How To Stay Friends.*

  

I don’t claim to be an expert on female friendship. But I will tell you what I know about it … my friends (sisters/teammates/tribe) make my life possible. 

They make me a better wife to my husband, a better mama to my daughter, a better listener, creator, artist, caregiver, cook, poet, counselor and fellow citizen of the universe. I feel so strongly about this thing … friendship/sisterhood (call it whatever you want) that I would be willing to burn sage and beat drums about it. In honor of one of my longest truest female friends, who is very logical in nature, instead I will make a list.

image by Goosecamper

This post is in honor of her. I met her baby for the first time in real life just a few days ago when they dared to venture into Texas for the first time. This alone tells you how devoted to our friendship she is … we have made an agreement not to speak politics, gun rights, Republicans, new age healing, religion, or the like, ever. Needless to say, for every one of my dear friend’s beliefs, Texas represents the opposite.

She has taught me so much, in so many ways over the years, and she is still teaching me. The following truths are some of my most cherished ~ how to love your friends / sisters / girl gang … and be loved.

Don’t Judge Me, I Won’t Judge You

  

We’re different. We’re stubborn. Some things just aren’t going to change. In terms of baby birthing, feeding, customs and practices, our personal experiences may be on opposite ends of the spectrum. So opposite, in fact, that my friend Erin had to walk me through, step by step, the bottle-making process so that I could watch her baby for an hour. Despite raising my own child for four whole years, I have NO FUCKING IDEA whether or not formula-fed babies need to drink extra water, or how to make them poop easier. Here she is the expert. And she always will be, because its her baby.

We love to fit things into categories, including each other. But you know what? Life is so much more complicated than that. Some contents spill out of boxes and others get piled under other materials that are heavier or more tangled. She gave birth to her beautiful child and held her all night through her first fever. She will teach this child how to read and how to paint with brushes and sing in harmony and that is completely up to her. She has to carry the worry and the grief and the sacrifice of raising that child, and she will learn to live with those decisions and trust they are right. That is her path to walk, just like mine is mine alone.

Don’t Be Jealous, You Are Enough

I love the things about my friend that make her beautiful. I love that she makes art and that she stays at home with her baby. I love that she knows how to quick-pickle red onions and look glamorous and fresh in a dress she lugged in a suitcase (along with four other suitcases, and a baby) across the country. Her strengths don’t diminish mine. Its actually the opposite — if it wasn’t for her strength, my strength would not run nearly as deep. Like I told my husband, the difference between my ability to cook and my mother’s ability to cook …. is ERIN.

Image by Goosecamper

I Don’t Always Need Advice, I Just Need You

I’m gonna figure it out. So are you. You have no idea what’s best for me, only I know that (or will, soon. Or someday. Whatever.) 

What I need is for you to be here, next to me on the couch, across from me at the table, on the other end of the phone, or even typing words onto a screen thousands of miles away. 

I don’t need to be told how to do it, just that I CAN do it. I don’t need you to save me, I just need you to be there for me. That is far more powerful.

I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU.

At the end of the day, I’m here, you’re here. Fifty years will go by. I’ll make some mistakes, so will you. We’ll either keep worrying or find peace (probably both). 

Regardless of the ways we’ve incriminated ourselves, the mess that is our past, the chaos of the present, or the uncertainty of the future, there’s something we can always count on … our love for each other. 

Do you know what’s so great about being loved unconditionally? Loving someone back just as much. It feels so good.

  
That goes for you too, baby girl. 

* for 14 years.

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