When I was four, my family moved to a new house. There was a shiny swing set in the yard next to ours, which my brother and I immediately started clamoring over. A girl came out. Six. Dark hair, almost curly. Despite the fact that most children would be territorial, we all fell into play together.
She has been my best friend for 25 years.
I won’t go into detail about Amanda, because there are too many details and I couldn’t begin to do them justice. She is, quite simply, beautiful. Loving. Strong. Proud. Stubborn.
Relationships are like most things in life, they require work and sometimes things seem to fall more easily into place than other times.
Sometimes the things in your life seem so overwhelming that they obscure your vision. That happened to me when life became full of pink bundles in diapers. Right or wrong, I was overwhelmed. I was floundering. I was looking for strength that was necessary to get me through. I was looking for myself. But in all that searching and struggling, I lost sight of her. When she was looking around for someone to see that she was holding up crumbling walls, I was busy looking at someone else.
It’s like that email you get from time to time about the importance of female friends. But it’s true. And it was only when I looked up expecting the see that the world consisted of the same things it had three years prior that I realized I had maybe lost her.
I went to visit her this week. We talked and had dinner and got drunk and watched cheesy sitcoms. One day after lunch, we walked into a tattoo parlor and got tattoos. Her, because it’s time to take control of certain aspects of her life, and me because… well, for the same reason mostly.
There isn’t going to be any unreasonable guilt. There isn’t going to be any more self sacrifice or beating myself up for trivial things. I am a woman who is a role model for my children, and of course I take that job seriously. And I am a woman who has a responsibility to my husband to maintain our house so that he can clock 60 hours a week and so that I don’t have to. But, perhaps most importantly of all, I have an responsibility to myself and to the relationships in my life outside of this house to be able to remove myself sometimes.
The girls are both Geminis, as am I (which I love). But this is who I was before and this is who I will be after. And while I never doubt the indescribable joy and blessings that I have in my family, I exist outside of them, too.
And so this is my promise to them, to Amanda, to me that I will be stronger, and I will be better and that I will be there.