When I look over the last 4 decades of my life, all the big milestones stand out—the graduations (middle school, high school, college, dental school), the big trips (first time out of the country—Hello Haiti), the dance recitals, the piano recitals. But, the most important singular thing that stands out from all those years are the friendships.
FRIENDS ARE FRIENDS…FOREVER?
Making friends was so easy when we were young. In grade school, we had 7 girls in our class. It was like our own little elementary sorority, us against the boys. Even though several of us have moved away, we still keep in touch (hands down the best part of social media). Moving onto high school, the selection of friends got much bigger. A whole new slew of friendships started mostly based on similar activities and clubs we were in. Yet again, I still keep in touch with those besties from high school.
THE COLLEGE YEARS
Then college started and another world of friendships opened up. From sorority sisters to non-Greek friends, I have lasting friendships to this day that still provide a solid foundation of support.
Onto grad school for me, met my dental school bestie on the first day, and ended up befriending lots of guys and gals as we went on our 4 year adventure through dental school.
Then came marriage, and life after school. The easiest friends to make were work friends. In my line of work, they always say to not be friends with your employees, but I sorta can’t help it. I care about every one of my employees like I do my patients. Then, comes the first baby. Not long after, the second baby. The harder to keep friendships disappeared and the strongest from each decade started to show even brighter.
I can honestly say the ones I’ve held onto the longest and are the most dearest are the ones that expect nothing from me. The ones that are ecstatic when they hear from me, and we just pick up right from where we left off.
I have now stepped into a time of life thick in mommyhood, as well as being a working mom, where I have a myriad of friends who touch my life in many different ways. I’m not just friends with other moms, though. I am friends with people much younger and much older than me. I’m friends with single guys and gals. I have several friends who are married and childless. I have friends who are grandparents. All of these different types of people provide so many key pieces of my life.
One story that stands out is a friend who has chosen not to have children. When I suffered a miscarriage from an unexpected pregnancy almost 2 years ago. I wanted to crawl into a hole and stay there for the foreseeable future. I walked around for awhile in a dazed, lifeless body.
That first day back at work 2 days after the miscarriage, that aforementioned friend had flowers sent to my office. I broke down in tears at the mere sight of them. Not because of the miscarriage, but because my friend provided a support for me when I needed it the most. Seeing those flowers throughout the day, gave me enough strength to put one foot in front of the other. That support came from the person who I least expected to understand.
My point? WE NEED EACH OTHER
Your story is probably different. One thing is true, though—we need community. We need friendship and can easily find it if we open ourselves up to chat with that person in line at Starbucks. We do not need something exactly like us; I think God does a pretty good job on his own guiding people towards each other.
I needed those flowers that day; and it just so happened to be my friend who wasn’t a mom to do that for me. Keep your eyes open for those special people; they may just be right beside you.