I can talk your ear off, and I get it from my momma. I vividly remember my mom chatting away with her girlfriends nonstop. Every time we got in the car her phone would ring or she would call out and spend the entire drive discussing work, kids, plans, whatever. She had friends that knew all about her life, and she about theirs. Her friends' families vacationed with us, spent holidays alongside us, and often met our family at our favorite pizza place every Friday night. Their kids became more like our cousins than "just friends." I always thought, when I grow up... I'm totally going to have a gaggle of ladies to do life with "sisterhood of the traveling pants style". Adulting would be so fun locked arm and arm with my biffles.
Fast forward 20 years (holy crap! I've never been able to say that before in a story. I will be plucking all my gray hairs tonight) and insert social media, busy schedules, and my dang baggage. These are like road blocks keeping me from connecting with people around me. I kept myself closed off and convinced myself I wouldn't be so lucky to inherit mom friends. I literally would tell my husband "I don't have any friends" or "I'm pretty lonely" all the time because even though I knew lots of people, sometimes the circumstances I mentioned above can make me feel like I'm isolated on an island. (And no, not the good kind of isolated on an island where the kids can't reach you and you have a drink with a tiny umbrella in it).
Thanks to social media, nobody has to grab coffee. I don't need to catch up with anybody! It's easy to just never get together because I already know what they had for breakfast, think about the election, or even what their favorite color "says about their personality". Social media has become our mothers' car chitchat with her girlfriends... except we never even have to really interact with each other outside of a thumbs up. Half the people I interact with online on a regular basis literally pretend they have no idea who I am when we cross paths in real life anyway! Sure, walk right by me in Target but make sure you private message me all your mom questions when you get home, we're basically besties. #petty
Meanwhile, we're all starving for a group to call our own. For real life tangible ladies to binge watch shows with over ice cream or have girl's night at Chilis where we all talk a big game like we're going to party all night, only to call it quits after one round of 2 for 1 margaritas at 9 PM. All we desire is people that care to ask us how we've been. We want friends that show up at our house that we don't have the pressure to clean up for. Friends, to just journey alongside us when crap hits the fan and especially when it doesn't.
I used to think I was doomed to survive adulthood and mothering alone. Screwing it up all by myself with no one else who "got it". I believed the lie that I didn't have "my people" and I'd never get that girlfriend gaggle I watched my mom enjoy when I was a child.
Then, I opened my heart up. I reluctantly have allowed myself to become more and more vulnerable. I paid attention to those around me who saw me and let me see them. Let me tell you the fruits of intentionally seeking your people is worth it.
Just earlier today, I had a dear sweet friend standing next to me in a horrible Florida storm jump starting my car from her minivan as we laughed hysterically the whole way through (a situation that would normally have me in tears and so stressed out). Two weeks ago another minivan (yes guys, my tribe is a gangster mom crew referred to as "the minivan mamas"... and they are ruthless and run deep😉) pulled up and stole my son and toddler for a few hours so that I could be with my oldest all alone at her dress rehearsal, no questions asked. I've literally had a friend see a dress online and send it my way saying "that's totally you!" And guess what?! It was. And I bought it, and I get SO many compliments on it. I've circled around a coffee table with my girlfriends crying for each other's pains and then we've rejoiced together days later for fun milestones like home purchases or renovations. My phone chimes from text messages before I'm embarking on new scary things asking if I'm ready and offering encouragement. My friends feed my kids ridiculous amounts of food and set up slip-n-slides for them on a hot summer day.
It Takes One to know One
Sometimes life within your own four walls surrounded by a tiny army you created yourself can be isolating. Sitting behind a computer screen can mean your most exciting adult interaction is a "heart" on your latest status instead of just a "like". I've locked my own heart away after being hurt or stressed or felt betrayed in the past. If I'm not careful I push people away and hermit into my safe place. I sometimes complain that I have to do everything on my own, only to realize I turned down all the hands reaching out. I'm also guilty of thinking, "I wish I had all those friends like my mom did when she was raising me." Rule #1? Be a friend. It takes one to know one.
Don't forget to keep your eyes and heart open to the people who see you and make sure you see your people. Putting yourself out there in mom land can feel like middle school all over again. You're vulnerable and exposed at 2nd lunch holding your tray of food at your waist with your padded bra on, and your shiny lip gloss walking towards the table with the open seat. Praying they just let you in. I get it. But take it from me, who literally had to be chased into a bathroom stall the first time I interacted with someone who is now a dear friend. Rule #2? Risk it. Girlfriends are God's way of allowing us a walking confessional, a wise council, a partner in crime to blame it on... a true worthwhile gift.