Proverbs 18:26 Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.

FullSizeRenderReaders of Caring Lessons know I was desperate to find a friend when I was in my early thirties, someone like me, a nurse and mom who wanted to go back to school.

That friend turned out to be Marianna.

I met her on the first day of a required course to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing. In the interim, we’ve raised our kids, completed advanced degrees, taught and/or practiced nursing, retired, and moved to different cities, but have worked at staying connected, including seeing each other in person at least once a year.

We held our annual meeting last week.

We never need an occasion to celebrate, but it helps. When Marianna asked if I’d like to splurge on a spa day, I pondered a bit and figured out we had an anniversary of sorts: the fortieth year of our friendship. Unbelievably, it’s already been forty years since we met in that classroom. I suggested this anniversary provided sufficient justification for upticks on our credit cards. She agreed.

So we spent a day at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, North Carolina.

Starting at nine, we had lavender hot stone massages. Then we soaked Mcin an outdoor warm pool under the sun. Chilly breezes brushed our cheeks and a warm waterfall slid down our necks as we contemplated life. We followed that marvelously relaxing escapade with sessions in an indoor whirlpool, a steam room, and a sauna, all interspersed with a licorice detox tea and snacks of almonds, chocolate yogurt-covered peanuts, and dried blueberries and more chatter.

We finished the long lovely morning with hot eucalyptus showers and thickIMG_3597 lavender lotions. Then, of course, there was lunch. An elegant spread of po boy sandwiches, cornbreaded shrimp on baguettes, with coleslaw and spiced walnuts. And conversation. To burn off a few crumbs of baguette, we circled their one-quarter mile lake twice. Complimentary valet retrieval of our car topped off our day at the spa.

But that’s not all. Since we left the spa mid-afternoon, it was time for tea. We stopped at La Farm Bakery for a chai latte, served in large round thick white cups with warmed chocolate chip scones alongside, to have another hour of talk. We are rarely without words, a concept our husbands have difficulty understanding.

IMG_3084Before I left for home, we posed for our usual photo session on Marianna’s floral couch. That couch has been a friend to us for many years, listening to our woes and aspirations and cushioning our tears and laughter. Memories made and memories savored.

I am thankful for my friend, my friend who sticks by me like family.


Source of Proverbs quote: The Message by Eugene Peterson