Spending time with old friends is absolutely time best spent. There's no explaining or misunderstanding, there's simply a whole world of appreciation of each other's quirks and history. You know what each other have been through and you know what makes each other tick. There is rarely any judgement. Old friendships are like good wines, tending to age well - as life goes on - adding partners and children to the mix, potentially developing the relationships further.
If you are lucky enough to have a friend who is also a cousin then that relationship is probably one of the best. Cousins share family, but with more space than a sibling relationship allows, cousins can have an amazing bond. Coming from a large Italian family on my mother's side, I have been blessed with no less than 17 cousins. Summers growing up were usually spent with at least 5 of them in a sunny villa, our Nonna cooking, our Nonno playing golf - us running around. Those times are some of my most precious memories.
We had a date in the diary to stay with one of my dearest cousins next weekend. Between text messages however, we got the dates confused - with them expecting us to arrive this weekend instead (this was realised only 24 hours before expected arrival time). I don't know many people who would be particularly understanding about that mess up. I can however, trust that with my cousin there is no lasting upset.
Sadly for them, old friends have to suffer the worst sides of us as well as the best. I know that one of my favourite friends says that I can be 'prickly' at times. Just by my voice on the phone she knows if I'm in one of those prickly moods and I will know that she knows! However the strength of a friendship that has settled in like a beautiful old house, means that those prickly times or mixed up dates do not altar the essence of the relationship, they simply add to it.
Instead of being at my cousin's house this weekend, we caught up with another wonderful couple. I had been at primary school with the girl and we shared memories from when we were four years old - memories of teachers, childhood homes, parents, pets long-gone. We introduced our children and our husbands and enjoyed the moment spent together before heading back to our separate lives. It is sometimes difficult to know when you are going to see an old friend again, often life has taken you both to different parts of the country or world and having families and jobs means that lives are busy. However as the old cliche saying goes - with an old friend you pick up where you left off. Nothing changes between the two of you, however long it has been.
Old friendships add colour to our lives, they are always there at the most important events, cheering us on, because they love us and want the best for us. Old friends want to see each other happy. I know the faces that have coloured my life path. They are the ones I can count on to be there when it matters most, however rarely we get to hang out together anymore. From being in trouble at school to going out clubbing in London, my father's funeral, weekend trips away, my wedding and the ones who acknowledged the births of my children.
New friendships are full of excitement, I am constantly wondering if certain relationships will stand the test of time. Whether we will ever get to that point of familiarity. Some new friendships are surprising, they move quickly then falter, others move slowly but with meaning. To be described as 'an old friend' is probably one of the most wonderful compliments. It means you have stood the test of time. You have been loyally there at the important moments and that you are one of the colours adding to someone else's beautiful tapestry of life.