A Letter of Love to My Flotation Devices
If you’ve got friends like mine; raise your glasses. If you don’t; raise your standards. – Unknown
Has your best friend(s) saved you at a time in your life?
Like, the 3:00AM phone call type of save your life?
Perhaps, you called them after you found an email that confirmed your suspicions of “crossing the line” and they showed up at your house and you didn’t have to say a word.
That friend you climbed trees with, watched “Jerry Springer” and yelled at the television with and then you both grew up, got married and are still friends.
That friend where you just know too much about each other and you both will take all secrets to the grave.
Or maybe they took you in like family, and never asked for anything in return. Their family is your family.
How about the friends that weren’t there in the early years: the new friends that get you and make your life delightfully charming and so much sweeter.
Yep, those are all of my exquisite, heart centered, soul-sister-friends.
I’ve always said God gives you everything you need because although my family foundation, at times, has been nothin’ short of a tropical storm throughout my life – my friendships have always been on solid ground, like a rock.
My friends did not break when times got tough they just showed up; no judgment, no ridicule, just pure, unconditional love from one sister to another.
And that is what they do to this day — show up. Perhaps in a phone call, an email, text message, letter, impromptu girls night out, a scheduled trip, or even a surprise reunion when you least expect it.
I’ve come to realize that is what I treasure most in life — my friendships and keeping them connected and nurtured.
This open love letter is to the old, the new and the few.
I have to spotlight a couple of them because I want you to take stalk of your life: if your “friends” aren’t like some of these amazing chicks I’m about to talk about, then perhaps you shall seriously re-think your “friends.”
We all deserve friends who lift us up, make us believe in ourselves and carry us to a new level in life…these are some of my earthly cherubs.
Come on in…
That’s my Roch (her name is Rachelle, but I affectionately call her my little Roch- long O, please).
We’ve been in each other’s lives since kindergarten and the above pic was taken at my wedding where she was my Maid of Honor.
I love her, with every particle of my being.
Our lives are unexplainably intertwined like only two lifetime bestie’s can be – our husbands both share the same name of Josh, she conceived her daughter on the night of our wedding and our daughters are almost two-months apart, to the day, for starters.
As much as we share in the commonalities of our life, we are dually opposite.
While I’m outspoken and boisterous, she can be meek and soft spoken. I can have a selfish, fierce independence, while she gives of herself freely and without question.
I’m grateful for these contrasts between us because I’ve been able to learn from my Roch. She tempers me and is a much needed soft place to land and voice of reason in my sometimes chaos.
In 20+ years of friendship we have bickered, been hard-headed, called each other out, been less than understanding and just like family called each other the next day to apologize and mend.
Our lifelong friendship has weathered everything from our childhood days of opening her Christmas presents while the parents were out, to sleeping on a hospital floor night after night while Roch’s boyfriend at the time lay in the Neuro ICU clinging to life.
We lost contact in high school, only to be connected years later, we moved to Denver together, lived with her grandparent’s while we tried to maneuver this bold move and I eventually moved back home; leaving my Roch in Denver where she now resides with her husband and children.
Although two hours of driving is the distance between us now, my heart knows she is always with me.
Why have we remained friends this long and why is she such a pivotal person in my life?
:: Her kindness makes me want to give more of myself.
:: Her heartfelt emotions allow me to take a good look at myself and wonder why I think holding it all in is the answer.
:: Because although she isn’t even five feet tall and could shop at Baby Gap, I feel fiercely protected when I’m with her.
:: When I spend time with her and watch the pure devotion she has to her children; she makes me a better mother.
:: And selfishly, because I know if I needed anything she would be there – no questions asked…consider it done.
Just like family. I can’t wait to watch our daughters grow up together and call each other when all of the “firsts” happen, as we already have.
I lean on you, as much as you lean on me…you just don’t know it.
Thanks for never leaving my side. I love you more then you will ever know my Roch!
High School Sweethearts
If it was not for these three women + their amazing families, I’m not sure how I would have survived the high school years.
