People always say friends are the family you choose. And for all intents and purposes, when a friend is a close one, there is no distinction as to blood ties or not.
I am fortunate to have many close friends, several of whom I've known since childhood. In fact, there's one friend, Alexander, who is my longest standing. To tell you how many years we’ve known each other would reveal my age, but let’s say I was born before him, and our mothers were friends when they were pregnant.
As kids we spent hours together amusing ourselves with hide and seek, board games and hanging out in Alexander’s treehouse - a special childhood luxury every kid should have. As we got a little older we also played "office" - I was the President of course, and Alexander my secretary. I was ahead of my time...but I digress.
At one point, we lost touch as we both moved away and life took us on a different course. But the mark of a solid friendship is the ability to pick up as though there were no gap at all…and that we did. Though he may not realize it, I consider Alexander a brother (without the beatings so many of my girlfriends got from their ‘real’ brothers). As we have grown into adults, taken on careers and relationships, it has been amazing to witness the person he's become and to have shared in some small part of it.
This summer it was exciting to attend Alexander’s wedding (lord knows no one thought he would ever get married) to a wonderful woman who is perfect for him. It brings a smile to my face to see the man he is today…and to reflect on all the blackmail material I can hold against him when the timing is just right.