(Disclaimer: I have completely overused the word "friend" and "friendship" in this post, but there just isn't another word to describe it!)
These little girls, Kate and Anna Cate, are destined to be friends. Their mamas are friends and their grandmothers are friends.
When I say friends I mean those real friends who share life's joys and burdens with you. Molly and Sue have been girlfriends since my Mom had another life in Lexington, Kentucky, before my Daddy. Their friendship is their story, so I won't tell it all but I can tell you that I know how very, very dear Sue is to mom. Sue was the matron of honor in my parents wedding, came to both her parents' funeral. She always made me (and I'm sure Douglas) feel special, and has been the fun and loyal friend everyone needs, through thick and thin. Every time I ask Mom to color my hair, she always says, "Sue and I used to do each other's hair"....that type girlfriend.
Growing up, every summer Mom took Douglas and me to visit Sue and her family in Lexington, Kentucky. I enjoyed making a friend for myself, Whitney. And every Fall (or whenever the season), the Ellis family would come visit us. I looked through pictures today for a picture of Whitney and me little. And every album has some of our families together in it, just like every season of our lives, I know we've shared.
Whitney and I are born 2 weeks a part, and what began as a friendship built around playing in the pool in her grandparents' house and giggling past bedtime, or a teenage trip to New York City, has transformed itself into a shared journey of womanhood and motherhood. During our 20s, it was Whitney who inspired to me to run and train for my first 1/2 marathon, which we ran together, she shared her vast wisdom with me about healthy eating, motivating me to give up such preservatives as hydrogenated oils. After she joined the navy, I stood with her among a group of families in Norfolk, Va and saw her off to the middle East as her unit was deployed. She has always been brave, beautiful, ambitious, talented, wise and generous...just the type friend you want your whole life.
In December of 2004, she stood up with me as I married BJ and 6 months later, I enjoyed her special day as a bridesmaid in a beautiful Kentucky church and a fabulous weekend of celebrations! We continued to connect, but having children the same ages has given me a whole new appreciation for this friendship. Anna Cate is just three months older than Kate, and her baby, Jake, was born 20 days after Molly.
I wish I could truly find the words to describe how special it is to have such a friend and how happy I am for her and her family in the beautiful life she is creating. Sometimes words just don't do it, so you show your gratitude by schlepping your 4 month old baby, your 4 year old busybody, and your mom in an overpacked minivan for a long drive for a 24 hour stay, just for some fun in the sun.
We drove to Whitney's home in Louisville, and Sue drove over from Harrodsburg for a reunion of old friends and introductions for our babies, a time to reflect and see the friendship between Kate and Anna Cate bud a little more with each visit (only about twice a year).
And for Whitney's husband Ryan to grill a fabulous dinner for us:
And us to drink wine and chat,
For our girls to play, our babies to coo, and our moms can visit...
And our girls can giggle...I mean have a slumber party.
I wonder if it makes Sue and my mom as happy to see Whitney an me connect as young moms as it does for us to see our girls giggle. I am as happy to see Mom and Sue together as I am to see Anna Cate and Kate play, and to visit with my pal, Whitney.
Even Molly hanging out in Jake's swing knows life is good with friends.
This very valuable lesson in life I learned from watching my mom and her friends, like Sue. The layers of friendship between Whitney and my family have a special place in my heart, in my journey and for the path I am now leading my girls on. I'm willing to say that the value of having and being a good friend ranks right up there with saying please and thank you and brushing your teeth.
Thank you Mom and Sue for showing us your 40 years of frienship........ thank you Whitney for being such a kindred spirit.......I love watching you, Kate and Anna Cate (and one day Molly and Jake) as you join us in this blessed relationship.