I’ve had two constant girlfriends in my life since I was very young. (And I’m not referring to my sisters, though I have known them most of my life, as well.)
But I’m speaking of my two friends Danielle and Jennifer. We grew up together, not by our choosing, but by our parents- we all went to the same church. But we chose to stay together, even after the church split and college sent us 3+ different ways. (Don’t ask me to explain that, okay?)
We were virtually inseparable through middle and high school. We made group decisions consistently- if one of us didn’t go on a youth group trip, none of us did. It’s just the way we rolled. We also chose, all together, to go to stupid places, like a teen dance club in Helen, Ga. (I didn’t say we always made GOOD decisions, I just said we made GROUP decisions.)
We loved the lakehouse- to the point that 2/3 of us missed a day of school after a weekend at the lake. (Did you know it was possible to get motion sickness from the amount of time spent on a floating dock? Neither did we.)
We ate crazy stuff and sang 3 part harmony and made up words and names and watched millions of movies and laughed until we….. well, we laughed a lot. Seriously, you wouldn’t believe how strange we were. We are. We will be.
Danielle got married in September 2001. Jennifer got married in April 2003. Two of the most beautiful brides I’ve ever known.
Danielle had a baby in November 2002 (Ashlin). Jennifer had a baby in May 2005 (Mason). Danielle had a baby in December 2006 (Mady). Jennifer had a baby in February 2007 (Hannah). Four of the cutest babies I’ve ever known.
With each wedding, and each baby, I felt like a part of me grew. Does that make any sense? A shared dream has become a reality six times over with these girls.
Danielle, Ashlin, Mady, Jennifer, Hannah, and I (and our friend Rebecca) went to dinner tonight. As ashamed as I am to say it, it was the first time I’ve seen Hannah. We ate Mexican and laughed hysterically and what was going on in each of our lives. We talked homes, husbands (present and future), baby gizmos, church, jobs, all of it. And did I mention we laughed? Because we did. To the point where Jennifer has to gasp for air- possibly one of my favorite sounds ever because it means we’re all having a good time if she’s that out of control. It makes me smile just to hear it in my mind.
When we had finished eating, it was time to pass the babies. I had Mady first and she’s just hilarious. After a few minutes, I was dying to hold my newest “neice” Hannah, so I passed Mady back over the chip crumbs and quesadilla shrapnel.
As I received Hannah from Jennifer, this sweet little four month old girl, I sat her bottom on the table and had a quick conversation with her (mainly apologizing for my tardy introduction). As we “talked”, Ashlin walked her 4 year old self around the table and pulled up on my arm to sit in my lap to see Hannah. She wrapped one arm around me and another around Hannah.
And the moment was so sweet. There we were. I was holding two of our dreams in my hands. Two of the most important contributions my friends will ever make to this Earth were wrapped in my arms. I could look over my left arm, around Hannah, and see Jenn. I could look between Hannah and Ashlin, in my right arm, and see Danielle. And I remembered how much I love them. All of them. I had to pause and take it in. Recognize the moment for what it was- right, real, deep, old, new, all of it.
It was amazing. It was full circle. It was soul-filling. And it reminds me again why God called me back to Marietta, why some friends are meant to be forever, and why true friendship doesn’t stop with loving one generation.