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The Monster and Me Photo - Swinging

The Monster and Me Photo - Swinging

The Monster and Me Photo - Kids playing

The Monster and Me Photo - Kids playing

The Monster and Me Photo - Country Mullumbimby

The Monster and Me Photo - Boy

The Monster and Me Photo - Boy

The Monster and Me Photo - Boys

The Monster and Me Photo - Boy

These gorgeous boys are one of my best friend, Sally’s three sons (Lachie looks like he could fit in and be a fourth!). Together with her husband they live just outside the eclectic town of Mullimbimby in northern New South Wales. It’s a beautiful part of the world. And the home they have made there is the kind of place you can imagine bringing up three energetic young boys. There is endless space; cows, horses and dogs; creeks and four-wheelers. There’s the odd snake too but it’s a small price to pay.

As an inner-city mama, I’m always inspired by just how much of a positive effect the environment, particularly space to run, seems to have on young kids. The whole time we visited on the weekend, the boys occupied themselves: climbing and digging, running and kicking balls. And it made me think again if living close to the city is so important to us anymore, or if we’d all be happier with a patch of grass and space to move.

Eighteen years ago a slightly nerdy nine-year old girl with long brown hair found herself at a new school. The first few days she kept her distance, and her mouth shut, uncharacteristically quiet, unusually timid. She longed for her friends left behind in the middle east, a place that had to come to feel more like home than her homeland, Australia. Here, her faintly English accent stood out. Here, her advanced math was unusual. Here, her desert upbringing was odd. She was different. And alone. Until one lunchtime three girls approached her. And with the social ease that only children have, invited her to be their friend, part of their group. And she accepted. Without a moments hesitation.

***

There are certain pivotal moments in anyone’s life. Moments that forever change the course of things, the fabric of you. That day in the playground changed me because,from that point on, I would always have these girls in my life. Over the years our group of four grew to eight. And now, close to twenty years later, these girls remain constants in my world. Together we have navigated primary and high school, university, boyfriends, break-ups, travel, jobs, babies and marriage. We have celebrated success and consoled in despair. We have history. So much history. I often wonder if we all met today if we would be friends. We’ve grown into vastly different people, with different aspirations, and different values. But none of that matters, because of that shared history. We were there for each others beginnings. And though time and distance now means we no longer live in each others pockets, when life brings us back together it is always as if no time at all has passed. That is the beauty of our friendship: its roots are deep enough to withstand the longest of droughts.

***

Michelle is one of these girls and it has been almost two years since we were last in the same country. She has been off sailing the world, meeting her future husband, having grand adventures. Tomorrow when we finally see each other, all that time and life that has gone between us, it will fade away. And we will pick up right where we left off, without a moments hesitation.

Do you have friends like that, where time and distance doesn’t seem to matter?

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