When you become a parent you don't think that your children will start having an influence on who you become friends with. But they do! One of my best friends is the mum of Daisy's best friend. How weird is that? Because Daisy made friends with a little girl in playschool, Ruby has Liza as her godmother. And now as Daisy ends her first year of school, I realise that some of the mums and dads I say hello to every morning - and who I will share time with for the next eight years - have slowly become friends. One a really good one. I never expected to make close friends at this stage of my life. Thought that was all done years ago.
I have always admired and envied my mum's circle of friends. As long as I have been alive, they have been around. I called them 'Auntie' and they shared every momentous and mundane moment of my mum's life, and by association, mine. They know me as well as anyone. Apart from the fact that 'The Girls' (as they still call themselves 40 years later) met every other Tuesday night for over four decades, they also chinked drinks and wrapped arms around each other at every significant event in their lives - children's births, divorces, parties, celebrations, bad days, good days and all the dramas and dilemmas that mark everyday life. There were days when they kept each other afloat and I always wished I had something similar.
But I didn't. Or so I thought. Sure I don't have the close knit circle, but I have something else. At my 40th I was pregnant so I decided to have a birthday lunch with my best girlfriends - a disparate group who I realised had also shared every moment of my life with me - just not all at once.
I realised I had a friend from every part of my life, and together they had chinked drinks and wrapped their arms around me for every significant event in my life. But, life has a funny way of keeping the circles intact, like a swirl, making circles within circles. One of the first phonecalls I made after my mum's stroke was to her best friends. Their devastation was profound and gave depth to mine. Over the last nine months they have kept me afloat. I text them, I ring and ask for advice, they call in to see me when I'm up with mum, and our lives now entwine once again, the love of my mum our common language. My mum's friends have become mine, friendship stretching generations. And as my new layer of friendships develop around the lives of my children, I hope the circles continue to spiral and my girls too will know that my friends are there for my life and theirs.