Krista’s note: I wrote this post on my birthday and then the video I was going to include with the post was rejected for copyright violation and I was tired and frustrated so I decided to call it quits because your birthday is the absolutely last day you should feel frustrated! But after stuff that’s been going on over the last week, I sure could use a jolt of HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY and this post is all that and a comedy show! So here you go… 42 days late!
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Well. Maybe it’s a little self-promotional or tacky to say this but today is my birthday. And if you know me, I love my birthday. In fact, a little girl recently asked Charisse what the next holiday after Easter is and Charisse replied with “My sister’s birthday!” The little girl said “That’s not a holiday!” and Charisse told her “Well, it should be a national holiday.” My work here is done.
In all seriousness, I do love my birthday. And it seems like some of my favorite books come out this time of year which just makes me so very happy. One of my friends texted me today and asked me “Did you buy Shankle’s new book?” I don’t know what about this text is better, the fact that she knows my reading tastes (already read and loved the book!) or the fact that she referred to BigMama as “Shankle.”
I did read Melanie Shankle aka BigMama’s new book, Nobody’s Cuter Than You. And I seriously loved it. I’ve loved all of her books, but perhaps this one felt the most relevant to me because her first two books are about parenthood and marriage, things I’m not in the thick of just yet.
Friends, though. I’m in the thick of it.
BigMama (after knowing her as BigMama for so many years from her blog, I cannot bring myself to call her Melanie… but I might be able to called her Shankle! I should write about the time I had a dream that I was speaking at a big event where Melanie and Angie Smith and Jen Hatmaker were all speaking and I was running late so those three ladies were whispering to me to hurry up and get my butt in the seat they had saved for me — but that would be so creepy to admit to people!) writes all about friendships, from as early as she can remember until today. And I just felt so weepy and emotional reading the book because my middle names are Nostalgia and Reflection.
I have the deepest kind of love for My People. Maybe it’s because I moved so much as a kid and therefore the relationships I have today are so longed for and prayed for and fought for and sought after, but those pals are the ones I get to do this life with and sometimes I’m just dumbstruck with how much I like them and how much they enrich my life. I mean, can a girl get so lucky?
(This is where the movie of my life would start playing some super-sappy orchestra music. I’m feeling the violins and and maybe a cello for extra bass.)
Old friends and newer friends… I’m not lacking. I was at a barbeque for Memorial Day (in case you haven’t realized, I’m all caught up and have added stuff to my “Hey it’s my birthday” post) with a group of people who are really close-knit and I loved watching them interact. They all know each other so well and open each other’s ‘fridges and know where the wine glasses are and keep their children in line and pet sit sometimes and camp together and know all of the stories, the grief and the inside jokes, and I thought about how much I love that about them.
And then I realized — I’m so full of that, too. God has so graciously given me more close friends than I could ever imagine and we have all of these connections that make it impossible to sever us completely. Even time and space can’t break those bonds when they’re strong enough. When grandparents die and babies are born and weddings happen and frustrations occur and jokes are made these are the women to whom I turn. They laugh with and at me. They call me out on my junk and they pray for me. The send me funny videos and sing me happy birthday and give me book recommendations and watch movies with me even though I’m a terrible person to watch movies with because I talk half the time. They’re the ones who know all my stories that begin “One time I went to Vegas…” or “When I was in college…” I’m here to say that any story that starts this way usually ends in a way that is cringe-worthy! We have serious talks and we have jovial talks and it’s all so, so sweet and good. Bearing each other’s burdens and sharing in each other’s joys is one of the greatest gifts this side of eternity, if you ask me. And this is my blog, so you’re asking me.
That is what friendship is. It’s wrestling with your friend’s kid on the floor of Target while she’s in a fitting room. It’s crying with your friend when her marriage is struggling or when she’s struggling to have a baby. It’s laughing so hard your wheezing laughter comes out. Friendship is group texts that would baffle the unknowing reader. It’s flights to Missouri and 16-hour drives to Idaho. It’s maybe throwing up in a parking lot on your way home from a party and watching Celine Dion documentaries at an over-priced movie theater (and driving to LA and Vegas for one night to see her). It’s holidays with their families, who might as well be your own. It’s letting their daughter call you her California Mom. It’s talking about churches and laughing so hard you cry every time you’re together. Friendship is late-night conversations whispered in doorways, prayers said in darkest of nights, meaningful gifts that only the best can give.
And I am nothing but honest when I say God gave me the best.
I laugh with these girls and I see the safety in their eyes and I know God has given me a great buoy to hold onto on this Earth, people who just point me right back to Him. Every single day I have opportunities to learn to be a better person, to practice grace and mercy and to celebrate and rejoice and to live real worship with other people.
Oh, Steph and Kim and Hillary and Rachel and Megan and Becca and Jess and Bre and Theresa and Lauren and Vanessa and all those I’ve forgot — for being part of my days, of my moments small and big, all I can say is this: you make these days so much greater than I could ever have dreamed.