Four weeks ago, on Friday of Labor Day weekend, I rolled up to my family’s cottage expecting to meet a locksmith. Instead, I met four dear friends of mine; four (of six) girls from college who have seen me at my very worst and love me anyway. Girls who celebrated with me on my wedding day. When we moved, I stumbled across a pile of inside jokes from college: I unwrapped a wine glass with a note that said “because it has a blue bottom and it looks like a farmer”. I have absolutely no clue what this means anymore, but Autumn gave it to me junior year at our unit dinner and I decided to keep it. I found a card of dad jokes from Kate and Grace that cheered me up during Media Law and Ethics AKA a chapter from Dante’s Inferno (where my Comm friends at?). I found the journal that my roommate gave me when I got engaged. She scribbled poetry in the front cover for me. Over the course of four years, we had two fish funerals, seven million trips to McConn Coffee, and countless heart to hearts. We knew each other pre-baby, pre-husband, pre-move across the world. We know the ins and outs of each other’s lives. We know the twenty year olds who had big dreams, who worried about jobs, who wanted to become moms, who wanted to change the world.
Their friendships have become pillars in my life. And over a year ago, my amazing aunt reached out to them and orchestrated a brilliant plan to surprise me for my 30th birthday. They spent the course of the year blocking me from tracking their phones – one by one. Yes, we track each other. Judge not, that ye be not judged. In the weeks leading up to the weekend, when I was interviewing for a job at a local boutique, Autumn called the business and told the owner that I couldn’t start Labor Day weekend as I originally promised. “If she wasn’t cool with that, you don’t want to work there anyway,” she later told me. People, these girls went all out.
There’s something to be said about a weekend with your girls. I texted Patrick twenty-four hours in. He was holding down the fort forty minutes north – sick with a cold and chasing Maddox around our shoebox apartment. “This weekend is giving me life,” I said. It was. We sat on the deck. We took turns holding the newest baby of the crew. We stood at the counter and watched Autumn make us every recipe from Magnolia Table. We walked through The Found Cottage Mercantile Market and only left with gourmet s’mores.
It’s rare to find solid friendships. So let me say this so the people in the back can hear: book the stinkin’ weekend. Stop with the excuses. There will always be reasons not to go. There will always be obstacles causing ripples in your plans: soccer practices, board meetings, family gatherings. You name it. Your husband can handle the kids (personally – mine is a better parent than me anyway). The pile of laundry can wait. Jobs come and go. Friendships – solid, loving, honest, raw friendships last. And they deserve your attention. Fly off to Magnolia or meet halfway at the Holiday Inn in Rockford, Illinois. Go to a play in New York or find the most obnoxious, tacky antique store that’s within driving distance to the furthest person in your clan. Love your people well.