“I’m a Brownie eat me up!”
It was exactly the kind of thing a child would say. And it served as the perfect icebreaker for a friendship that has spanned the bulk of my life. We met on the playground in first grade; she was the petite blonde wearing a Girl Scouts uniform and I was the New Girl on my first day.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do next.”
“You mean after high school?”
“No, like, this afternoon.”
This, on the last day of high school, from a girl I only knew in passing. We walked together through the parking lot as the sun beat down on car rooftops and our classmates whooped and hollered around us. I invited her over to make toast and hang out with my mom.
“No matter what either of us ever does, I’ll never think you are a bad person.”
I still don’t know whether it was I or my college roommate who spoke this line first. I can only presume it happened amidst tipsy giggles after a night out with friends. It seemed so silly at the time, but that statement took on deeper meaning as our friendship grew.
“I’ll be your friend.”
The words, typed on a glowing computer screen, were a response to my online confession that I was lonely. We met on a wedding planning message board I’d joined when I got engaged. I’d moved from out of state just a few years earlier, directly out of law school. As a busy young lawyer, I’d had little time to meet new people, and missed my friends back home. That was almost eleven years ago, and we still talk nearly every day.
All of these friendships have changed over time, but each holds a special place in my heart. And I could go on – from women I have worked with, to the ladies I met in a knitting class, I’ve been fortunate enough to make some wonderful friends over the years. As I write this, my phone is buzzing from an ongoing group text with five of my nearest and dearest. My friends have acted as backup when I needed a hand (those Mom 2 Mom sales can get pretty rough, am I right?), and picked me up when I’ve fallen (literally and figuratively). They’ve comforted me in times of chaos, and celebrated with me in moments of joy.
From first grade to now, I’ve had the honor of sharing so much of my life with friends who have shaped my experiences and held my hand. We met in all sorts of different ways, but each of them has come into my life at just the right time. And I hope that I am as good a friend to others as my friends have been to me.
As I watch my children grow, I often wonder which friends of theirs will be around in five years, ten years, or even more. Which of their friends will we celebrate with at graduation? When will they meet the friends who will be with them when they experience their first love, and first heartbreak? I hope my children find friendships as rich and supportive of those I’ve been privileged to know.
They say that strangers are friends waiting to happen. Today, on International Friendship Day, I am so thankful for the strangers who have become my friends.
From Strangers to Friends – Friendship Day