I met up with some old friends last weekend.
These are ladies I met in college and a few of us even went to high school together.
That’s 28 PLUS years of friendship in those faces above.
We have been together through college final exams, boyfriend hookups and breakups, vacation shenanigans, weddings, the births of our children, my daughter’s cancer diagnosis, the death of a child, and now we are facing ailing parents together.
We may not always see 100% on everything at all times, but when the shit hits the fan, we are reliable and we are there.
Sometimes I dislike the faces in the photos above, but I love them all dearly.
Time budges us forward, pushing us whether we want to move or not.
It’s hard to keep friendships strong for this long.
And it’s something that must be done thoughtfully.
You must WANT to keep relationships vibrant and alive if you seek a future with people.
As I’ve written about before, my best and oldest friend Kelly lives 750 miles away from me.
But, we communicate weekly and visit one another often.
We WANT to keep our relationship strong.
We know it takes work and are willing to dig deep within ourselves to sustain the line that ties us together.
She went to college with the women in the group I saw last weekend, too.
She and I were roommates freshman year when we met most of these people.
But, she didn’t return sophomore year as she decided that college wasn’t her thing.
With 8 people in our group, I think we’ve done pretty good keeping in touch with everyone all of these years.
It does help that we all live in the same state.
And most of us lived together at some point AFTER college.
Chicago is the home base for Laura, Sue and Heather, with a few peeps ( T and Siobhan) living in the northern suburbs.
T and Siobhan actually live in the same suburb and their kids (3 each!) go to the same school.
Krista calls Omaha home, and I live three hours south of Chicago on a farm.
One college pal, Rosaleen, lives very far away, but we all still see her as much as we can.
Ireland is an ocean away, but her mom still lives in Chicago and many of us have traveled to the Emerald Isle to visit her and her brood of 5 kids (I am coming someday Rose!).
Friendships this old aren’t perfect by any means.
I can’t stress this enough!
I get angry with them.
They become equally pissed with me.
Some of us are closer with one another than others.
We have shared intimate things with only certain people and yes, there are secrets amongst us.
I get annoyed with them.
Like when I send an email and get zero responses from the group.
Yet, others do the same thing and there’s a litany of responses within 4 minutes time.
Women are catty.
And this group is no different from any other female grouping.
But, there’s something there that keeps us together.
Even if I roll my eyes as I’m complaining to my husband about so-and-so, there’s history.
There’s a deep knowledge that these old friendships will continue to renew themselves.
When I returned from my weekend with the ladies (someone dubbed the three-day event as Roomiepalooza), my dad popped over with some hostas.
His neighbor Larry was dividing his plants and my dad brought three bunches over.
We looked around for a shady spot to transplant them and I remembered how my grandmother had ferns growing under the dining room window when I was growing up.
Ferns and hostas thrive in shade and so my dad started digging.
He dug up bricks as he created four holes along the floor of the used area of earth.
“A porch used to be here” he said.
More holes, more crumbling bricks.
With one shovel full of dirt he unearthed a small treasure.
Hidden in the brown soil was a juice glass.
Entirely filled with dirt, a worm, and some spindly green weeds.
I cleaned it out (that’s when I found the worm) and it was perfectly intact.
Not a chip or a crack anywhere.
“Must have fallen off of the porch at some point” my dad said.
We laughed and he noticed that he didn’t recognize the pattern on the glass.
It has green leaves and a small green dot where, upon very close inspection, you can see very pale white flower petals surrounding the green dots. A petite flowered juice glass was literally unearthed on Monday.
It may be before my father’s time in this house.
His great-uncle lived here and this juice glass may be his.
I took it into the kitchen after I carefully extracted the contents outside.
I scrubbed it and rinsed it and poured some Aldi orange juice into it.
It’s in my kitchen cabinet now.
Ready to renew its job as a morning vessel for Vitamin C.
It’s old and it’s still useful.
It has been revived.
Which is what happens when my girlfriends and I get together.
We renew our friendships.
We revive the relationships that we all need.
We laugh until we cry (or pee!)
We become uncomplicated ears and hearts for those in the group that need it.
Roles shift and we all become busy in our own personal day-to-day routines.
But, when we dig down real deep…
We remember that we are useful to one another.