Sunday, February 20, 2011

Girlfriends

While in Ohio, I had the rare opportunity to reconnect with two of my grandest friends.

We met back in 1994, decked out in red polyester smocks in the shoe department of Meijer.

Sarah and Mollie were already best friends, then I waltzed in. (Story of my life.)

I remember considering that Mollie might be too perky for me. (She was wearing a high ponytail and I rushed to judgment. What can I say?)

Sarah seemed oddly familiar and we soon remembered that we had taken Drivers' Ed together. I thought she was flirty with the boys and that she may have been Mennonite or Apostolic or something (I could have sworn she wore long skirts!)

She thought I was snobby.

Guess what?

Mollie wasn't too perky. As it turns out, one of her most endearing qualities is her snarky, dry sense of humor.

Sarah was not a flirt. (No more than the rest of us.) And she wasn't Mennonite or Apostolic (not that it would have mattered) and I don't think I've ever seen her in a long skirt to this day. (They both had some really big, wild hair, back then, (I was SO jealous!) but that's a whole 'nother story...)

And I wasn't a snob. I was my typical, shy-until-I-know-you self.

But this is what girls do, right? We size people up. It's second nature.

Over the years, Sarah and Mollie have remained plastered to my heart. We're all spread out now - we don't see one another nearly often enough. We have husbands and children. The whole nine yards.

We go months without talking, years without a face-to-face, but I can't remember a single moment in my life where I have felt unloved or unsupported by them. There's no competition, no judging. (Oh, it shouldn't be so rare...) These girls are huge-hearted and hearty-of-laugh. They tell me the truth and listen close. They cover me up after I've bared my soul. They make me feel normal, and I'll take all the normal I can get.

We look at the world with the same tilt of our heads. And sometimes, we stand there looking like twins, but what we actually see is quite different.

When we were young, we would stay up late talking about boys, sleep on the floor, eat lots of junk food and go shopping...and stock the shoe department at Meijer. We thought we knew for sure where our life was taking us, back then. We anticipated no big surprises.


Now, we snatch up two hours in a McDonald's play area and believe that we have found the very top of the world.

Because we have.

Life has surprised each of us, over and over, in ways that warm us up and in ways that make us cry. Of course, back then, we didn't know the half of it.

I remember some of you saying that you don't have close girlfriends, and you wish you did. I think about that from time-to-time, because I have known that lonely feeling. I still feel it, sometimes. Here's what I want to say to you: Go find one. Refuse to size her up and pray that she takes the same view. Be willing to be surprised. Take a risk. Ask someone new out on a date. Welcome the new girl into your circle.

Because we're all just out here, looking for mostly the very same things. I'm thinking we could kill two birds with one stone if we'd all just take that leap and team up.

Girl-Powerishly Yours,
FPFG

45 comments:

  1. I have two close girlfriends that I've been close to since we were 3, 4 and 5! Isn't that amazing! Not many people can say that. They were both in my wedding and now we're going thru it all together! I thank God for them every day...I'm so blessed to have these Sisters in Christ! :) Loved this post.

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  2. Friendship was on my heart and what I blogged about tonight as well. Sometimes I feel alone at this phase in life, but thank you for the reminder to look around and "team up."

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  3. Just a question...no judgment or offense intended...I'm just curious...what is up with Calvin's jeans? They made me laugh when I noticed them. Are they supposed to be ripped like that?

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  4. I love my gal pals! It took me til the end of high school to convert from mainly guy friends to gals, but they're the ones who have remained the life long friends for the most part. And you are oh so right, time can pass, seasons change, but it's in those moments when you get back together for just a few moments in time that nothing else seems to matter. My circle of gals has expanded over the years but the truth is...I'm one of those that if you come into my heart...there's rarely any putting you out and I'll invest my time and energy as much as I possibly can! Everyone needs a great gal friend! (Although I still have a few of those dude friends too! :))

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  5. Ha! They are the jeans that zip off into shorts. He kept begging me to let him zip them all the way off. Homeboy was SWEATY. Alas, I only allowed a half-zip. :)

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  6. i heart my best friend--met 10 years ago through a mutual friend:) and my older sister, who i'm supersupersuper close with.
    nothing like some good girlfriend time, though things are going to be changing this year--she's getting married. *sniff sniff*

    i love this post:) and first impressions? hahahaha --good thing i was kind of too young to have many when i met her:)

