Friendship is like having free therapy all the time. There are tons of quotes, songs, and books that talk about friendship. Most people remember who their first friend was and the lucky people are still friends with that person. I happen to be among those lucky few! I still talk to my friends I grew up with, we still talk and make time to hang out, and we were in each other's weddings. They say a true friend is someone who knows all your secrets and still loves you anyway! Oh... do they know my secrets. Here are some of my friends I have loved forever.
As much as my life long friendships mean to me and are such a blessing, it is as equally important to me to make new friends along the way in the life journey. This year I have been lucky enough to win the friendship lottery. I have met and made a ton of new friends that I hope I get to have in my life for a long time. How do 30 something working moms meet new friends??? Through old friends!! This way works out great because they are pre-screened of course. You have to figure if a person who you love and adore is friends with them, then the chances are that they will have the same qualities you look for in a friend. This plan is not fool proof of course, there have been many a gathering of group of girls where there have been a couple of crazies in the mix and it leaves you wondering how your beloved girlfriend could possibly get along with, let alone love that person. This often happens in wedding parties.
When you put a group of girls together into forced fun and the only thing they have in common is the bride, tensions mount. Think of the movie Bridesmaids. Each person was chosen to be in the wedding for different roles they played in the brides life. Not because they all fit together harmoniously. At my age, I have been to a lot of bachelorette parties, showers, birthday parties, etc so this is a phenomenon that I watched occur lots of times. Not a lot of connections happening, and if they do, it is usually for just the weekend. You make a new best friend and really never hang out again unless you are with the person that is the common connection. In order to get through these times, I basically just go with the intention of having a blast. If you are with all your own friends then just pretty much hang out with them and enjoy the opportunity to catch up without a kid on your hip. What if you are with a bunch of people you do not know? I pretty much get a long with everyone, the people I do not like is a very short list so I just go in with the expectations that I will have fun with whoever and then go about my life. It is very rare that people leave these situations with life long friendship. That is why I feel so lucky that it happened to me.
I have been friends with Jamie Blackburn since I was in grade school. We did not go to the same school, but we both took dance lessons and lived on the same block. Proximity is the magic dust of friendship when you are little. She saved me when my brother locked me in my closet and went to her house when he was supposed to be babysitting me. We played Mary Kay in my basement and did little girl stuff. In Junior High we started going to the same school and really just always stayed friends. No matter what friend group we each went off into or how different our extra-curricular activites were we just always stayed friends. She was in my wedding back in the dark ages of 2003 and now it was her turn, I was her bridesmaid. One of the other bridesmaids is one of my longtime friends and we drove the 5 hours for the bachelorette party weekend in a cabin on a lake. I was just excited to have a girls weekend away from my boys, no offense to them, but as you all know, I need girl time. What happened no one anticipated, well maybe Jamie.
We all fell in love. With each other. Weird huh? There was no fighting, no drama. Everyone is so different yet wonderful. We joked that all the best traits of Jamie were very strong in each one of us. I must admit all of us are pretty outspoken and a little bit wild. Talia is the super organized free spirit and a giving soul. Kirstie looks like a super model, but does not act like it. She is a mother of two and a wife, who needed a girls weekend as bad as the rest of us. She is funny and tried to convince us all that she also does wedding hair on the side, she proceeded to give everyone teased rats nests beehives. Jamie Goff is athletic and sweet. She is hilarious and her wit is matched with her charm. I could tell why Jamie loved her instantly. Wendy is full of life and usually is the life of the party. This is balanced with her love of God, her children, and her generosity. Me well, you all know me, right?
Jamie??? the girl who brought us all together? I could write tons about her... she is the girl who called to check on me when I was studying for the bar exam. She knew by the sound of my voice I was heading for a breakdown. Next thing I know she is at my door with food and a broom. She cleaned my house and made me dinner. Jamie helped me pack up my house to move states away because my husband had to leave before me. She is the girl that you call when you need someone to hold you together and who has been my cheerleader since we were little. She is also my partner in many a crazy night out that shall not be discussed in a public forum and many fits of tear inducing, belly hurts, can't catch your breath laughter. The whole package. I did not mention that she also happens to be fiercely intelligent, hard working, and drop dead gorgeous. The kind of girl you would hate if you did not love her so much.
