2013 has certainly been an interesting year, but I was blessed yesterday, at the very end of it, to be reunited with some of my closest friends and reminded of how special such a bond really is.
When I was accepted into UT Martin in 2008, I agreed to be roommate’s with a girl I’d gone to Governor’s School with the year before, simply because she is also a Christian and we both wanted to avoid situations like boyfriends trying to sleep over and drunken parties in the bathroom. It was almost purely a logical pairing, since neither of us knew the other hardly at all at that point.
Since then, that girl has become my best friend, my Person, my Goose, my closest sister, my maid of honor and (one of) the future “Aunties” of my children. We lived together all four years of college and have learned to both tolerate and anticipate each other’s annoying habits and quirks over time. I know that Goose is not going to take the trash out, no matter how high I let it pile up, and she knows that I’m not going to wash my share of the dishes until the sink is full and I feel like the job is worth it. But I also know it’s ok for me to borrow her hair straightener or her clothes, and she knows I’ll leave her part of whatever I cooked for dinner when I know she’s out studying and will get home in the middle of the night. She ultimately introduced me to (and helped me Facebook stalk) the Mister. I always wanted a sister, or at least a friend that was comfortable enough in my house to move about as she pleased, get her own snacks from the fridge and call my parents “mom” and “dad.” I finally have one, and the feeling is good.
We somehow managed to pick up four other young women over that first summer, and the six of us lived in one big dorm suite on campus for two years, adding two new freshmen during the second. The eight of us are known to each other and a few outsiders as “The 4D Girls,” since that’s where we lived and learned and learned to love each other. (The ladies in the cafeteria actually came to recognize us as a unit and would ask when people were missing.)
We eventually left suite 4D, two becoming resident’s assistants and living in designated dorm rooms and five eventually moving off campus to more grown-up apartments nearby. One stayed and made new 4D friends, but the feeling was never quite the same.
Yesterday I was able to spend the afternoon with four of them, making it the largest group of us that have all been in the same room since my wedding. People often say that best friends can pick up right where they left off and keep going after a long separation, but I want to alter that somewhat.
Even with as close as we are, we can’t just pick up and keep going without pause. We’re not the same people we were back on campus, or even at graduation. We started off students, not completely sure of where we were going or who we were going to turn out to be. Now, three of us are married and one is getting married this coming August. Three have full-time jobs, two are in graduate school and one is headed that way. One of us is even a mother with a seven-month-old son. We live all across the south, from Kansas to Texas, across middle Tennessee and down into Mississippi. And then of course there’s me, floating out in the ocean.
So we can’t just pick up without pause, but we can fill in the gaps and keep going, marveling along the way about how in the world we ever got to be adults. I am grateful beyond words for these girls and their families, their quirks and their dreams, and all the ways they have all helped me into adulthood and taught me to be the person I am today.