I'm the type of person that lets very few people into the "inner circle." I subscribe to the Anne Shirley method of friending: only the Tribe of Joseph are allowed in, but still be friendly to all. I like to have a small group of close girlfriends, people I know that I can absolutely trust. (I'm actually quite shy and nervous around lots of people.) Over the many years of my life I've had few "bosom friends" (again, I'm living an Anne Shirley appreciation life) and they've all been amazing women and men.
But sometimes there's that one person that you click with, that one person who not only gets it, who understands your references and jokes (wow, is that huge for me), but is someone who you could stay up for hours talking with and not run out of things to gab about. More amazing is when that person inspires you to be a better person. When that person - just by who they are and how they carry themselves through life - inspires you to be your best in order to be worthy of that friendship.
That, my online friends, is something rare and wonderful. flaming_muse is that person for me, and after we spent a few years dancing around the edges of fandom, barely knowing one another, we finally started talking in comments. Which quickly moved to email, which quickly moved to going on trips together, sharing our triumphs and sorrows as mothers and wives and women who want to create and be happy. Not a day goes by that we don't speak, and not a heartache or triumph in my life happens without her holding my hand through it.
I'm a better person for having her in my life. I'm a better writer, a better mother, and a better friend. I'm so grateful for her friendship, I can barely put it to words. And today, on her birthday, I want to gush and throw a metric ton of love her way, because she deserves it. She's an amazing mother, as you all know, and an amazing person. She's talented, beautiful, thoughtful, unbelievably intelligent, kind, and giving. It seems unfair for her to be giving me all of that gift of friendship on her birthday, but that's the kind of person she is. :)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY DEAR FRIEND, FLAMING MUSE. Love you.