Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Friends Are Friends Forever

Admit it, you're now humming the song in your head and thinking back to high school - when this song was sung how many times your senior year?

I had a wonderful time last night with some of my friends celebrating a birthday, and it started me thinking about the friendships I've had in my life. So I thought today would be a good day to blog about them.

I have one particular friend who has known me longer than anyone else in the world (except my family of course). 21 and 1/2 years ago (are we really that old LP2?!?), a sweet red-head introduced herself to me in Mrs. Carrouth's Science Class. I was 10 years old and starting 5th grade in a brand new town. Only God could have known how scared and anxious I was, and only He could have known exactly how much LP2 would mean to me through the years and how many things we would share - boyfriends in Michigan, playing hooky to visit with them when they actually came to visit (seriously, what WERE our parents thinking?), a lifesize James Dean cutout scaring us to death, more crushes than I can remember or count, broken hearts, lots of tears, but even more laughter, and most importantly, our density - that brought us together! We added other friends throughout our middle/junior/and high school years, but I always knew LP2 was in my corner, and thru the awkward and crazy teenage years, that made all the difference. That friendship continues even now - when we can go ages without talking, and then pick up like we've never been apart when we're together. Now, we're sharing pregnancies and stories about our toddlers and asking ourselves every time we're together how it's possible that time goes as quickly as it does.

In junior high and high school, I branched out a little bit and made friends with a group of great guys from our youth group. Most weekends in high school were spent driving around our small town getting kicked out of Wal-Mart for trying to film our youth group announcements, or seeing if a guy in a rooster suit could get a hug from a stranger. Those guys protected me and loved me like I was their sister, and I'm sure I avoided a TON of trouble because I had them to keep me on the straight and narrow.

I went to college in the town I grew up in, and quite a few of my friends went with me. My best friend left for ACU, and I was sure she would find other friends to replace me. However, the funny thing about life-long friends is that they seem to leave a particular shaped hole in your life that only they can fill, and even though we grew up and matured, and to some extent, grew apart, I always knew if I ever needed her, she would be there in a heartbeat. And to this day, I know without a doubt she'll always be just a phone call or email away.

I got married after my sophomore year in college, so most of the friendships I had then kind of centered around the friends you have as a newlywed. And while I still keep in touch with some of them, there are only a few that I see or talk to on a regular basis. Jeremy and I lived in Searcy for awhile and kind of floated from circle to circle trying to find the people we related with the most after we graduated. And, we had a few friends, but we also spent a couple of years watching some of our friends' marriages dissolve - which puts friendships in a strange spot when you feel like you have to take sides.

When we moved to our current town 4 years ago, we were blessed to find a church that had a very active group our age. We immediately found our niche and fit right in, and that group accepted us like we'd been there forever. As that group has grown and changed, couples have moved away, and other couples have moved in, but the group continues and grows, and I look forward to every other Friday night to spend time with this group and just hang out.

Throughout my entire adult life, I have never had a close group of girlfriends. For some reason, except for my few girlfriends in high school, I have always related better and been friends with guys. And you know, once you get married, that really isn't appropriate. So, for many years, I kind of floundered trying to make friends with girls that I really didn't have a whole lot in common with. Until a couple of years ago, when a certain group of girls came together and ended up staying together. It's almost like the stars aligned, and God smiled on us - which brings me to the group I ate dinner with last night.

We are in various stages of our lives: one of us is finishing up PT school, one of us is pregnant with her first child, one of us is planning on being pregnant soon (yippee!), four of us have children ranging in age from almost 3 to almost 6 months, and one of us has two children who are 8 and 10 (and who is also the only other mother of girls right now). We have distinct personalities that sometimes are polar opposites, but you put us together in a room, and you'd never really know how different we all are. We have laughed together and cried together, and the longer we're friends, the more I realize how unique what we have truly is. We spend time together on a weekly basis and miss each other tremendously when we're not around each other, and we see that same attitude developing in our children now. We eat breakfast together every Friday morning and spend a good majority of weekends together too, and thankfully, our husbands get along! Of course, they seem to know they have no other choice :)

Sitting around the dinner table at the restaurant last night, sharing crazy family stories, celebrating another year together and another birthday, my heart was full, and I was content. Content being at a table where there's no judgement, where I'm free to speak my mind and share what's going on in my life, and content in the fact that aside from my blood family, there are no other people in the world that I'd rather sit around a table and share my life with then the family that was at that table last night. God willing, I plan on growing old with these girls, raising our families together, and I can only imagine the things in store for us. So, if you were at that table last night (or are one of the ones that is usually at that table), and happen to be reading this today, know that I am thankful everyday for you and for what God has blessed us with, and I can't imagine being anywhere else. You girls really are my BFF's :)


Anonymous said...

Okay, now I'm crying at work! You have an amazing way of putting into words how I know the rest of us feel too. It's so funny to me that we have yet another parallel in our lives, because I met Ashley when I was ten (except that was not quite 20 1/2 years ago :)), and though we rarely get the chance to talk or see each other, you'd never know it when we are together. Love you friend!

Rita said...

I'm really glad Daniel didn't walk in on me reading this because of the way I was crying. I'm so thankful for our Breakfast/Birthday Club, and look forward to when we're all together for such events.

Phillips Family said...

Um, the subtitle of this post should read, "Lynley, Do Not Read in Fragile Emotional State". I am blessed to have such a lifelong friend who is always just a phonecall away. I love you more than anything!

I am so thankful that other girls get to share in all the gifts and blessings you bring to a friendship. They are lucky to know you!

Leanne said...

OK - so I shouldn't read the comments in an emotional state either :) It was not my intention to make y'all cry, but I feel so blessed to have you girls shape the person I have become and the person I am still becoming. I love you girls so much, and I am thankful that God has blessed us with each other!

liz said...

So, I get back on your blog for the first time in months and I am going to leave crying because of the way you described our friendships! God really has given us such an awesome group and I appreciate all that you said about us! BFF!!! Keep up the blogs!

renay said...

I am sitting here checking my email and my favorite websites when I read your latest post, just as we have gotten in from out of town and feeling like I have not talked to my BFF's in forever! I literally had chill bumps while I was reading this! You are awesome with words and yes we do share so much and I truely look forward to the years ahead of all of us to share together! Love you!!

Amy said...

I am so glad that you have such great friends like that. And I completely understand that friend-shaped hole in your heart left by a special friend with whom you have such a special bond. Even though I totally understand it wasn't written to me, what you wrote expresses more to me than you'll ever know. I think every woman craves the friendship you describe. Thanks:)

Cindy said...

So I said I was not emotional today, but you pulled it out of me.

Thanks for being my friend and I am grateful for our group every day. I LOVE YOU GIRLS!!!

I am singing the song really loud just for LIZ because she loves it so!!!

Sarah said...

Awww that was sweet. Leanne, the LB/LB2 relationship was a great model of friendship to me growing up. I think it's hilarious that you somehow also managed to become LP/LP2.

I've also come to realize how it's so important to have a core group of girlfriends in your adult years. I've been blessed with that more recently and I'm glad to know you have been, too!