Finding Sara

by Emily Genser
Originally Published: 

I am 38 years old, and I have finally found my type. You’d think I might have figured it out in high school, but no. I didn’t even know who I was in high school, let alone who I wanted in my life. As a teenager, I believed that I was a tagalong, the “and” as in “you should come to my party, and she can come too, I guess.” I have been told that wasn’t the case, but it certainly was how I saw myself in every social situation.

When I got to college, I made friends with my alterna-chick roommate, who played Tori Amos very loudly, and sometimes cut random chunks of her hair off when she was particularly down. She wasn’t my type, but I liked her choice in music. I experimented with sorority girls, but couldn’t imagine paying for friendship, and there were plenty of other places to go and things to do in New Orleans. I spent a lot of time with beautiful girls who thought they weren’t, and nobody ate and everybody puked and I realized I didn’t quite fit there either. I loved them but could never love them enough. I left them behind with graduation.

And then I went to Boston. I found my first strong woman there who taught me that I didn’t have to downplay my brain to meet boys and saved me from the wrong boys more times than I can count, but our relationship didn’t survive our eventual separation when I moved to Connecticut. It wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I was asking too much, giving too little, and once she got married and had a wonderful child, wasn’t sure how to work that into our definition of friendship.

I became a mom and finally found the one when I went to pick up my daughter from preschool. This tough mama was pregnant with her second, in the midst of moving houses, and angry. I was terrified and yet drawn to her. She growled something in my general direction, picked up her daughter and walked away.

We began to talk a little here and there. I saw her at pickup, and then at a birthday party or two. We made snarky comments to one and other, and the first time she threw back her head and laughed at something I said, I knew I had found the friend I had been searching for. She had curls on curls, no façade, a love for a challenge, and the best B.S. detector I had ever seen.

I know plenty of people who have close friends whom they’ve known all their lives. I know others who surround themselves with people at all times. As an adult, and especially as a mother, my time has become more precious. Finding this friend has helped me to identify the type of women I want in my life, and the type of woman I want to be. Since finding Sara, I have found a core of strong-minded, opinionated, very smart women. And I am happier than I have ever been.

Sara might not be the perfect person for everyone, but then, no one is. I am a forceful hugger, and she refuses hugs from most. I welcome everyone, though most end up frustrating me, while she waits people out; you have to earn her friendship. She is a planner. I fly by the seat of my pants. But together, we hold nothing back. I know that when I forget juice for my kids at the park, she will have two extras in her purse. I also know that when she is at her most stressed out, I can calm her down with a glass of wine and lots of laughter.

Most importantly, since meeting Sara, I have found myself. I am fierce in a way I never was. I am more confident in my career and in my mothering. I am writing more than I ever have. And I am a better me than I have ever been.

High school friendships made me insecure, college friendships confused me, and friendships in my 20s were just plain fun. It is my mom friends who will get me through the toughest and most rewarding time in my life. Motherhood can be isolating and lonely at its worst moments, but I found Sara, and now I have a partner who always has an extra juice (or glass of wine) in her purse.

This article was originally published on