When I was a little girl living in Mountain Home, Idaho, I had a little girlfriend named Angelica. She was Native American and her mom still followed many of the customs of her tribe. Other than that I have no memory of her. I have only a grainy picture or two of us out on the grass or the driveway layered in jackets to and scarves to protect us from the cold—next to a 1979 Ford Pinto. My mom said that when we moved to California, I was very sad to have lost her. I’m sorry we never kept in touch. I don’t know what she looks like or where she lives or what ever happend to her. But she was my first friend. And I will always remember her because of that. Over the next few years after that, I continued to develop short bursts of friendships that lasted only as long as I lived where I lived. I remember two sisters named Jessica and something else who I played She-ra with and who taught me how to call for the time on the telephone. I remember Devin from Kindergarten who lived in a huge house on Euclid Avenue and had a brother who loved Michael Jackson. I remember a friend with two different colored eyes in my third grade class at Valencia Elementary. And then I met Erika. After I had moved to Fontana with my mom’s new husband, I met her. She was my best friend through sixth grade. I’ve written about her before, so some may know her story. All my other freinds from that time period pale in comparison to my memories of her. But all of that seemed to change after I moved to Rancho Cucamonga. Moving during the sixth grade is a tough time for an adolecent. The girls at Carnelian Elementary were mean to me, no one understood me or appreciated me again like that until high school. And through the drama and emotions of high school, my friendships grew and fell apart with various girls, save just a couple who endured until now—I remember Melanie, Bekah, Jessica, Kelly, Lisa, and Laurel the most. They took turns being some of my closest friends during those years.
Now everyone the told me that the friends I made in college would be the ones that would last my lifetime. That isn’t really the case for me. I made many friends in college and I only keep in contact with a couple—and even those are seldom. Brianne would be the only good freind I made in college, but really I developed my freindship with her at work. We waited tables together at Dalton’s Roadhouse even though we technically met eachother before a chemistry class when I bummed a cigarette off of her. But and I have been friends since and I think we are coming on to a 10 year anniversary here soon.
And so this leads me to a point here, as long winded as my introduction may be. For the longest time over the last 9 years, Brianne and my two good friends from high school Lisa and Bekah have been the only real friends I have had. And for being such real friends, there is no way we have spent as much time together as we should have. Much of it has been my fault because up until a little over a year ago—I have put my boyfriends first in my life. When I dated Matt Rybak in my earlier college years, I spent most of my time with him and his friends. Then when I met Mike, I switched the free time to him. So through that relationship, I developed casual relationships with his friends while maintaining just enough contact with my three good friends to keep those alive. Such a pathetic friend I was. And so needless to say, when my relationship with Mike proved to be over, I knew I would have to approach my life differently and I prayed to God for help in the process. Much was a part of this makeover. And my friendships were just one of the many changes.
Well the Lord answers prayers so wonderfully. It has been one year now since Mike and I have broken up and I have made and nurtured and developed some amazing friendships! So me are on fire and I have some more in the earlystages still, but I want to pay tribute to God of course, but also to the wonderful ladies in my life.
First, there is always Lisa. She and I have been through so much together in our lives, and while she lives in Upland with her own family, I think of her often and love her dearly. She inspires me with her intense passion for her husband, her ability to work ridiculously hard to contribute to the family income, and her judgment free respect for me even when I haven’t deserved it. She knows the girl inside me who I have tried to forget for years. She loves that girl. And she loves me. How could I ever be so blessed to have a friend like her?
Then there is Bekah. Another friend from school and someone I respect and love greatly. She gets classier and classier as she gets older. She can do 5 things at once, look gorgeous as she does it, and has endured some of the biggest trials motherhood could have. She is sensitive like me and I understand for it, as she does me. I feel safe when I am in her home and I know without a doubt that she will one of my closest friends for the rest of my life.
Of course there is Brianne. She knows some of my biggest weaknesses and loves me anyway. She has not been afraid to call me on my selfishness when I have definitely deserved it, and has taught me how to be a better woman. She has been a model of how to be single and confident and loving. And when she met the love of her life, I couldn’t have been happier for her.
Now I have my friend Kelley—a woman who showed me Christ’s love one day with a Starbucks and check to help me out during a really financially hard time for me. A woman who invited me to church with her one day. And a woman who helped lead me back to God. She will earn a beautiful crown in heaven for her selflessness. She is my friend and a mentor. She is a model of a the kind of mother and wife I hope to be one day.
Then there is Lael. She came into my life through the internet. How odd to make a friend in an online education class last year and find out that not only is she my age, is an English teacher, and has the exact same personality as me, but she also was seeking a relationship with Jesus and rekindled her relationship with him at the same time I was rekindling mine. And she also had to end a relationship that was not giving glory to her Lord. Since then we see each other often and I don’t know how I could have made it though the last year without her ear and her understanding.
Finally, there is my other Kelley. What a suprise to meet such an amazing woman across the street from me. She is strong, passionate, artistic, and caring. She too is a Christian. She too has a 2-year-old toddler. And she too has a colorful past. She teaches me about painting, motherhood, and the continued quest of women to better themselves. I am so thankful to have her in my life.
I have so many other girlfriends who I am getting to know and hope to know more and to spend more time with, honestly, you wouldn’t be on this list if I didn’t want to spend more time with you and write a tribute to you as well–friends from work like Bethany, Colleen, Merideth, Chandra, Nancy, Sheryl, Freda, and Rachel. Friends from church like Jenn, Julie, Claire, and Amy. All such amazing women and all who I am equally thankful to know even if we don’t spend a lot of time with eachother.