I have a confession to make:

In one area of my life, I am a snob… a conceited, arrogant, stuck-up, snotface.

The area? My girlfriends.

They are the best… the BEST. I would enter them in a friendship contest any day, any time.

Now, I have friends in many facets, from my phases of my life, and I love them all, but for this one, I am going to focus on a little core group of them. They are… The Mommy Friends.

I have written about them before. We met in 2008, and had we met each other online, in a park, in a birthing class, or anywhere else, things might have gone differently. But we met in a Moms’ group… with our kids in another room, over coffee and yummy treats, under the leadership of some pretty amazing people, and at the time, we all had at least one in diapers (some of us 2), and so, the time was ripe for us to connect at a deep level.. a sister level… a forever level.

Through the last years, we have seen each other through a laundry list of ups and downs… children in the hospital, children being born, husbands working major hours or traveling, husbands losing jobs, going back to work, quitting work, moving, leaving churches, family feuds, financial difficulty, broken bones, tragedy in our other friend circles, more children being born, big spiritual decisions, parental health issues, and on… and on…

One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was leave this particular circle behind when we moved, because even though since the 5th grade, I have always had friends, this was the first time ever I felt like I had My Own Group Of Life Friends, kind of like the show Friends, close and comfortable enough to strike a silly pose.

friends(We haven’t, but we so could…)

But they have made it ok for me, because we are in touch all the time… texting. Facebooking. Emailing. Quick little (usually ridiculous) videos. When we can steal some quiet minutes, talking. A few of them have even come here just to visit me. And they are people I will always visit. Even though life moves on… they have filled in their circle and I have started some new ones, there is always us, a touchstone. It hurts sometimes to miss out on the day-to-day stuff… homeschooling together, double dates with husbands, 40th birthdays, kids’ birthdays, book club meetings, meal-deliveries when one is down, hugs and coffee and chocolate on particularly crazy days… I know that this circle is intertwined with my life. It will never leave.

Right now there are some specific reasons I would like to be close to them, even in the Chicago winter (I am also a snob about weather now, apparently). There are some hands I’d like to hold and some prayers I’d like to say in person and some Godly wisdom I’d love to receive in real-time. Even so, when I get a 4-screen amazing sermon-text from De, or a Facebook shout-out from Martha, or a “I am sitting outside Moo’s door again!” from MoJo, I feel close. Because we are close.

A thousand miles can’t break a friendship. It can make it harder… but it also makes it intentional. There is no laziness in this relationship. There is no longer any dropping-in or making last-minute plans or easy. And for me, the one who is far away, there is so often so much missed that can’t be made up, and sometimes even gut-reaction jealousy and then guilt over that feeling, because I’m the one who left. But what there is, always, is a rock-solid foundation, a touchstone, and it means that my voice can be heard in a whisper through all those miles by people – by sisters – who see my heart from that far way, who read between my lines and love between my faults. It means there are some sweet children who my children still talk about every day and consider their best friends, too. It means that when I feel alone or ignored or like an alien life in a new world (and honestly, sometimes, don’t have the heart it takes to forge a new connection), all I have to do is push a few buttons and be home.

And I love that about us. I love us.

then and now