37. This tribe has been thirty-seven years in the making.
THIRTY-SEVEN YEARS, it must be good right?! RIGHT! At the age of 37, my heart has become so full. God has placed in my path the most amazing humans, and let me brag for a second, but I think I hit the honeypot.
Growing up I never was the type to have a group of girlfriends. I always found myself having some of the best friends who were never part of the same group. I oftentimes found myself wondering why I was never the girl to have a bomb girl squad. I had so many friends…all from different walks of life, but I felt like I was always missing out on that giant group of girls. Until now. It took me 37 years.
At 37 I have come full circle.
All those people, all these years, they are a major part of my why. They each represent a part of me, a part that never would have been discovered if they were never placed in my life. I now get it. God was preparing me for the now, for 37, for when He knew I would appreciate more than ever the relationships and people He has so intently picked and placed in my here and my now. I believe the best part of all of this is the way in which I have met all of these humans. I am going to take you all with me as I write a little bit about each one of these amazing, crazy, so uncommon friendships.
I have ONE friend, ONE from my younger years.
Kourtney, I met her in 9th-grade Biology class. This was back in the day when we were studying genetics everyone got pricked with the same needles, so I guess you could say we are really close. I never see her, maybe every 3 years or so, but she is my family. She corrects my punctuation, she pees her pants just like me, she is a compassionate teacher and loves hard. She is part of my why.
Enter my first Steph.
Picture it: Greensboro, NC airport, on my way to volunteer at a children’s camp, crying because at 24 I still missed home…there was Steph. In the past 14 years, we have lived as far away from each other as 1,317 miles and as close as 7. We laugh, we cry, we WebMD, we talk each other down…but more importantly, we lift each other up. If there was ever an emotional doppelganger, she is it for me. She was a Matron Of Honor in my wedding, she is the Godmother to my firstborn child. She is my why.
Danielle. We met at the bar.
Yep, meeting one of my best friends at the bar…the Bella Bar that is. That’s right. At a CrossFit gym, on a squat rack, at the bar. What started as needing a partner during lifting practice at the gym lead to a lifelong friendship. If you want someone that is not going to sugarcoat anything, that is Danielle. God knew I needed her. She was not raised with the same religious views, she has very strong opinions, she is raw, she is real, she is honest. She sincerely knows almost everything…through hard work and research. We have a respect for each other like I have never seen. I know she would be at my doorstep in 1 hour flat and go get whatever…or whoever if I needed her. Small but oh so mighty. She is my why.
I am sweating just talking to this girl. Seriously, sweating, profusely, talking about CRAFTING.
Melissa. I knew Melissa. She is an SLP, me a COTA/L (back in my easy working days before becoming a SAHM). Saw her in passing as she worked PRN at my full-time job. Then I MET Melissa when I switched jobs, and I fell in love. There is no other human in this world that will ever understand my love for a good piece of felt, some good Anita’s paint, a good craft find in the Target Dollar Spot or a good bag of fresh kettle corn like this girl. She is God-fearing and gets my need for endless amounts of craft supplies. There is no one I would rather sit in a dirty goat barn trying to make a buck with. She is so soft in a good way, she gets a good giggle out of almost everything I do, she is determined, her heart is so, so good. She is my why.
So, that is the easy part, right?! I had all these amazing humans. Enter. A MOVE. To Waterville. New town, new house, new ‘hood.
It all started with school pick up when I looked at one of the other moms at pick up and said to my husband “I am going to make her my friend!”, and guess what, I did!
I sincerely felt like it was my time to shine. New face, new place, new chance to make my mark. Shana radiated sunshine, sprinkles, rainbows…and everything in between. Meeting this one momma set the tone for the entirety of the next year to follow. Shana made me step out of my comfort zone and try a mom’s group at a local church, something I had tried before but sincerely felt it pushed me further away from God and other mommas than anything. The leader, Larisa, reached out to me, and we text for 2 hours. I went. So here we have it folks. The 4 women who have taught me to love God and fear nothing, live with reckless abandon, that cussing is ok, that 5 total strangers, completely different in SO many ways can love another within a matter of minutes, that praying for each other is a norm, and that loving your kids and admitting you are going crazy at the same time is ok. These women taught me how to love with an undying, endless passion the rest of those who have been in my life for so many years. They are my why.
Marisa. In every aspect, I thank my then 4-year-old son for this friend.
I met Marisa through my son. My son and Marisa’s son formed a beautiful friendship in the most perfectly imperfect way. These 2 boys brought us together and have taught me more than I have ever or will ever learn from life itself. I feel like we have a lifetime to go. She after all, is coaching me through how to use this Word Press thing as we speak. She comes, we drink coffee, eat cookies, our kids make the ultimate messes, and she is the only other human I have met that can block out kid noise like I can and can carry on a conversation in the midst of chaos. She is strong, she is brave, she is an advocate. She is my why.
My second Steph.
The wife of one of my husband’s best friends. We have known each other for almost 10 years now. Mostly in passing until this past year when we made our move to the Toledo area. It has been a fast friendship. Almost as if we were meant to be together. The Target trips, the mail runs, the eye rolls, the constant texts throughout the day, the missing each other if we haven’t seen each other for 48 hours, then letting me know it is totally normal to vent and speak my mind and still be an ok human, me loving her kids and her loving mine as if they were each other’s own. We have matching baggy sweats and sweatshirts that we wear at the same time…always planned. She is my soul sister. She is my why.
These women make up a small portion of my squad. There are so many people who are woven in and out of the fabric of my life who make an impact on my day to day grind, there are some people whom I have even yet to meet. My reason for this article: to open your eyes to the beauty of friendship. To embrace all of your “why’s”, to appreciate the profound differences in each and every single person that has made their way into your heart.
To open your eyes to the immense value that humans can truly place on our lives. To honor, to love, to inspire. To give yourself to those who have selfishly and unknowingly given so much to you. To trust that you were meant to have more than “whys” beyond your husband and your children. To acknowledge the importance of having a tribe, to find them, know them, and love them hard.