a reader recently wrote & asked if i'd talk more about having my closest friends spread to the wind geographically & maybe offer some advice if you're entering a chapter in life where this is the case (graduating, big moves come to mind...). as background, & i know i've mentioned this before, my closest friends live in (no joke): boston, d.c., chapel hill, atlanta, a soon to be air force determined town, raleigh - recently moved from new orleans, boise, denver, dallas, san francisco, & new york. it's almost funny to think friends i made in indianapolis, charlottesville & d.c. could now be putting down roots literally across the country.
so, with that as background on my friendships, two things come to mind: one is that it's always important to invest where you are. ryan & i are so grateful for the friendships we've formed in virginia & are thrilled to be growing in those relationships. second, friendships can continue to deepen, even if there's no chance of you being in the same place on the horizon. the overwhelming majority of these friends were girls i met in college -- we got TONS of time together & those friendships were such a blessing during that time. but honestly, since we've left college, those relationships have deepened. even if we can count on two hands the number of times we've actually been in the same place since then. when I think about why that is, it's because we've stood beside one another over time, not just one season in life. it's because we've shown up when it's really mattered, answered the phone & listened without judgement when we needed it most, celebrated tremendous joys, and been present when life brings great pain.
on a practical level, i communicate with these girls in so many different ways -- we text, we send emails, we talk on the phone on nights & weekends, we send cards, we make a point to see each other. we remember birthdays, first days of new jobs, first dates, anniversaries, trips home, brothers/sisters graduations, husband / fiance / boyfriend's birthdays, anniversaries of a loss -- and we reach out. many days, ryan comes home & says, "how are the girls?" i always want to know how these girls are & make it a part of my life to find out one way or another.
one of my favorite t&f posts to write was on visiting friends & if you haven't read it, i'd start there. i still think it's incredibly important to go see these close friends and be able to picture their lives (where they live, their favorite places to eat, where they spend time). i also know that takes money & time, things we can all run low on. i also know that i feel like i'm entering a new chapter -- it's been "easier" to do that in person time, because we've all been getting married! this means girls weekends, weddings in their hometown, specific reasons to buy a plane ticket. it also meant i might get to see more than one of those girls at once. now, the overwhelming majority are married, or will be in the next year. that also means life is busier -- we have our husband's families, friends, life events on our calendars too. we're starting families. we're in more complex/demanding jobs than when we first got out of college. 52 weekends in a year quickly get gobbled up. precious vacation days are critical times to get quality time with spouses and family. so, when i used to say, "well, even if I don't see her for 6 months, we pick up right where we left off...." i now may find myself saying, "even if I don't see her for a year & a half..." and yet, i really think that will still be true.
i believe that for a couple of reasons. one, i have deep faith in how solid these friendships are & that their role in my life is for all seasons. secondly, it keeps proving itself to be true. just this week i was having a moment when i just needed to talk through some big things in life, and two of these girls happened to call that night. ryan was flying, i had all the time in the world and those conversations were EXACTLY what i needed. of course i wish they'd be in person, over a big bowl of strawberry ice cream, but it mattered very little they were on the phone. those friends took the time to get in the middle of my life & help me figure it out. they drew on years of knowing me and loving me well when they offered advice & they were honest about where we just weren't going to find answers that night. i got off the phone that night feeling as though my cup runneth over. life is so well lived with good company along the way.
these friendships are not perfect -- and i know we have and will disappoint each other, find times when we aren't showing up like we should or just gaps when there isn't the time or space to stay in touch, but that adds texture and depth to the friendships too. it makes them all the more hearty. & sure enough, the seasons will change & we find each other again. i've also been blessed to watch my mom & grandmothers have such deep and lasting friendships. i grew up hearing about my mom's college friends, knowing them, looking up to them. my grandmother gets lunch with women she went to high school with over 70 years ago! women can be fiercely loyal -- it's truly one of our greatest strengths.
i mentioned in my post about us learning we were having a girl that one of the most incredible things was telling these women. they were also one of my first thoughts upon learning this little one was a girl -- their faces came to mind & i was comforted that when i don't have the answers for this daughter of mine, or can't understand where she is, or isn't the ear she wants listening, that she will have these women to go to. that they will love her well. that she can draw from the strengths they have & look up to them. it will be one of the greatest blessings in her life. one of my favorite things my parents did was that we called their close friends aunt & uncle, even when there was no blood relation. this baby girl is going to have a boat load of aunts & i just love that.
finally, i feel lucky to have found so many dear friends in different seasons of life -- and have clung to them with my usual stubbornness, but i believe the old adage that you only need one is so, so true. i didn't really know friendships like this existed until college & certainly it took me even longer to begin to appreciate their breadth. i also don't think you need to have had years in the same place to grow closer long after you both leave it. some of these women i met in week long programs, or knew distantly in college, but bonded with after we graduated. i also couldn't explain to you why each of these women has stuck in my life the way they have -- it's not logical, it's just one of those beautiful life things that happens over time & defies explanation.