We conjoined as a cohesive-soul group our sophomore year.
I was lost as hell. I knew not a single person at my new high school. I had to start over, I was going through an identity crisis with who I thought I was and the friends I had, to who I was forced to become overnight and the lack of support I found myself without as I chose at fourteen years old to live a “better” life in a new town with my much older brother and his family.
These three were my beacons of light and I instantly felt at “home” with each.
I met Amber our freshman year and she is literally like a big ray of sunshine that oozes warmth when you’re around her. She introduced me to Lauren and Sarah and from that point on the rest is history you could say.
Amber and I spent summers infused with hearty, gut busting, from your toes laughter and her parents welcomed me in with open arms. You could always find the best hospitality, food, drink and laughter at Dave and Kim’s house. Amber is my soft place to land. You are guaranteed to get a smile, laughter and gentle warmth inside your soul when around her. That is why I love her so much; she extends the love inside of her to everyone she meets and we are all softer, kinder beings for crossing in her path.
Lauren and Sarah are fraternal twins. I met the quiet Sarah first our freshman year and the next year outspoken Lauren joined our high school and bam – the twins! Twins by blood, opposite by nature.
Sarah can be quiet and reserved, as Lauren usually did the talking for them both. When I got to know Lauren I vividly recall how outspoken she was and never let anyone walk all over her like I felt I was allowing from others in my life at that time. I longed to have her brash and I know that is why I clung to her for so many reasons.
I think she could sense the heartache I was going through with my family at the time, and although she doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, she stood up for me in her own way by taking me in and just being there.
Sarah is kind and her heart is deep with love and devotion. She would walk to the moon and back for someone she cares about and when I saw that extended to children, animals and myself I couldn’t help but feel like God really does give you everything you need, even it is not in the package you think it should be in.
The unconditional love didn’t stop with just Lauren and Sarah. Their mom, Marie and their entire family took me in as if I was their own.
I spent holidays, celebrations and birthday parties with them and even lived with them at times, as I chose to be surrounded by their love rather than the pain and confusion I was feeling at home.
Summer nights in high school were spent at their house where Amber, Lauren and myself would sleep in the same bed and wake up the next morning to Mama Marie cooking breakfast (and sometimes Marie walking into the room and the stench of our “Dutch Oven”) hahahahaha!
Gratitude, heartfelt thanks, none of those words could do justice to what these ladies and their family did for me in my life and truly helped shape me to the woman I am today.
They saved me from the depths of what I could have spiraled into and showed me a love I know came from the Divine.
Thank you, thank you sweet family for my heart has your love and kindness eternally etched upon it.
All four of us together have seen it all: first love breakups, makeups (and breakups again), senior trips, watching Sarah endure a life-threatening accident and be there day in and day out in her miraculous recovery, moving away to college and seeing off your best friend at the airport and turning and walking away with tears in your eyes, losing family members, marriage, moving across the country, trips to see each other, cheating boyfriends, divorce, children…all the messy, but even more all the yummy as well.
In fall of 2011 we all four took a ladies trip to Boston and Cape Cod.
It was a hell of a trip for me to make happen for myself. The first time I would be leaving my almost one year old at the time, leaving my husband the brunt duties of Mr. Mom and taking care of my father with dementia, and not to mention I wasn’t sure if I would be granted that vacation time at work.
But, it all came together and it happened.
I thank God it did because I was reminded of how in love and in awe of these three women I am, and even more so I was reminded of the gratitude I silently carry within my heart for who they are as individuals and who they are in this world, especially my world.
Rock Star Sisters…
Do you remember that friend you had when you were a little kid who you climbed trees with and dreamed upon dreams?
I can honestly say Jenny K. is that friend where I can remember climbing trees with as kids and dreaming the highest dreams with as we grew older.
We wanted to be famous (I’m pretty damn sure if that came knockin’ on our door right now we would say “hell yes” in a much broader vision then we had in our youth of course).
We literally grew up together. We would have sleep overs and stay up really late watching “Jerry Springer” while yelling at the television because of the guests he had on.
