When I was in sixth grade, I met a girl in a red coat that always wanted to swing at recess. It wasn’t my favorite thing to do, but I knew I wanted to be friends with this girl! So at every recess, we went to the swings. She came into my life at a point when I really needed a friend. Not just any friend, but a best friend.
My parents were going through a divorce that turned my whole world upside down. We spent days and even weeks at a time together. We were inseparable. Now, 20 years later, we’re separated by a state border, but that hasn’t stopped us from being closer than ever. I miss the times that she would come over and stay the night. We’d camp out on the trampoline in my backyard and stay up all night talking and laughing.
Then when I was 19, I went away to college where I met my other best friend. She was the most random friend that I’ve ever made. We were acquaintances and hardly knew each other when we found out that we both had plans to move to Manhattan the next year. Neither of us knew anyone else moving there and we each needed a roommate so we decided to move in together. That next year if we weren’t at work or in class, we were together watching our favorite shows or eating macaroni at Panera.
Both of these friendships have had (and continue to have) such a positive influence on my life. We’re all married with children now and live in different cities, but we continue to make our friendship a priority. Here are the two biggest ways that we take care of our relationship.
Thank goodness for Facetime! One of my best friends is also a stay-at-home mom so this is a little easier for us. We Facetime daily. Sometimes multiple times a day. It works even when we never get to complete a sentence because between the two of us, we have six children and someone always needs something. We can hear each other and carry on over the noise of the kids. When it gets crazy and loud, we understand each other because it’s only a matter of time before we’re dealing with it ourselves. It’s become even more special because our kids can talk to each other. It’s a sweet experience to watch our daughters become friends even though we don’t have traditional play dates as often as we would if we lived in the same state. We’ve gotten each other through nursing issues, labor, and grief all through the phone. We even cook, clean, fold laundry and have coffee “together” thanks to Facetime. I love that our kids get to see us talk so often because it shows them that relationships take some work and we have to take care of them in any way we can.
Send each other surprise gifts
Whether it’s having flowers delivered, sending Starbucks gift cards through the mail or a Venmo with a sweet memo instructing us to treat ourselves. Giving and receiving gifts is my love language so this is extra special and means the world to me. We do this randomly or because we know it’s been a hectic day at work or with the kids. It’s our way of being there for support when we can’t physically be there.
Putting in the work
I’ve been told that I can come on too strong as a friend especially at first, but I value my friendships and make sure that I prioritize them. I try to be the friend that I would want. I’m the type of person that would rather have a few close friendships over having several acquaintances so these friendships are so precious to me. We’ve always talked about growing up and raising our kids together, but we never realized that that might not get to happen in the traditional sense. However, even though we live apart, we’re still able to raise our kids together. They love my kids like their own and I love theirs.
They both have families that still live near me and when they come to visit their families, they always make the time to come see me. The older I get, the more I see that time is everything. People are busy. We have families and lives of our own so when someone makes time in their schedule for friendship, it is such a blessing. Our friendships have gone through so much growth and change but our love for each other continues to grow and I’m incredibly thankful for that.