|me and my girls.....|
I have waited all my life to be in this very spot. I am savoring every moment of it. I have never been the girl with lots of friends. I was part of the “right” groups; cheerleading captain, president of my college sorority, but if I let you in, to see the real me, you would not be one of many. I never let that many people in. I left high school without a parting glance, moved out of state and never returned. I left, ran from college, hanging on to a boyfriend a bit too tightly but releasing the friendships I thought I had formed.
In my adult life, it seems that just as I was starting to form real relationships, life would intervene. I would move again, out of state, or I would accept a position with another company, or I would choose to leave the job force and raise my children full time. At times I was a very lonely girl.
But now......it seems that all the effort of growing up was worth it. The circle of friends I now have not only surround me, but encompass me, bringing me such joy. Each has his or her own gift to share, talent to teach and wisdom to express. I have never learned so much about myself or the world around me in just one year.
Over the past 12 months, I have experienced emotions that range from peace and tranquility to anger and frustration. The transitions in my life have been monumental and have affected every person that lives in my home. Through it all, my friends have comforted me, guided me and soothed me.
I let them in. When before I would have said no - like accepting an invitation to talk with a complete stranger about gluten and celiac disease while waiting for our pizzas to bake, I said yes. I learned. I found a moment of joy. Where before I would have said no way to a family sleep over on New Year’s Eve, I said yes and experienced a three family playdate that lasted 26 hours. 26 hours that I will never ever forget. Where before I would said “maybe....we’ll see.....or perhaps later......I now often say “yes, sure, of course we can”. Most of the celebrations of life that follow have been shared with those whom I now call friend.
Having relationships that are real, honest, and true is in itself transformational. Letting down one’s own boundaries and barriers to honestly and self-expression is at times scary but is also very liberating. The lack of judgement and the presence of acceptance has given me courage to share myself wholly. It is a shame that I have never really done this before with such reckless abandon.
I chose my friends very carefully. I only have one true friendship from my twenties that I know will last my lifetime. The friendship is close to one of sisterhood. It has survived rough times, long distance, and stress. I treasure it. I love my friend. Now, I am experiencing what it is like to have more than just one friend. Each relationship is unique. Each guides me in a different way. At times, I am left wondering that in the midst of their vast knowledge, what is it that I can contribute? How am I giving and sharing and adding to the conversation? The self-reflection is good. It helps me develop the areas in my life I want to learn more about and become more competent in.
This year, this wondrous new year, holds so many possibilities. I feel such warmth and joy in my soul knowing that as I think of what I would like to do and how I would like to approach it, I am not alone. I will journey through this gift of life with friends, partners and of course, my family. We will travel together. Some of our paths will lead us to great adventures. We will create more lasting memories. Some paths we choose may be dead ends. But through those detours in life we will learn. Always, we will learn.
Thank you my friends, and you know who you all are. Thank you for what you have shared with me. The gift of you.....your friendship. It is something that I do not take for granted. It is simply a gift. Something to value, to preserve and to share. It has been an honor to be included in your lives the past year. My entire family is grateful. I respect your uniqueness, cherish your hospitality and find inner peace in your presence. Blessing to you all in 2011. I look forward to walking towards the future together.