Friends are simply the best.
When I was young, I was lucky enough to find an amazing group of girlfriends. Eight of us bonded many years ago. It astonishes me everyday that we are all still the best of friends (40 years later for some of us). We have stuck together since we were young kids (I met a couple of them when I was just six years old). And we have been best friends through each different chapter of our lives… high school, college, marriages, babies, divorces, family crisis’, and even one’s adventure of joining a convent.
I met the first of these ladies, on the very first day of First Grade. I was six. And scared. I was new to the town and I knew no one. I remember being so afraid walking into that classroom for the first time. Luckily fate intervened and I found myself sitting behind a very cute girl with pigtails. My mom had reminded me to be friendly so I could meet some kids in our new town, but I really wanted to take the easier path and not say a word to anyone. I felt so shy.
Somehow though, I found the courage to hesitantly tap that girl on the shoulder and say hi. She turned to me with a giant smile, and said “Hi!!!”. I asked her what her name was. And she answered, “Maria”. So I said, “Hi Maria”. “No, no, no”, she said, “I’m RHEA, not Maria”. I hadn’t heard the name Rhea before, but I didn’t care. I was just happy she was so nice to me on that first day of school, and we became instant friends. The best part is that she has a twin sister who is just as sweet. This is us in Second Grade…
The rest of the eight girls connected along the way. A couple of the girls had gone to different elementary schools, and eventually we all came together in junior high school. And our eighth addition to the group was a college friend.
So ever since the 1980’s, the eight of us have been best buddies. BFF’s. Sisters.
The dynamic of our group just works. A couple of us have paired off into best friend status. For instance, Amy is my bestest friend. Paula and Christy are also best friends. But we are just as close with each of the other girls. They are each my sister. And I love each one of them.
I’m sure I will share many stories about my friendship with these incredible women because it is a very important, enduring part of my life. They know me like no one else. They know my secrets, and they still love me. And I know theirs, and love them right back! We never judge, and we always support. That’s the key to a good friendship. They are always there if I need a hug, or to listen, if I need to talk. I could go on, and on. I feel so very lucky we found each other and stuck together.
As you get to know me, I promise more stories about us “eight lovely ladies”. I have so many!
But for my first “friends” post, I thought I’d list the ways that friends are better than a big, giant jug of wine (because that’s a tough thing to measure against!):
Friends vs. Wine
1). At the age of 12, well before we discovered wine, my favorite thing was candy. Anything sweet. For my birthday that year, my awesome friend, Marianne, gave me a huge box full of candy – Sprees, Sweet Tarts, Smarties, Hershey Kisses, all of my favorites. And the best part – she individually wrapped each and every piece. I can’t tell you how fun it was to open each one! Better than a whole jug of wine!
2). I crashed my boyfriend’s car while he was in New Orleans, and a glass of wine helped calm me down, but my friend Amy made me feel much better with stories about her crashing into her landscapers’ truck! Oh, and let’s not forget Christy reminding me about the time she backed out of her garage… before she opened the garage door! I didn’t feel so bad about his car anymore. Thanks to my friends, not the wine.
3). When I was going through a divorce and feeling like a failure, wine helped a little. But it didn’t hug me like my friends did. They kept me company and cheered me up, and did lots of hugging (Ok, the wine helped more than a little too).
4). When I was new to breastfeeding, and realized how tough it was, and was ready to give up, wine didn’t help. I wish it could have. But my friend, Tina, who had already breastfed FOUR kids, helped coach me through the tough parts of breastfeeding. And I persevered. And I’m a proud momma to this day, for breastfeeding both my kids. Wine was good AFTER I was done breastfeeding them!
5). When I turned 40 and felt so old, my friends were also turning 40 and helped me realize I was not alone. Wine can’t do that. 40-year-old whiskey, maybe. But not wine. A weekend getaway celebrating our 40th with my girlfriends helped too.
The bottom line is that yes, wine is great. But friends are better. True friendship is one of life’s greatest blessings. Put great friends together with a big jug of wine… well, then you have it made!
My favorite ladies….