The other day, a friend shared a social media post written by one of her “friends.” The person was lamenting that they had no real friends, that she was caught up in her life as a mom and realized she was lonely. This struck me as incredibly sad, because I think a friend is the single most important thing a mother, or any person, needs to get through the day with most of your sanity intact.
So indulge me if you will – a two part ode to friends. Today is all about my college friends. I started out college like so many. I made friends by default: roommates and dorm mates. We traveled in a gaggle to the cafeteria and uptown, united mostly because we were all clueless together. Then I joined a sorority. Not because I am a Buffy McPherson, but because I made a vow to myself to come out of my shell and make friends. This seemed like a good idea at the time.
At first, it was just a place to go, with new people to meet. But gradually, I made real friends from this group of people. These were the people who held your hair when you were over served. Who you cried with you when it seemed the world would end, and who would take you out to be overserved when the crying was done. You developed inside jokes, a secret language. You fought in the middle of the street at 2am and made up the next day. You sat on the porch with these people, watching the world going by without a care in the world, confident you knew everything.
Then came graduation. You went on to careers, more school. You stayed together for a while, but gradually saw each other only at weddings, as life and work and significant others got in the way. Then came kids. As time went on you drifted apart. Only the occasional Christmas card.
Then something amazing happened. Social Media. Suddenly you could see pictures of peoples’ kids, pets and lives. You would catch up via posts. Once a month, then once a week. Then you discovered group chats and you talk to these people almost daily. You may not have seen them in 10 years, but you know more about them than you d0 about the people you see every day. You may all be in different places, with different lives, jobs and goals but you discover the bonds forged over warm keg beer are the ties that bind.
These friends are unique because they know you. Not “mom you” but who you were before you were a mom. Bad things happen and they are a sounding board. They are a different perspective because they are on the outside and can be objective. They were the first people I told about my husband being sick. They allowed me to vent and rant and then still put on the normal face I needed every day. Then my mom passed away during this already stressful time and I looked up during the funeral and saw the faces of these friends who dropped everything to be there for me. To make me laugh loudly and inappropriately and it was just what I needed. They were my true family.
It took me two weeks to come back to write this last paragraph. I stopped and it started it 100 times. One year ago today we lost one of our own. One minute she was there, laughing, drinking wine and reliving old times and next she was gone. A simple kidney stone turned fatal. Suddenly we were together again but this time to say goodbye. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Watching her husband and kids say goodbye. Standing there together knowing we would never be ALL together again. Signs all day told us she was glad to see us together. Pink cake, pink clouds and rose carnations. We vowed that day to never drift apart again. And these women are part of my day every day. Now we plan and plot living out our later years Golden Girls style in tiny houses with our cabana boy Sven.
I hope as you read this you are as lucky as I am to have friends like these. Maybe you had them once and lost touch. You owe it to yourself to reconnect. To find laughter and tears with the people who know you best. In my life, every road leads back to these ladies and I LOVITZ them with all my heart.