Thursday, October 13, 2011

For My Girls

Remember when making friends was so easy?  If Ainsley walks by a child her age in the store she calls him/her a friend.

It gets harder as we get older.  Afraid we won't fit in.  Afraid to put ourselves out there.

When you go away to college, it seems kind of easy again.  Because you're all in the same boat.  Away from home for the first time.  No parent to set the rules.  A sea of new faces.

I made my best friends in college, I'm not sure I realized it at the time.  But here I am, 13 years later and I'd do just about anything to see them.  Including a whirlwind tour of Eastern Virginia.

Last weekend, I packed the kids in the car and took off (by myself - Read that again...without Clif). 

First stop...Julie.

Ainsley and Julie's daughter Katherine

Julie's youngest daughter, Claire

I met Julie when we were 19 years old.  It seems like a thousand years ago.  I wish that all my actual photos from those days were not in storage so I could scan them in and show you, but these will have to do.

Me and Julie at her bachelorette's very likely I am not sober in this picture.

Julie was wild enough to party all night but responsible enough to always make it to her 8 o'clock classes.
Julie was stunningly beautiful with her dark features but sweet like the girl next door.
Julie always knew what she wanted and always seemed to get it.
Julie was always satisfied with whatever life dealt and I rarely heard her complain.

Me and Julie St. Patty's day 2006

We spent the summer after our junior year together.  We worked at the same restaurant, lived down the street from one another, and did everything together.  I used my fake ID for the first time that summer.  We had sleep overs like we were 9 years old.  We worked doubles and triples at the restaurant just to have the money to go out to a bar afterwards.

Me and Julie 2005

We lived together after college, when we were just learning what the world was really about.  There were some really good times and some really rocky times...but in the end, here we are. 

Next stop...Carrie.

Carrie's kids - Addie and Hayes

Grayson, Ainsley, Addie, Hayes, Freddie

I have to say that I don't really remember the first time I met Carrie.  I don't remember being introduced to her or anything...but I just know that it feels like we've always been friends.  I don't really remember a time in college without her.

Me and Carrie, 2006

Carrie was loving and affectionate.
Carrie's smile could light up a room.
Carrie was fun and silly and always up for a good time.
Carrie wore her heart on her sleeve and I think that's what makes me love her most.

Me and Carrie, pregnant with Ainsley and Addie

Carrie and I were pregnant at the same time.  I mean the Exact. Same. Time.  We gave birth to beautiful baby girls 8 days apart.  We can never make it to the other's birthday parties because of this.  Carrie was the only friend I talked to when I miscarried.  I can go for years without talking to Carrie (and we did once - but I'm not sure why) and feel like we've only been apart for an hour.

Me and Carrie at her wedding, 2005

When Carrie laughs - like really laughs - she sounds like a sprinkler (she'll hate that I said that).  I will forever call her Carrie J no matter what her last name is.  I've never met anyone more in love with a cat (RIP Boo Boo).  It was actually a visit to Carrie's house, and her cat, my senior year of college that made me realize how allergic I was.

Bonus visit...Shanna.

Shanna's son, Grayson

Shanna, Carrie and I were all pregnant at the same time.  Ainsley was born first,
then Addie a week later and Grayson  3 months after that.

I often see Shanna when I visit Carrie.  She lives a couple of hours in the opposite direction, so we use Carrie's as a meeting spot.

Me and Shanna, 2005

I do remember the first time I met Shanna.  We were pledging the same sorority and my roommate was gone for the weekend.  Everyone I knew had pledged a sorority that semester...a different sorority than the one I had joined.  So I called Shanna and her roommate Leah to go to dinner.  I am so not good at doing things like that...but turned out to be a good thing.  We ended up going to a neighboring all boys college and Shanna and I spent the majority of the evening in the corner taking shots and telling our life stories.

Me and Shanna, 2005

Shanna was brilliant and so pretty.
Shanna always made me laugh or cry the hardest.
Shanna had a crazy life but was always rock solid when I needed her.
Shanna was never mean or judgemental, always accepting.
Shanna rolled with the punches, never knocked down by what life threw at her.

Me - whoa pregnant and swollen bridesmaid - and Shanna at her wedding in 2007

Meeting Shanna was like finding a soul mate.  We became inseparable.  I love her like I love my sister.  I think she's the only person who is completely honest with me and I don't hate her for it - and vice versa.

It was revitalizing and amazing spending the weekend with these ladies and all their beautiful babies.  I'm so lucky to have met them as girls, watched them grown into women and now see them as mothers.  It's really a beautiful thing and though we live far apart, I hope our kids always love each other, that we meet each others grand kids and we get together for drinks when we're 90.
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