|Photo on the right captured by my mom from across the room.|
|Credit: Dmitri & Sandra Photography|
Once upon a time in 1997, my friend Jen had a sleepover for her 13th birthday. Somewhere between the afternoon drop-off and midnight, the eighth grade powers that be (ahem... drama, teasing, gossip, and the like) cast a spell over the evening and left one guest standing. Me. We can no longer remember the specifics, but we recall that Jen ended up crying in the bathroom and then told her parents that she wanted "everyone to go home except Lindsay." We spent that night watching TV, dancing, and talking. (It is possible we prank called a cute boy or two, too. I wouldn't put it past us.)
That night has carried a lot of meaning for us during the last 18 years. We've laughed about it, told the story to others about a million times, and kind of worn it as a badge of honor about our friendship. In the years since then, we've experienced a lot.
We navigated the scary waters of middle school.
We sang in choir together.
We thought we were going to die when we realized we were going to different high schools.
We talked about all the hot Eastlake boys who lived in her neighborhood but went to my school.
We had "photo shoots" at my house.
We cried and hugged after her mom passed away.
We did it again when my boyfriend passed away four months later.
We broke rules.
We went off to college.
We struggled to figure out who we were in our own ways which pulled us apart, and then together, and then apart and together again. (This happened again over about seven years.)
We jammed out to Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne.
We went out for coffee and tea a lot.
We gabbed about girly fiction.
We let ourselves drift apart for a little while (subconsciously but purposefully, I think).
We grew and changed.
We made our way back to our old friendship as our new selves and worked on it.
We celebrated life changes and successes.
We keep it really real with each other (and laugh a lot).
Flash forward to last month. I was by her side in Maui as she prepared to get married. We don't get to see each other that often anymore, so our sarcastic silliness was in overdrive, and it was so much fun. Had we taken a minute to look around the room every once in awhile, we probably would have noticed funny looks and bugged out eyes -- and maybe plugged ears, because girls will be girls and #shuttheheckup. ;)
After the rehearsal dinner, her then-fiancé told her that he loved me, because he had never seen anyone put her in her place before. The last time he saw me was at a large gathering back in December 2013, so he hadn't truly seen me one-on-one with Jen until the rehearsal dinner. And, man, was he in for a treat. Jen may be outgoing and constantly yankin' everyone's chain, but this sister can dish it too! 20 years of friendship will do that to you. We're not afraid to tease each other, call each other out, and rap the bridge in Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody" (my favorite music video my freshman year of high school, in case you needed to know).
He's right. I'm not afraid to put her in her place, and she's not afraid to put me in mine. We have worked really hard to rebuild trust that was broken, and we've shared forgiveness in a way that can move mountains. In 20 years, we have fought really hard, but we love even harder. Generally speaking, I'm OK with friends that drift. There is something to learn from all friendships, lasting and temporary. But when there is a friendship worth grasping and mending, you put in the work.
Cheers to another 20, 40, 60 years of impromptu photo shoots, emoji/hashtag conversations, putting each other in our places, and being the silly 11-year-olds that met in 1995. May everyone know how wonderful it is to have a friendship worth fighting for.
A quotable wedding day moment:
Jen started getting emotional about all the wedding excitement and family and missing her mom and being in love. She didn't want to mess up her make-up, so she turned to me and said,
"Quick! Say something mean."
"You're an asshole."
I've got your back, girl.