We would collect chap sticks and sneak off to K-Mart when we weren’t supposed to. Thinking about it now, I’m almost moved to start a damn band with her (even though I can’t carry a tune) because I have always felt like I can be my most badass, rock star, out-of-the-box self with Jenny K.
As we grew older and distance was between us, we would actually write letters to each other. They were filled with the spiritual journey’s we were embarking on individually and they were lined with our biggest, boldest, brightest hopes and dreams of our future.
I always felt like she “got” me and even more so, she had been witness to all of the ups and downs I had faced with my family. She knew it and seen it all and for me you can never take that away, or recreate that.
Jenny K. represents what girls, young ladies and women today should strive to be: REAL, AUTHENTIC & UNPRETENTIOUS.
I’d have to say one of the largest reasons I love her so much is her ability to be completely in the moment with you; in today’s world that is rare. She also has a child-like wonderment about her which is why I gravitate to her so much. She doesn’t take life too seriously and can laugh at herself with the most infectious laughter.
I admire her ability to pursue her dreams (as changing as they are for us both) and to continuously rock out in style no matter what she is doing.
Cheers to you my funny, bold, curious, rock star sister – you’ve amazed me since we were kids and you continue to amaze me to this day! I love you so much and could not be more grateful for our friendship.
It’s just another Manic Monday…
Reunited and it feels so gooooooood!
That’s the song we’ve been singing to each other since reconnecting almost ten years ago, after knowing each other since middle school.
We met again at Texas Roadhouse as we were both servers getting through school and we’ve been partners in crime ever since.
We’re the type of friends that could annoy some by finishing each other’s sentences and having those inside jokes and words and phrases which we laugh hysterically to.
Sometimes all we have to do is look at each other and we both start crackin’ up and a word doesn’t have to be spoken. Just a look and we know the thought.
Charmayne’s been through a wild ten years with me from breakups, new relationships, more breakups and makeups, crazy wild nights, a move to Denver and back, career changes, new business ventures, marriage and a child.
For a time we would do Manic Monday’s and would drink some beer, eat some shitty food, laugh and talk our ass’s off all night long. I highly recommend this to all friends out there.
You wanna know why I love the hell out of this girl so much?! She’s just as goofy as I am (I like to refer to her as DonkeyLips and she calls me Sweet, Sister Mary Francis McGee- goofy enough for ya)?!
Beyond that, I admire her tenacity and laser like focus when it comes to her goals and life. I love those with tenacity and grit and strength and she personifies all qualities to the max.
But, what I love even more about Charmayne is this: her devotion, commitment and love to her family and friends.
She spent day after day with her cancer stricken sister as she donated her own bone marrow to save her sister’s life, took her nieces and nephews in as her own on top of being a wife and mother to her own two children. She is the ultimate mama bear. And selfishly, I know she would knock a bitch out for me- hahahaha!
That’s my Donkeylips — I pray I can be half as devoted to others as you have been to those around you. Thank you for you.
To the NEW:
Sara, Andrea, Aimee: I didn’t know my heart could grow with more love from new friendships, but that was proven to be false the day I met each of you; you are now a part of my heart space.
I couldn’t thank you enough for growing my heart each day with your laughter, love, kindness, support, strength and you just being you. I’m even more grateful you allowed me to be a part of your journey, as you have held me up in my new journey in life.
You have shared not only yourself with me, but your family as well and I cherish each of you and the space you hold within me. I shall love, honor, protect and nurture that heart space as our friendship grows, for one day you will be “the old” because my heart doesn’t let just anybody in.
What does friendship mean to you?
I have shared with you my best and brightest examples of pure love.
Each of these women have molded me into who I am today and I would be nowhere in my life if it wasn’t for each of you. You each saved me at a time in my life and added character and growth to my journey.
This letter of love is for you and what I feel in my heart each day for you, but fail at times to speak so eloquently or show you just how big and bright of a star you are in my life and my heart.
Thank you my soul sisters, thank you.
Love + Soul-Sister-Flotation-Devices,