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  7. I'm working on that... the whole "sizing people up" thing. I think I feel more like people are sizing me up, so I size them up right back. Childish really... I feel like the girls I find that have a kindred spirit are miles away and I talk with them mostly online. (and I don't just mean girls with my same name (add an "n") and freckle... and sometimes clawish like hands) There are people that I have been close with in person, moved away from, fallen out of touch with, reconnected here, and wished they were closer. God has really brought some new people into my life though, as I have let my guard (and insecurities) down and really been open to the idea of "close girl friends". I'm learning... slowly... thanks for the kick in the drawers and telling me to just GO FIND ONE! You're a sweet friend Shannan! :D

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  8. I think you've given some of the best advice I've read, in blog land, in a whole big long while. So true and so very worth it. Love my bestie who lives a world away. There must be more of us great ones out there though? I'm going to start looking! How did you get so darn smart? I guess you are proof that big hair=big brains. I'll have to completely re-evaluate my sizing up criteria now.
    Dana

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  9. That should read proof that big hair does not=big brains. Just went and ruined all the awesomeness out of my comment right there. Oh well... there is always tomorrow.

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  10. there is no substitute for my crew...most of whom i've known since grammar school. we've laughed, cried, supported, advised, and worried together...and so much more! knowing that i can call any one of them, at any time day or night {and believe me, i have}, is a true gift. my friends are proof of god's grace in my life.

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  11. i always seem to comment near tamara above me. that's fun. :)
    sometimes the irony does not escape me that at this very exhausting moment in time with all these little people -- it doesn't feel like you have time to breathe let alone 'go make friends'. and yet-- that is exactly what we need. to snatch up some time -- and go make a friend. treasures of the best kind. :)

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  12. You are so lucky to have close girlfriends, even with the distance. Since moving to another part of the city, I miss old friends, but it seems like life gets in the way. I appreciate your advice. Friendships take work, just like anything else.

    XO,
    Janie

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  13. I do so love me some girl power. Also, girlfriends are pretty special to me too. I have some amazing ones. Maybe you know some of them?

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  14. Love it. Smocks have a weird secret power of bringing girls together forever.

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  15. You are so right about the besties! When I went through a divorce that I didn't want I felt so alone. I connected with several ladies that were going through the same hell that I was. We lifted each other up and taught each other how to laugh again. I'll never be without them.
    xo
    CS

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  16. My closest friend lives in Australia. What's a girl to do?
    I love how you still have friends from way back. Makes me tear up.

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  17. Lovely post.
    and what is it with us females....sizing folks up?? We do it - no use in denying it - we've got a fellow-female sussed in 5 seconds flat.

    And we've been proved wrong time and time again (just like you all were!), and still... yep, we do it again!

    Note to self....

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  18. beautiful, these girls, and these tender friendships (which belie their rock-solid foundations). and is the partly-zipped pants a new fashion trend? my boys will be so pleased...though they tend to prefer the one-side-zipped-on, other-side-lost look.

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  19. so glad you all got together. :) courtney

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  20. ahhh...I miss my girlfriends. Sniff. Sniff.

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  21. One of the greatest gifts God has ever given me is my three best girlfriends, they save me daily.

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  22. Girlfriends are a must. I am not close to the some of the girls I grew up with but God blessed me with 2 sisters and a cousin that are my best friends along with a bunch of casual friends that I go to for a change of scenery or for a laugh.

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  23. I have friends like this. The kind I don't see often enough but you would never know it. I also have the kind that I see on a very regular basis. The ones I've known since we were elementary school age. I love those girls!

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  24. I've been thinking about this topic a bit lately, too. Whenever I think about how much I love my husband, I think about his cousin, my friend who I knew long before I knew him. I sized her up big time, and felt she was a kindred spirit based on her equally large shoe size! We were friends for 12 years before I finally met Eric through her, and now I'm so glad that we're technically family, so we'll have built-in time (holidays, weddings, family parties) when we will see each other, no matter what.

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  25. Oh my...thanks for this post. I needed the words you shared.

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  26. There is something so unique about a circle of women friends. I feel blessed to have several. And guess what?!?....I'm Mennonite. And I don't wear long skirts! Maybe it's time you added a Mennonite to your circle of friends. You might just be surprised! :) (I love your blog.)

