The cardboard boxes had me cornered. Trapped in the basement packing up our house was a better trade-off with my husband than refereeing another fight between my kids. I pulled the last box from the bottom of the closet, and mementos of shenanigans with my girlfriends came spilling out. Photos of our college days, handwritten notes, souvenirs from spring breaks, this box held years of memories with my girlfriends.
While I held many of our past memories in that cardboard box in my basement, that’s not where our story ended. Our first memories were created in dorm rooms, and now they are over voicemails, emails, texts, photos, and when we are lucky and the stars align, in person.
We are moms now, and it would be easy to get stranded in motherhood. It is easy to forget to return a call or text. Amidst the monotony of folding laundry, sick kids, carpools, and meal planning, it is probably easier to let go of friendship when you have so many excuses in motherhood. But for us, the hard things we’ve faced in life, whether it is kids, jobs or moving, all those difficult things we were facing, they weren’t excuses to push our friends out, they were opportunities to invite friends in.
The truth is there was a time when we let too much time lapse. We made excuses. But then we decided we couldn’t wait for friendship. We couldn’t wait for all the children to be grown. We had to be in this thing. We had to make a commitment to our friendship. Motherhood didn’t stop our friendship — it made it stronger.
You’ll always be my girls.
I will listen to you.
I will sit and cry with you.
I will release my inhibitions and have fun.
I will belly laugh.
I will be a friend who supports you through both joys and trials.
I remember sitting on my grandpa’s lap as a child, the wood-paneled kitchen surrounded us, him balancing me on his lap. He held up his hand — “If you have five really good friends in life, consider yourself lucky.” I remember, as a kid, thinking five wasn’t that many. And as an adult now, I know his words were true. I call them best friends, women I can laugh until I cry with and cry until I laugh with. These are my girls.
You’ll always be my girls.
No matter the distance.
No matter the time.
No matter the life situations.
You’ll always be my girlfriends.
Girlfriends help you remember the parts of your life you forget or neglect, and they help you remember their importance. My girls help me unearth the forgotten me when I’ve lost myself in motherhood. When we are together, we are vulnerable and release all the truths we hold inside. The truths that expose the real us. The parts not on social media or known by anyone else.
We build each other up. We boost confidence and support each other through our next steps. We talk through the challenges and life moments that are weighing us down. We talk about our struggle with imposter syndrome, and our friends assure us we are anything but average. Our time together is so great I often fear that we won’t make better memories than the ones we are currently making. And then we always do.
After our most recent girls’ weekend, we stood next to the car, the suitcases leaned against us, and in tandem, we all started crying and telling each other how loved and valued each person was to us. I looked over at the car behind us and saw a woman watching us. She was alone and just smiled. I knew what she saw in us: It is that friendship we all hope we will all find.
As we said goodbye at the airport drop-off, I knew we’d quickly re-enter the everyday shuffle of parenting. No slow mornings sipping coffee and talking, no late night dinners and too many glasses of wine. But the one thing that I knew was true was that nothing would keep us from being best friends. You’ll always be my girls. Across the country, only a phone call, email, or text away, you will always be my girls.