There is nothing I value or appreciate more than friendships & family.
They are precious. I treasure them.
Last Friday, my friend Laurie came over for dinner. We're trying to make it a monthly thing.
We had take-out Thai. She's low-carbin' in it, but didn't tell us. Oops!
While we sat on the floor around the coffee table playing Shut the Box and Apples to Apples, I was melancholy thinking back on my life and the friendship I've shared with Laurie.
Laurie has changed. I've changed. And still we find our way back to each other... all these years later.
She's a month and a half older, but we joke that we met at my birth. We both had working mothers and we ended up in the same daycare as infants. So, we kind of have known each other since my birth. And along the way we've gone to school together... were girl scouts together... spent time scrapbooking together and then gone months, even years without much contact. But somehow, we always find our way back to each other. Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other's gold. Laurie is golden! And there's nothing, really, like an old friend.
It got me to thinking about rules for long, meaningful, fulfilling friendships. And Laurie inspired rule #1! So here they are, my rules for friendships with the people who I love and who love me the most, and in no particular order:
Part of building a history with an old friend is remembering the history you have together. Little quirks, other friends, growin' up country... never disconnect yourself from who you were then, and what that friendship has meant all these years, and who it has helped you become!
My moma & I are as close as any mother & daughter I know. We share secrets, make-up, clothes (sometimes), and lots of giggles. Sometimes we get each other laughing so hard we cry, and shouldn't be driving or in public... cause it gets ugly. We're talking minutes of doubled-over-laugh-til-ya-cry-over-nothin'-really kind of moments! And we're corny! That's the joy of friendship! You never laugh as hard so you do with close friends!
I've talked about Lyns before. She and I have been through some crazy sh!t together! We went to the same college... need I say more? In over 15 years of friendship, we have been through so much together... and she's always there and I'm always there. Break-ups from bad men, bad days with roommates, lovey times in the early days with our husbands-to-be, bachelorette parties you don't remember, betrayal of other "best friends," wedding days, normal days, first cheers in your new house, funerals, the birth of her baby, the highs and the lows... be there! Be that person your friend can count on! That really should be rule number 1. And Lynsey has ALWAYS been there for me!
Amy & I are old friends too! I always say we've been friends since we were two, and she corrects me with, "Actually, we met when we were four, at pre-school." I think she's right. I remember throughout my long friendship with Amy, that she has always been so good about celebrating my successes, like when I got announced as royalty my freshman year of high school, or at my graduation from college and especially on my wedding day! She is always so good about making me shine in my moments (she's good at Rule #3 too!). I could stand to do some growing in this rule. It's not that I'm not happy for my friends or that I am jealous of their successes... I think I could just learn to turn it up a notch for my friend's shinning moments like Amy always has done for me! Turn on the excitement! Yesterday Am told me she had an amazing job offer... and I was genuinely excited for her! It speaks volumes about her work ethics, her intelligence, and her passion. I made sure, after we were done processing the reasons why she has turned it down, to stop and say, "Despite your answer to the offer, congratulations, Amy! I am so proud of you!"
Michelle and I are friends and coworkers. We met 6 years ago when I started at my current job. We hit it off instantly! Leo + Sagittarius = WBs (Work Besties!). When I really think about it, Michelle and I spend the most time together of all of my friends. We're forced to be at work, thus we make the most of it! With inside jokes, lunch breaks, walks around the building, vent sessions and TMI-share-sessions, Michelle has become one of my closest friends. We made going to Starbucks on our breaks a thing. It's our little escape...! Every friendship must have it's thing...! It's what makes your friendship special to just you and that other person! And I literally could not survive this crazy job (that I love!) without her! Thanks for our Starbucks thing, Michelle! ;)
I'm a hugger. I heard a stat that said Americans are touched 5 times or less in a day... or something ridiculous like that. That seems nuts! I love people... especially those two in the pic! I'm always finding reasons to hug them, pinch Jason, pet Penny, kiss J's cheek or Pen's nose. Friendship requires hugs! And I am so blessed to have a friendship with my doghter and my hubby! My heart literally aches when I think about how much I love them and how much fun we three have together. Hugging is just one little way to express that love out loud!!!
Not every friendship cruises along without a blip. Sar & I had a stupid misunderstanding my junior year of college. Even now, thinking back, it still seems so weird that it got so weird over nothing. Point is, you must be humbled in your friendship. To know its value, to understand its imperfections (and your own), to know that it is precious and worth working for... that is humbling! I am sooooo glad she called that Fall in 2004 to ask what went wrong. I was getting my tires rotated. Our friendship rebounded almost instantly and we've never looked back! The smell of rubber, to this day, makes me think of the rebirth of such a special friendship, and how precious Sarah is to me! We love chatting on the phone and pink champagne cupcakes and making it work to see each other when ever we can because most of our years as friends have been long distance. I'm still sorry, Sarah, for that misunderstanding! Thank you for that '04 call! ;)
All of my friends have so many of their priorities straight and honor the previously mentioned seven rules. And all of them have a strong sense of integrity! For me, without Rule #8, nothing else really matters. I have always, always, always been deeply rooted in my integrity. It's really all you have as a person when you strip away the fancy titles, the car, the clothes and make-up... who you really are is how you value and treat others and yourself. Integrity is everything! Shan and Lizzy, like all my my close friends, have a lot of integrity! And when we get together to catch up and remember when, I know that at our core, we are still those good girls from years back who were too busy playing sports and making good grades to partake in all that too grown-up stuff (and thank God because being a grown up is hard, so why rush it!?!). Lizzy, Shan and a handful of others were part of the reason I stayed on the right track (that and very involved, strict, loving parents!). We made it a priority growing up to have good ol' fashioned, innocent fun! I'm grateful for the idyllic childhood I was afforded! And like all of my close friends, I am who I am because of these girls!
For obvious reasons, having fun is crucial in every friendship (especially my friendship to my husband!). Silly dances, made up songs, random voices, pushing buttons, concerts, mini golf, movies... go have fun! Lots of fun. And do it often! Otherwise, what's the point?
Yes, a weird and awkward picture of myself because as that old saying goes, you have to know how to be a friend to have friends, or something like that. But it's true. And it's the hardest friendship for me to nurture. As an adult, my self talk is pretty disrespectful. I am really trying to be a better friend to myself. And it takes some work. But it's worth it. Because like your integrity, when you strip it allll away, including all the people around you, all you really have is you. And if I can learn to be kinder to myself, I will, inherently, be kinder to those I love. So Lindsay, you are important to me. I appreciate your work ethic, your integrity, your generosity and spirit, and the way you love those who are important to you!