Thursday, September 23, 2010

About Last Week...

I am still recovering from the unbridled, overflowing, achy-jaws treasure that was last week. I sit in full knowledge that I cannot possibly do justice to our time together, but it's a pretty big deal, so I'll give it my best shot.

Remember the days when we secretly felt like girls were just too much trouble to cultivate close friendships with? Sure, we had a trusty fistful, but by and large, it seemed too risky. Too dangerous. Not worth the effort.

I look back on those years, where I stayed somewhat out of the fray, and I wish I could whisper in my ear the honest truth - Girlfriends are necessary. Not just one or two or five, but all different kinds, from all different corners.

Last week I spent time with three of the most beautiful hearts. I learned from each of them.

The four of us did all of the things a passel of girls does best.

We ate, we shopped, we gabbed, repeat. When all was said and done, I knew they were mine forever.

There was mutual concern that our friendship could not survive the Springfield Extravaganza, but in the end, there was enough chippiness and blue to satisfy everyone.

We are all different. We are all the same.

(Well, except for the guy in the yellow shirt.)

We are at different stages in life, we've all learned different lessons, and we're ready to talk.

It's true, three out of the four are prone to waking up unprompted at 6:45 in the ayem while one of the four will yawn all the live-long day only to spring to life somewhere around midnight, then pretend to be asleep in the morning until the smell of homemade French toasts wafts across the room and she just can't keep up the charade, but that's a whole 'nother story.

I am thankful for Jenn, the friend that is slightly less new to me than the others. She came into my life in a way that made me fear she had been here all along and I'd just been to willy-nilly to notice. The words she speaks are the perfect balance of genuine sugar and salty wit. If I could choose one person to read me to sleep for the rest of my life, it would be her. Her voice is a piccolo tune. Her tender heart softens mine a little through sheer proximity.

I am thankful for Jayme. She gave me an inch of cyber friendship and I took a mile, showing up on her door-step practically unannounced earlier this summer. Together, we have nearly perfected our own written dialect, seamlessly comprised of various accents and eras. This girl wrote the book on nurturing and serving. It would be impossible to escape her presence feeling unloved or uncared for. And did I mention that she's pretty dang funny? And her honey cookies should be patented?

I am thankful for Teresa. It takes a special girl to stay with my crazy, young family for three solid days and truly appear to enjoy the pandemonium. She effortlessly became a part of our routine. She wore sweatpants with me and discussed the virtues of Riggins vs. Coach T, she ate the casserole and frozen garlic bread I served in a pinch, she ignored the clutter, she echoed my very heart and regaled me with exasperating teenager tales, she snickered in the kitchen with Cory and I after Calvin unburdened his subconscious of dreams about talking cloths, and on the last night, she puttered into my kitchen, banged some cabinets around and returned bearing bowls of apple dumplings and ice cream. The amazing part is, I let her do it. It just felt right. She is kind and supportive in exactly the way I hope to be. She is funny to beat the band.

I have learned the hard way, over the years, that growing meaningful friendships can be a little scary and a lot of work. They can be a leap of faith, to be sure.

But finding one new friend who is honest and kind and encouraging and supportive and funny and smart and open and generous and quirky is a gift.

And finding three is a gift of a lifetime.