I was a little worried that people might think I am totally friendless after that last blog. While that’s not the case, I will say the vast majority of my friends live in far-flung zip codes. I have Navy friends who live on both coasts and in other countries. I have two wonderful sisters and a mom who I count as friends–they live in Oklahoma and Texas. I have friends from my college and high school experiences. I have friends from my time in Nashville who still live in the BNA (I totally covet their zip codes).
But the friends I want to share with you are the girls I like to call “My Faves”. All together, there are 10 of us. We all grew up in the same small Oklahoma town and graduated from the same high school in 1991. We were all born in 1973 (which means we will ALL turn 40 next year). We are all moms and wives (some are ex-wives). For the past six summers, we have come from all over the country to meet in a different location each year for a long kid- & husband-free weekend. This year we will be meeting in Park City, Utah flying in from Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Colorado, South Carolina, Missouri and California eager to catch up on the happenings in each other’s lives. While together we’ll shop, re-live old memories, get pedicures, cook together and stay up way too late. But most of all, we’ll LAUGH!! Over the last six years we have collectively mourned divorce and tragic death. We have celebrated new babies (The ten of us have a total of 20 kids ranging in age from 3 to 18!), new jobs, and soon we will celebrate the first of our children graduating from high school and moving on to college. Individually, each one of these women is remarkable–several have backgrounds in education, one is a physical therapist, another is a nurse, another still works in the financial industry, one friend is the Creative Director for a nationally known magazine, a few of us have worked in ministry of some kind, some are full-time moms, others devote their spare time to volunteering and charity. We were not all the best of friends in high school, but I can honestly say now that I don’t know what I would do without their love, support and influence in my life. After yesterday’s sob-blog, I woke up this morning to a text from one of these sweet girls just checking on me. It made my day! The funny thing is that part of the reason this group works is that we do get to gather together so infrequently. Each one of us treasures the time we get to spend together and going on our trip every year is a priority of highest order. If it happened every Friday we wouldn’t look at it the same way. So while I miss my faves desperately, I am thankful for our weekends and that I always start to look forward to the next one even before the last one ends.
After our first trip in 2006, I wrote down my thoughts and shared them on MySpace (it was 6 years ago, social networking options were limited, don’t judge me). I recently rescued my musings about that weekend from the near defunct site and I’d love to share them with you. Even after 6 years, I still feel the same way…
The more things change, the more they stay the same
June 7, 2006
Whenever I go into a situation where I know I will be seeing people from my past, I always worry about how they will remember me. I haven’t always liked the person I am and I’m sure there are people who feel the same way. I feel like I have grown and changed over the last several years (for the better!), but I know that sometimes other people might not realize that. Well, this past weekend was one of those times.
During the Christmas holiday, I got together with a few friends from high school. This year marked what should have been our 15-year high school reunion, but since there wasn’t an official reunion we decided to have a small one of our own. Over the next few months, we figured out who to invite and where we would go. We decided where we would stay and where we would eat. But truthfully, as the date approached this feeling of dread came over me, and I started wondering if I should go or not. I was just so concerned that the girls–some of whom I hadn’t seen since graduating from good ol’ Po-Hi–wouldn’t understand that I had changed or, even worse, that they wouldn’t like the person I have worked so hard to become. In spite of my minor panic attacks, I decided to go and I am SO glad I did!
What I learned this weekend is that we all had changed in some ways, but in others, we were exactly the same. We have all experienced life, love, heartbreak, motherhood, and so much more, and those experiences affected us in different ways but our lives had been enriched. I (hopefully we) discovered depth in each woman there–physically, emotionally, and spiritually–that we couldn’t have even imagined when we were in high school playing tricks on each other, arguing over boys, and breaking curfew.
I also realized, in many ways, we are still exactly the same. I wouldn’t say we are the same as we were when we graduated in 1991 though. I think we are more like the pre-teenage girls we were when we entered East Junior High in 1985–easy to laugh, not yet self-conscious enough to stop being silly, or spiteful enough to be catty.
We had each found a beautiful balance of self-confidence, humility, joy, and peace with the women we had become, the flaws we recognize in ourselves, and the lives we are living. And in spite of all that growth and change I thought I had experienced, it made me happy to realize that I am still the girl I used to be.