Friendships: Old and New!

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Karen, my soul friend, the one we lovingly referred to as ‘Phoebe’ all through college, left her much-loved East Coast and arrived in Huntington Beach two Tuesdays ago. For days she joined our unassuming family, winning the boys over with her contagious laugh and gift for questions. There’s something so pure about those first reunited hours with a soul friend, words heaped upon words, detailing important nuggets of what we haven’t covered in person, the true heart topics rising to the top, rich and honest and urgently calm.

How is the home search? How are the girls? Pleeeease tell me the latest work story {she is an ER nurse at a community hospital and tells the best, oftentimes inappropriate, patients stories.}

Over apricot stilton cheese we clanked wine glasses, and moved from kitchen to table to living room to sit with energetic boys. She shared about her husband getting out of the army, their love for Rhode Island, and the unique eateries their couple friends/life group try every few weeks. It always comes back to food with us – bringing people together and our love for food and drink! And so we gabbed over cheese and crackers and sips of red wine. She announced that her new go-to recipe is homemade bread, to which I almost spit my wine out to ask if Martha Stewart had possessed her body, only to realize that no siree– she is the real deal- made evident when she solvedĀ  my ‘what sauce do I make for butternut squash ravioli?’ dilemma by matter-of-factly changing my life with a simple browned butter sage recipe. Thank you Martha, ahem, Karen.

I realized in the days she was here, the aspect I most treasure about our friendship is the way in which she connects and cements into the normalcies of our life: reading Tanner a story while I put Ty’s shoes on, walking the 2-mile loop around our home before dinner together, familiarizing herself with our drawers and cabinets, grabbing a knife to cut onions and garlic for Lentil Sage Soup, then the tears from that darn onion- a true friend indeed!

I love that the friendship we established in college is now layered with hot hubbies, parenting stories, food obsessions, faith journeys, and a deep, true passion for sea salt and chocolate, preferably combined. It’s a friendship that’s grown despite a three hour time difference and living on opposite sides of the country. And when Netti and Ber joined at the tail end of the week for a local two-day getaway {while missing a couple others who couldn’t make it}, we reminisced, but mostly built new memories as we ate and shopped our way through southern Orange County. Over pomegranate martinis at RA Netti and I teared up, sharing details of God at work in our lives. In the dressing room of Crossroads Trading Co., a fashion recycled heaven, the four of us gave thumbs up/thumbs down in the dressing room. Later that night, we sat cross-legged on the hotel beds, passing individual bundt cakes of carrot, red velvet, chocolate chocolate chip and cinnamon swirl back and forth until we couldn’t eat another bite, while drinking wine out of classy paper coffee cups. We fell asleep laughing as the three of them went on and on about the sleep app on my iphone. They are beach waves, people- not an old man snoring!! Do you see why I love these girls?

Funny how years have changed my thinking. I used to pine for girl weekends, living for the next college reunion, sure that God would never bring another friend like these soul sisters.

Yet slowly they trickle in. I meet them at church, at my son’s pre-school pick-up, at mom groups. They settle into the everyday and plant themselves in my life, and while some are for a sweet season, others root for the long-haul. And I’m so thankful. For as much as I wish those college friends lived next door, the reality is not that way for most of us. And I’m certain I would miss out on getting to know some of the most bold, creative, wise, honest women if I closed the book on the possibility of deep friendships, convinced my cup was filled only from college days. How different that cup looks now. How thankful I am that God knows exactly the friends to pour into my present circumstances, and me into theirs.

A day after Karen left, I found myself on a spontaneous lunch date with Kelli and our five kids under five. A newer friend, I am convinced God plopped her in my life as a fellow truth-teller and Spirit-seeker, and it doesn’t hurt that she makes me laugh really hard. Ironically, we sat at the same cafe that only days earlier, I’d eaten at with my college friends. In an odd way it felt appointed. A reminder that old and new friendships can overlap and connect in the same settings. I’m convinced that in this season with young kids, friends- true friends- are made in seeing the deeper levels quicker, almost bypassing the surface layers and going directly for the rich soil. Unlike college, there’s not endless hours and midnight Donut Man runs to create connections- we’ve got kids to raise and spouses to love, bills to pay and life to embrace. It’s as if previous years of friendship making gives the proper skills to hone in on certain friendships; some flourish, while others may never take root. And that’s okay. It’s not a win or a fail. It’s the beauty of being vulnerable and transparent and stepping outside of the safe, nice exteriors and welcoming people into your not-so-perfect life and saying ‘this is me… take it or leave it!’ And when they take it, it’s a priceless gift.

Tanner had his first flag football game on Friday night, the youngest on the Dolphins. Bryan had prepped him beforehand that he couldn’t be there due to a church youth event but that he wanted to hear every.single.detail and that mommy would send lots of pictures {thanks, hon… I’ll get on that while I’m chasing Ty and watching our oldest throw himself on the ground after every play}. If Karen lived locally, I know she would have been at Tanner’s first football game; cheering him on and most likely explaining each play. But she was at home where she belonged- in Massachusetts with her hilarious husband and two sweet girls doing their own Friday night normal. Before the game I received one text, then another from friends that were coming to cheer Tanner on. A year ago theses people weren’t on our radar and now? Now they are like family. We see them weekly in Life Groups and make dinner together before Saturday night church. We watch each others kids and go on flea market adventures and pray for sleep training babes and stubborn toddlers. That chilly Friday night, I sat on the bleachers and realized two things. One, I’m that mom at sporting events, the one woo-hooing for her kid while simultaneously considering elbowing the mom next to me who’s yelling even louder for the opposing team, and two, I was overcome with gratitude that I wasn’t sitting alone, but surrounded by friends who support us and love our kids, a refreshing reminder that in even in one year friendship roots are made strong and comfortable and unshakable.

Just like my college girls.

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