This is what 38 years of friendship look like: Easy. Real. True.
Thirty-eight years ago, our mothers asked each other to be godmothers to their new daughters. Twenty-seven years after that, we were each other’s maids of honor. Fast forward another three, and we are godmothers to each other’s babies. And all the moments of all the years in between are just too good to reduce to words.
When we were younger, I idolized her incredible spirit of adventure, her fearlessness, her inimitable ability to make everyone laugh, her giant heart that embraced everything and everyone. I still do. But now I admire how she didn’t sacrifice those qualities on the altar of adulthood. Instead, she effortlessly parlayed all of them into her marriage, her children and her work.
In all these years, our relationship has changed many times over. We haven’t lived in the same city in almost two decades, but that only seemed to make us closer. Geography, after all, is a distance for cars, not for the heart. Sometimes we take for granted the people we see every day, but when your visits are limited to three a year, you make every second count.
We don’t talk every day, but there is nothing that I wouldn’t—that I haven’t—tell her. Even though the discussions have evolved from homework and boys to house repairs and potty training, we have always spoken the same language. Because when you suffer through the misfortune of braces and bangs, the anguish of bad boyfriends and job rejections, the pain of divorce and death, the silliness of family vacations and drunken nights when you can’t stop laughing and the happiness of marriage and children, well, that’s more than friendship. Your bond is forged by the heartbreak and the joys of growing up together, of growing old together.
Here we are today: Moms with unwashed hair and food on our shirts. (And if we’re being entirely honest, it wasn’t just food from our kids on our shirts.) I don’t clean my house when she comes over. We don’t pretend our children or our husbands or our lives or ourselves are perfect, but we sure all love each other a lot.
And we have kids who love each other so much they think they are actually related. We have never attempted to dissuade them from that notion, because family isn’t always defined by bloodlines.
Sometimes the family we make—the family we choose—is stronger than DNA.