I loved writing this article about my girlfriends from college. We had a weekend reunion where we brought all of our kids together. I got to see these girls that I spent my youth with as moms and wives- and what a difference a decade makes! That said, I believe that girlfriends are our true Life Lines in this crazy journey we call life. Enjoy.
Being an adult is overrated. And this never became more true than this weekend when I returned to Mississippi for a reunion with my girlfriends of college past. A past when days consisted of classes interchanged with mid-day naps, when the night life started at 11pm, and when the biggest worry of your life was if that cute guy from economics was finally going to ask you out (he didn’t).
Now almost 10 years have come and gone as we greet each other enthusiastically in between peeling 2 year olds off the stairwell (them) while frantically searching for missing pacifiers on the floor (me). There are 5 of us, and this time the baggage that we brought is not the latest Vera Bradley design but 5 boisterous children ranging from 10 months to two and a half years. We are like brave zookeepers, determined to create some order despite the pack of monkeys that surround us. We laugh as we make a meager attempt at conversation over a blaring Elmo’s World, all while trying to catch up on our lives that have scattered across three states.
By the time dinner was served (hotdogs, pasta shells, and carrots), bath time concluded in a watery mess, and bedtime gloriously rolled around, we all came together like weary soldiers covered in smashed carrots, dried shampoo, and god only knows what else to finally have some “me” time. I looked at the faces of my girlfriends as we talked alone for the first time all day , and even as I noticed lines of exhaustion that were displayed on their faces, I also saw the shining light of youth and wonder in their eyes that brought me back to a time when we were just girls. Before we were someone’s wife or mother, we were 5 girls who shared scandalous secrets, cried in each other’s arms over boys that we were sure was “the one”, and had endless conversations about how each one of us would carve out our own space in the world to call our own. We sat with the whole world at our fingertips ready to take on whatever was to be thrown our way.
Over the years we have celebrated weddings and births, climbed corporate ladders, moved across the state or the country, dealt with heartbreak and joy, and have been on more diets than anybody cares to count. And I am not so naïve to think that in that time we are the same people or have the same relationships that we did in college. We don’t. In many ways we couldn’t be more different now. Beth is an up and coming photographer making waves in the industry while Shea is perfectly content staying at home with her two children. And while I am trying to become the next Oprah Winfrey; Courtney and Kellie are trying to find balance between being a mom and still going after their dreams. But what we have is a history that bridges the space where common threads used to hold us together. And that is how we are able to sit here now, 10 years later, and rekindle the same connections that we had in college. Though our conversations have changed from term papers, frat parties, and boys to diaper rashes, stretch marks, and well, boys (some things never change); I can still rest assured that Beth will blow her entire budget on the latest Marc Jacobs bag that I will invariably try to mimic, that Kellie and Shea will have no idea who Marc Jacobs is, and Courtney will be the reasonable voice to bridge the gap between us all. Even with all the time that has passed, I know these girls inside and out. And that is something that I will never find with other girlfriends that come along in life because there is something so special about someone knowing you for better or worse and loving you in spite of that.
We talked for hours on end that night after the kids were asleep about the joys and woes of marriage and motherhood, and also reminisced about those blissful days of eating pancakes at 3 in the morning just because we could. At the end of the weekend we each said our goodbyes as we went back to our lives as wives and mothers. And as I was driving home I caught myself smiling at the thought of those 5 innocent girls that grew up to be 5 beautiful women who still share secrets, cry on each other’s shoulders, and are just trying to carve out a place in this world to call their own.
The Fruit of our Loins...