The Portland trip, that is. Kirstin sent me email this week saying that she was having withdrawals from her girls, and I have been too.
It was Kirstin's birthday on Tuesday. Pimp mama up above is 36. Hard to believe. We've been friends for more than 20 years now, and no one can break me down like Kirstin can. Seriously, she's that friend who sort-of looks into your soul and digs around with a grapefruit spoon trying to get at the heart of things. Sometimes she's dead on, and when she is, I have to throw up my hands and admit that I should just give in and do what she's telling me to. "Don't be such a toughie!" is one of the things she likes to say to me. She's all about the vulnerability, all about the love. I don't think there's anyone else more likely to well up with tears of sympathy when I tell her about something I'm suffering through (though Regan might be close) and if I never saw Kirstin again in my life, I would never forget the feel of her soft hand petting mine while she says "Aw, sweetie!". That's a classic Kirstin moment.
She's also one of those friends, like Susan, who has been there for just about everything that has happened to me since I was 14 years old. Lots of time she was actually physically there, but if she wasn't, she heard about it all later. I was there when she married Mark and for her son's birth, and I wouldn't have missed either for the world.
There are a lot of other reasons why I love her, and why I will be hot-footing it out of my board meeting tomorrow afternoon to give her a big hug and a happy birthday, but some of those reasons are secrets. It's good to have a friend who will keep your secrets, who has seen you in every state of duress and undress and drunkenness and never ever makes you question for a minute whether she will still love you the next day. In fact, Kirstin's the sort of person who might just love you more.