To My Lady Friends: The Promises I Can Keep

Flickr / Emily Chhin
Flickr / Emily Chhin

We used to scribble them in heavy yearbooks. We wrote elongated promises of endless summers and forever friendships, all laced with the hopeful assurance that we’d never change.

And, of course, we were lying.

It didn’t take long for college or the military or careers or life to push us forward, constantly shaping our personalities and beliefs and responsibilities and priorities. With post-high school or post-college life came important meetings and life-changing relationships and exciting cross country moves. We fell in love and received raises and started families and finished grad school classes.

We’re told that adulthood is all about focusing on responsibilities; our stressful careers or our romantic relationships or our thriving children being of the utmost importance. But our friendships, especially with women, are just as deserving of our attention.

After all, my incredible friend, you were there when the jobs sucked and the relationships were definitely lacking and the children weren’t even a figment of our imagination.

And while I can’t promise that I won’t continue to change, or that carefree summers will ever be in our future again, I can promise you that I will remain a pivotal part of your life, for as long as you’ll have me.

I can promise that even with babies and boyfriends and husbands and careers and car payments and house purchases, I’ll be there; expanding the lines of an exhausted and carefully color coordinated calendar, making room for you.

I can promise that even though our life choices may differ, the choice I consciously make to be a consistent part of your life will remain the same. If you’re excited to get married but I’m hesitant or unbelieving of the very concept, that won’t change the fact that I’ll stand by your side and dance my probably drunken ass off at the reception. If you decide to end your career to stay home with your children, know that I’ll be just as excited for you as if you received a promotion.

I promise that my love for you is not contingent on perfectly paralleled decisions.

I love for you all your complexities and beliefs and preferences, even if I don’t completely understand or agree with them.

I can promise that I will celebrate your momentous life accomplishments as if they were my own. If you land a killer job or score an impressive raise or welcome a brand new baby or say yes to an extremely lucky man, I will scream it from the social media mountaintops and help plan extravagant parties in your honor. Your success does not impede my own, but actually increases my chances of experiencing something similar.

I promise that your happiness feeds into my happiness. When you’re smiling and excited and wide-eyed about your future, I feel just as smiley and excited and wide-eyed for you.

I love you for pushing me to be better with each incredible accomplishment you call your own.

I can promise that I will be there when life turns its inevitable, unforgiving head. If someone dies or you lose a job or a husband leaves or money become scarce, I will pick up a phone or hop in the car or spend the night or talk about how horrible the world is, for as long as you need. Conference calls can be rescheduled and bills can be paid via phone and dinners can be postponed, because even the largest of responsibilities are nothing compared to the pain in your voice and my need to ease it.

I promise that I’ll be there when the smiles fade and the celebrations die and the hopelessness ensues. Our friendship doesn’t rely on a steady stream of positivity, but something much deeper and meaningful instead.

I love you when you’re eyes are puffy from crying and you don’t believe that good people exist and getting out of bed seems like too much work.

I can promise that I’ll make time to check in on you. We might not see one another every day or even every month, but I’ll send the text messages and make the phone calls and let you know I’m thinking of you. I know it won’t be like when we were roommates in college and we saw one another every day, but it can be even better. It can be a conscious decision, a deliberate action and a loving commitment that we make to one another as life gets busy and messy and overwhelming.

I can promise that even though you may no longer be the headliner, you’re still a bright and bolded part of my life’s bill.

Because even though adulthood is exhausting and stressful, it’s also beautiful and free and boundless. While some of my high school, even college, friendships have vanished – along with my love for Taco Bell and boys with lip rings – newer, stronger and more supportive relationships with inspiring and courageous women, have emerged.

Women like you.

And despite the ease associated with naivety and youth, I’m glad. I’m glad that our silly notions of maturity gave way to the complicated realities we know today.

And I’m glad that I know myself well enough, thanks to stressful careers and romantic relationships and a thriving child, to make these promises.

I’m glad that we were lying back then, when we used to scribble in heavy yearbooks, because I know I’m not lying now. TC mark

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