When I met my friends in college, I had no real idea of what our friendship would mean or amount to in the future. I had very close friends in high school, but for one reason or another as it often goes, we lost close contact. And although we speak easily, there is often an emotional disconnect, too much of our lives have passed and too many experiences have shaped us. It's different with my college girlfriends. We've worked hard to remain close, and have witnessed and even walked through quite a journey in eachothers’ lives.
We went from graduation in 1994 to our own versions of “real life," in different cities attempting different careers. And through the ups and downs with every life decision and every important change, we have been there. Maybe not every girl for everyone, but the group, by extension, has been there. With every UP, we have all been happy and lifted, and with every DOWN, we are all emotional yet stronger.
We have experienced the normal milestones together. We have danced ourselves crazy at eachothers’ weddings and celebrated the pure joy of the arrival of babies. When you are living it, sometimes you think, “I don’t know if I can take another wedding.” (Both for your dancing pride and wallet’s sake.) And with every baby announcement, you send out your gift…all the while wishing you had just one more wedding to go to…to really live it up. We have celebrated BIG birthday’s together in style, from 21st to last year’s 40th! There is so much joy in those memories.
What I witnessed with my amazing girlfriends last weekend was the purest form of everything that makes a friendship real and true. We celebrated the true courage, strength, and love for one of our friends as a mom, wife, and pillar in her community. We watched her stand infront of us and speak from the heart about someone that was a part of her, who could not have been more special to her, and in turn, it made us reflect on our own lives. We were a part of a backyard filled with love, warmth, compassion, and heartache, where there was not a dry eye to be found. And as I sat, in awe, listening to my friend, I absorbed her message. A message we can all learn from and honor in our lives.
We are surrounded by gifts and messengers that are right in front of us each and every day to teach us the true meaning of our lives. These mighty gifts are reminders of the amazing amount of love that exists. Life taken for granted or moments wasted are not acceptable.
On that day, the strength of my friend and our group's combine strength was beautiful. Real, genuine love and our dedication to our friendship was on full display, and I was humbled and proud to be a part of it.
In our journey through life, we will have many more milestones . . . milestones of celebration, birthdays with more adventures and more meaning, and yes, we will also have those sad days where we will rely heavily on the strengths of one another. But I will live every day a little fuller to honor those moments because of my friends, my family, and because of the love I hold for those around me.
I see my gifts. They ask me to snuggle with them, swim with them, and teach them the ways of the world. I am honored.