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  27. Gosh, I don't think there's anything like an old friend to make a heart happy. I love this post, Shannan,and i love that you drove to Ohio to make this reunion happen!! Love everything you said. Far too often, I tuck myself away in my shell and don't open my circle. I'm the new girl out here now, and I know that's not going to do me a bit of good. You are wise, me thinks. And I love your girl power post. :)

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  28. McDonalds is a great equalizer I've found. Maybe there's something to the limited menu selections and the closed quarters that brings women together. Maybe it's the french fries.
    I always think that girls are tooooo flowery and delicate, and that I hurt their feelings, and then I feel guilty and avoid them. Uhhhh, I still have ended up with a lot of girl friends though, so maybe it's just a second grade notion I've been holding on to.
    I miss my old school friends. There should be a reunion rule or something. Maybe they should start blogging so I can spy on them. You're so Lucky with a capital L to get to see them, reunited and it feels so goooooood!

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  29. my story is similar. a dear friend now who seemed worlds away when i met her. i remember praying, "Lord, give me a heart friend." and she was right there, just on the other side of my first impressions. now a week does not go by that i don't talk to her. we are different. and she sharpens me.

    honestly, i feel so strongly about this. being vulnerable. and open. i think that it's key and necessary to God's will for us in fellowship. and also to realizing that so little of this is about us. which is freedom.

    and i thank you for writing about it.

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  30. Kind of scared of this post. How do I comment? Maybe I shouldn't. As I turn the bend towards fifty I will honestly admit, girlfriends I have not. Well not a bestie. I was a mother at 16 (I know, I know-remember no sizing up) and then a mother again at 19. My second child being born with delay problems. My life surrounded family. Now don't get me wrong, I have had lots women in my life. Just no bestie. I tend to be one of those women, that other women come to wanting to talk over life problems. Someone to keep their secrets to offer prayer right there. But shopping nope! Don't feel bad my friend who picks flowers on her farm. I have finished the first phase of my life, being a mama. Now the second phase, well just excited as all get out to see what "He" has in store. I'm sure my best friend is buying some junk somewhere as I type this to you.
    ~G~hugs

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  31. those are powverful words "go find one"
    it's true.
    just do it.
    put yourself out there.
    love it.
    you are making me miss my girlfriends!!!!

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  32. I think I turned to blogging because I miss my girlfriends so much. I live in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere and my girlfriends are all miles away. My husband is my best friend, but there's something about girlfriends who get you. Sisterhood! I guess I thought I was passed the phase in my life where I had room for new girlfriends but your post has me reconsidering. There's definitely room. I need to be open to the possibility. Thank the good Lord that my friends were open to me and put away any preconceived ideas they had. I think I say this at the end of every comment...LOVE your blog!

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  33. Bravo...I am always the new girl...trying to fit in. thanks for including that. You are blessed. Dianntha

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  34. I agree that it is sad that is is such a rare thing! When we find it it is a wonderful thing! Love that you had the chance to meet up and be rare together!

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  35. "They cover me up when I bare my soul." That line stopped me in my tracks. I might have to steal it. xo- B.

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  36. "They tell me the truth and listen close. They cover me up after I've bared my soul."

    I've had some girls do this for me this week. I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me.

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  37. This is a beautiful view of what friendship should be. Thank you for taking me here today.

    Oh, I have also wanted to thank you for pushing some ladies to be brave, I was behind (as usual) and did not know about it until after the fact.... But I had one of your sweet readers reach out to me and we have connected in a most beautiful and God planned way. Thank you for being you and serving as a piece of God's puzzle in my life. You are a blessing.

    Cha Cha

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  38. I'm leaving inspired to text a friend of mine I wish I could talk to EVERY day.
    (Hope she looks at her phone this morning.)
    ;-)

    El

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  39. girl power! Thanks for the beautiful reminder to cherish our friends
    xoxo

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  40. couldn't have said it better. you are always in my heart no matter what. mollie is snarky :) with love....sarah t.

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  41. Oh what a great post farmgirl. I can soo relate to this. The funny thing is I have this close group of girls and we are MUCH different from each other, but that's what makes it work. Almost like a marriage? I like that you've said go on a date:) so funny, but so true. You have to date those friends in order to hook them!

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  42. Girl time is the best! Nothing like it.
    p.s. I'm thinking we need to see the Farmgirl in pigtails more often. Love the pigtails.

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