On the first day of my freshman year in college, I had no way of knowing that two young women would change my life. One was a smart-mouthed wise ass who shared my major and the other was a, well, smart-mouthed wise ass who moved in across the hall from my dorm room.
Over the next few months, we would bond over the trials and tribulations of being away from home for the first time and a mutual hatred of Catholic school uniforms. We stayed up late into the night, laughing and carousing, and we became thick as thieves.
And now, 20 years later, we still are.
Those ladies, my best friends, went on to become successful in their fields, and they are also amazing moms. Though we don’t see each other nearly as much as we’d like, they are my people. They are who I would call if we had a family emergency in the middle of the night, and I’d like to say they’d bail me out of jail, but the truth is, they’d likely be sitting next to me in the jail cell.
They are seared on my heart forever, and over the years, they have taught me what true friendship really looks like.
And not in a sappy, Hallmark way either.
They are the kind of friends who accept me, flaws and all. When I call from my closet, on my worst parenting days, they not only still answer the phone, but they also say, “Bitch, please. Me too,” when I admit to them that I don’t always want to be around my kids. They love me unconditionally, and the feeling is mutual.
Couples who have been married for 20-plus years often have a vow renewal ceremony as a way to reaffirm to each other that they are still committed to the union. I believe that best friends need a vow renewal of sorts, too. Because let’s face it: Men often come and go, and relationships ebb and flow, but your girlfriends? If you’ve loved and supported each other through the years, when it was easy and hard, they will be with you until death do you part — without question.
And so, I pledge to my college BFFs and all the other amazing friends I’ve collected along the way:
I will never judge you when you say your kids are assholes. Because kids are assholes. Yours, mine, and everyone else’s.
I promise to never invite you to a party where you have to buy jewelry, leggings, or any other overpriced bullshit in my kitchen.
If you are having a bad day, I will always offer you a glass of wine. And if it’s 9 a.m. and you take me up on the offer, I’ll pour two glasses and gladly day drink with you. You know, so you don’t feel awkward about it.
I promise to hate your husband when you’re pissed at him, and I will resume liking him again when you say we are done being angry at him.
I will be honest with you when you ask if that new skirt makes your ass look good. And I expect that you’ll do the same for me.
If you’ve suffered a loss, I will show up with an armload of food and will do every stitch of laundry in your house. I will stay up late and be your shoulder to cry on. Whatever you need, babe.
I will accept that, sometimes for months on end, our communication will be in the form of stupid memes texted in the middle of the day.
I will never tell a soul about the night you got so drunk that you peed in the bushes (and also on your pants).
If I hear another mom talking shit about you, I will shut that crap down right away. No one trash-talks my friends.
I will always do my fair share of the carpool. I might not be in actual clothes and I may be late, but I will take your kids to soccer and not complain.
I won’t think you are disgusting if you call me to tell me that your crotch smells like tuna or that your farts smell worse than a water buffalo’s ass.
I won’t laugh when you tell me you sneezed and peed or when you tell me you shit your pants in the school parking lot. I’ve been there, trust me, and I have no room for judgment.
If you have a dream job or passion, tell me. I will do whatever I can to help you get there. I’ll always be the Gayle to your Oprah.
I will tell you when I see you taking a road that might lead to dangerous consequences, and I will understand when you get angry at me for overstepping my boundaries.
When we argue, I will always try to see your side — even if it means admitting I was bitchy, hurtful, and Queen of the Silent Treatment. And I will always say I’m sorry and mean it when I’ve hurt your feelings.
I will love you through your mistakes and remind you that your mistakes don’t define you.
I will help you remember the time before you had children when you were young, wild, and free. I will help you find that girl on the days your life has become unrecognizable.
I will always remember that you have helped make me the woman I am today.
I will always treasure our friendship.
I will always call you my friend.
And I will always be here, with a hug, or a beer, or a Band-Aid, whatever you need. I hold our memories close and our secrets even closer. Like all best friends do.