As a teenager, having a best friend meant having someone to tell your secrets to. It meant having consistent plans on Friday nights, whether it be going to the high school football game or driving around aimlessly because your town was either too boring (or too hot) to do anything else. Having a best friend meant having someone in your corner when things got tough, having someone to cry with when you and your boyfriend broke up, and having a second family, including parents who knew you didn’t like watermelon and a sister you argued with like she was your own.
In college and young adulthood, a best friend became someone different. She became someone who helped talk through your life plans, someone who didn’t always know the answers, but was along for the ride anyway. She celebrated your 21st birthday and fed you ibuprofen and water before you fell asleep. She was someone who you watched fireworks from the roof with on the 4th of July and helped plan your wedding. She invited the girls over for movie night while the husbands played poker.
As a mom, a best friend is probably not just one person. She’s probably a tribe:
— She’s the one who offers to watch the baby for an hour while you take a shower and try to feel human weeks after birthing one.
— She’s the one who flies cross-country to meet your tiny babe and play auntie to your big kid.
— She’s the one who brings you food or makes it in your own house when you’re struggling with going from one to two tiny humans in your home.
— She’s the one who brings her kids over to play, then offers to organize your organization-less home for you – and does it.
— She’s the one who doesn’t hesitate to donate extra goods and money, and picks up some “great deals” at the second-hand kids’ store to help your other friend, someone she doesn’t even know, when tragedy strikes.
— She’s the one you sneak away with for a mom’s weekend, where you get just a little tipsy and watch a Hallmark Christmas movie in a bed you don’t have to share with ANYONE ELSE.
— She’s the one you agonize with over the big and small decisions about teachers, remote learning, when it will be safe for our kids to play together again.
— She’s the one who shows up big for your daughter’s makeshift birthday party car parade, making it one of the best birthdays anyone can remember, virus be damned.
— She’s the one you laugh and cry with about the crazy little people you call your kids because life, parenting, working, not working, all of it, can be so damn hard sometimes.
Especially right now, having these friends in your life makes life bearable. It’s hard for me to imagine getting through this crazy world we call “2020” without each of these people; the laughers, the criers, the organizers, the volunteers of time, skills, and love.
Taking a moment to celebrate these friends feels natural and necessary because we have to focus on the good in our lives before the crazy and uncertain takes over. September happens to be the perfect time to do that, because it’s International Women’s Friendship Month. Started by a sorority, Kappa Delta (of which I am an alumna), International Women’s Friendship Month is a way to celebrate the importance and strength of women’s friendships with each other. Celebrations can be big or small, in person or virtual, but most importantly, recognize the gift of a good woman friend. For ideas on how to celebrate the friends in your life during International Women’s Friendship Month, see Kappa Delta – IWFM.
Mamas, find your people. Hug them tight (when we can get closer than six feet). Celebrate them. Celebrate yourself. Celebrate the bond of friendship between you, in all its many forms and incarnations.