Cheers to you, my ‘anyway friend’


Sometimes, those little television shows stacked up in my DVR queue actually teach me a lesson. index

They aren’t all devoid of humanity or silly dramas and trashy reality shows. Sometimes, there’s a hidden moment in a fictional drama you actually can apply to real, true life.

Case in point: Maya’s wedding scene on Private Practice. Season 3, Episode 15.

Sam, Maya’s father, makes this toast at the reception:

“…And out of nowhere, (Maya) told me that when she grew up, she wanted to marry me. So I said, “Why?” I asked her, I said, “Why me?” And she looked up at me and she said, “Because, Daddy, you are my anyway friend.”

Now at the time I didn’t know what that meant, so Maya had to explain to me that an ‘anyway friend’ is the one person in your life who, no matter what they say or do, no matter what they’ve been through with you, they love you anyway. So my sincerest hope is that for Maya, (her husband), and for him, Maya, is that anyway friend. Because no matter how old you are or what your responsibilities, if you have love, real, unconditional love, I think you can make it. So, to my anyway friend and her anyway friend, may you not only make it, but enjoy it.”

I instantly started thinking about my anyway friend, Charlie. Now my Charlie really isn’t “Charlie” on his birth certificate. But I call him that sometimes because, well, it’s kind of an inside-joke-kinda-sorta-thing. And, it’s also one of the reasons he became my anyway friend in the first place. But I won’t tell you the whole story… because as much as I believe in our AF status, I don’t want to test it.

Charlie and I have been through a lot over the years. God is a given, but besides my family, Charlie’s the only other personification of “unconditional love” I have ever known. He has seen my heart full and overflowing, and he has seen my heart running low. He knows that sometimes, when I laugh a lot, the occasional snort comes out or, even worse, a little tinkle. And he also knows that the little tinkle will make me laugh even harder, force me into laugh-tears and then I’ll forget why I was laughing in the first place. He loves me anyway.

He knows I have a little “Family Ties” dance. Yes, I have hand motions and a little jig I do throughout the theme song. He’s seen me do it a bazillion times – and as ridiculous as it must look – he loves me anyway.

He knows I have an obsession with many of the things he, a relatively quiet, free-thinking guitar player, detests. Like sports. And celebrity gossip rags. And shopping. And men in neckties. And cheesy ’80s country music. And makeup. And chicken casseroles. And making special orders at restaurants. And he knows that I must pause my life if my nails need to be filed. Even if it means his life is interrupted for said nail-filing, he loves me anyway.

He knows I sometimes say things without thinking. He knows I am opinionated and strong-willed and stubborn as a country mule. He knows that I like to hear myself talk. He knows I can talk forever to a complete stranger and leave him waiting in the car. (I have also left him holding on call waiting and proceeded to forget about him… and, yes, he still loves me anyway.)

All those dumb, predictable jokes, all the songs I make up, all the horrible, one-hit wonders I regurgitate, all the funny noises, all the impressions I do of other people that sound nothing like the person I’m imitating. Loves. Me. Anyway.

My anyway friend knows all the colors that make up the rainbow in my soul, and he doesn’t judge me for any of them. He knows about the dark places, the blacks and blues. He knows about the sunny yellows and the quirky made-up ones – those weird collaborations of color that compose the uniqueness of me.

He knows all of my present flaws and bouts of craziness and the good and the bad. He knows all about the ugly inside me. All the stuff that happened when I was younger that I sometimes would rather forget? He knows about all that, too.

Charlie, I think, appreciates those ugly scars, because in his eyes, they make me pretty.

And that’s the bottom line as to why he’s my anyway friend.

Now, I didn’t need a TV show to teach me this about Charlie. But I did need a TV show to remind me of how valuable a strong friendship is for the next jumping-off point in life.

There’s one thing that shouldn’t be a “private practice,” and that’s the love you have for those who influence your life. So to my anyway friend, Charlie… may I bless your life 1/930,478th as much as you have blessed mine.

I have built a room for you in my heart. And the light is always on.

Friendship is one of life’s greatest blessings. Sometimes it’s carefree. Sometimes it hurts. But we carry on anyway.

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