Anyway, enough of talking about her... this is my blog. BACK TO ME. The weekend at the lake was a blast. We all went Talia's "cabin" by the lake which was more like a resort spa with gourmet healthy food. We met her mother and aunt who happen to be identical twins. We called them "the girls". The girls treated each one of us with such kindness and love it was like each one of us was their own special person.
I think what made the weekend so special is that we all left the lake house feeling a little bit better as a person. We all learned something new about each other, about Jamie and ourselves. Most importantly, how to properly take a jello shot.
Are we still friends? Absolutely. Just last weekend we all got together and went shopping and had a sleep over at Kirstie's. Wendy could not make it, but only because she was in Cancun, otherwise she would not have missed it.
Speaking of Wendy, this June I moved to the town where she has lived for 8 years. I had met some of her friends at her house and always thought they were very nice and fun. Lucky for me she already did the pre-screening. Wendy had always talked about a group of girls who got together every month and went to each other's houses to cook dinner and exchange recipes. It sounded like so much fun, and frankly I was a bit jealous. While I am still friends with all the women pictured above, none of us live in the same town so organizing a monthly event would be hard. They invited a bunch of other women to join and I was able to get an invite. As it turns out, we have even had a Halloween party and a Christmas Party where the husbands all came and it got crazy. Fun crazy, not creepy OMG what in the world crazy. Here are few pictures of them when I hosted cook club. You can't really see how gorgeous they all are, but I have a feeling we may be seeing more of these ladies.
There is more. My friend Brianna. She is an attorney I work with and we have become good friends. No one else has met her. She is just mine and I am just hers. We are each other's "person". You know the person you get to tell all your secrets to because they do not know anyone who would even care. The person I eat lunch with everyday, go for walks with, and takes me to Target. She knows what I am going to do every weekend and I know what she is doing. I know all about her sisters, brother, husband and friends. She knows all about mine. Even though we have never met them. Brianna lets me talk about the boys and listens to all my kid stories. We talk about her future children and pretty much everything.
You know that husband of mine that I always talk about? One of the best things about him is that he came with a bunch people included. Before he was my crush, boyfriend, fiance, and then husband. He was my friend Talarie's older brother! Yep, I totally married my friend's brother. He is the oldest of five and I often tell him I married him for his sisters. Talarie and Kami, his sisters have ended up to be two of my very dear friends. We even vacation together. Then his brother's wife Stacey is awesome and his baby sister Mackenna, when we all get together is kind of obnoxious. Loud and obnoxious. Not much better. Here are the sisters/friends.
Guess who is best friends with Talarie, My Kelly! It really makes my life easier that pretty much everyone of my friends is friends with each other. Kelly is the person who never misses your kid's birthday party, always brings them a little something when she sees them, who is the first person to follow your blog :) I have been friends with Kelly since we were little. I have witnessed her be the rock for the people I love and she has been a rock for me.She is one of the best people I know. Tonight we are going to meet her new boyfriend. I have a good feeling about this one. Here she is in the middle. Pretty girls :)
How could I have a post about friendship and not write just a little something about Cindy.
Here are a couple of other amazing women who have been there for me whenever I needed them ... Good Lord I am a lucky person.
New friends, old friends each has their own special place in my heart. Even friends that somehow I do not talk to anymore even though there is no reason besides time and distance. Those friends still have a place in my heart. I have made friends that I lost touch with that I never in a million years thought would not know my children or my husband. But I have to figure they had their purpose and it was served. We may not know each other anymore but I have to think that by knowing them I am a better person and for that I say thank you.
To all my friends new, old, and lost. Thank you for the laughs, support, therapy, clothes, advice, tutorials, gifts, and for loving me because of my crazy and not in spite of it. Thank you for letting me be brave enough to reach for my dreams and picking me up when I fall. Thanks for holding back my hair, wiping my tears and loving my children.
If you are reading this and are not mentioned by name or not in a picture please do not think I do not value you or love you. It may be because there are no words that could describe how much you mean to me or I do not have a good picture of us. But know that I love you and as the Golden Girls theme song goes... Thank you for being my friend.