13 going on 30. No, really.

I often hear people talk about their best friends from childhood. The friends they remain close to this very day. Friends they played with in the kiddie pool and drank Kool-Aid with in the backyard. The girls they bunked with at summer camp and then counseled with at the same camp years later. Best friends they had double and triple sleep over nights with in the summers. Girlfriends who were sworn to secrecy every time a new crush was formed. You know the friends I’m talking about. The friendship bracelet kind of friends.

Quite honestly, in the least Debbie Downer way possible, I don’t really know what that’s like.

I always hear tale of best friends from college who manage to still talk on a weekly basis. Girls who saw you cry over bad grades and bad days, broke into your dorm room to prank you, and played nurse when you were too sick to go to class. The roommates and classmates you spent every waking moment with and then wound up in their weddings and the Godmother to their first-born.

Quite honestly, in the least Debbie Downer way possible, I don’t really know what that’s like.

It’s just the way it is for me. No need for a pity party. I don’t sweat it, really.

Let me try to explain an otherwise awkward post. Believe me when I say, I am truly grateful for every friendship from childhood to present. I’m just not the person who maintains all those friendships from decades ago. I still talk to friends, but it’s not like in the movies or anything. I’m not traversing the country to visit old friends, meeting up on a weekly basis, or Skyping every other weekend. I don’t have those kinds of friendships. I’m not that kind of friend.

There is this one friend that I met 13 years ago who is still by my side as I enter the next decade of my life (I rounded up!).

Pardon the cliche, but I’ll never forget the day we met. The minute I heard her laugh, I knew we’d be friends. Partly because she was laughing over something I, too, found hilarious albeit inappropriate (the subject matter was not inappropriate, it was just inappropriate to laugh at the time we laughed).

It’s odd that I remember so many details of that first day. Maybe that’s a lie. I actually remember minute details of when I met a lot of people (I just find that it creeps them out, so I tend to withhold this information). Sometimes I wish we could go back. Back to that very moment when we said, “Hi my name is” and smiled our brace-face smiles in our oh-so-trendy outfits.

If only I could tell those girls what they’d experience together.

Our friendship throughout high school was full of laughter, frustrations, crushes, homework, teacher troubles (we weren’t in trouble with teachers, but they caused our social lives a lot of trouble with homework loads), drama, and actual drama. We hit a rough patch toward the end of high school. Not due to Mean Girl clicks or rival gangs, it’s just this thing that happened.

“The thing” is different for every friendship. I can’t tell you what it was in your friendship, but I can tell you that for us, it was tough. Like all things, it started out fine and dandy, but in the end resulted in numerous problems.

I remember thinking, “this is it, we’ll never be friends again. I’m going to lose her.”

Fear of said loss is what pushed me to make an agonizingly hard choice to speak up and speak out about what happened to us; to actually mention “the thing.” Since I believe in honesty, I should tell you I didn’t actually speak up and speak out in a literal sense. I penned my thoughts on Anne Gedes stationary (yikes, I’m old).

As hard as it was, I’m so glad I did. And I’m so glad she opened the letter.

We lost touch for a couple of years, due in part to “the thing.” By Sophomore year of college, we picked up where we left off. Studying at different colleges, majoring in entirely opposite fields, we found our way back to the friendship we knew and loved. It was a process that required time and some face-to-face conversations about “the thing.” I remember talking about it once. Or maybe twice. It was not as difficult to discuss as I imagined. There was a time when I dreaded bringing it up for fear we’d lose each other again.

We didn’t. 13 years of friendship and we’re still friends. Actual friends, not just on Facebook. When I see her posts and Instagram’s, I am fairly aware of what’s going on in her life. We aren’t glued at the hip. We don’t talk every single day.

The days we do talk, actually we mainly text, it’s over the random, ridiculous, and realistic. The random gossip we hear from high school to celebrities. The ridiculous stories from our own lives. The realistic hardships we face.

A week ago (July 29) I needed some advice. I typed out a long text, hit send, and waited for her response. It came; quickly and thoughtfully. Sincerity and concern rang out in her words. I apologized for texting and not calling (my reasoning for texting: she now has a child and I never know her actual availability. And let’s be honest, talking to someone who has a kid is tough — baby crying in the background, mom talking to baby in the background, etc.). Anyway, she told me not to worry about it, that a text was fine.

She gave me input, thoroughly read my texts, replied honestly, and posed questions I needed to work out.

Admittedly she told me she did not have all the answers, but she would earnestly pray for clarity for me regarding the situation.

It was in that moment I read those words, that I knew this friend of 13 years is going on 30 with me. We began our friendship in a decade of self-discovery and rebellion, carried it into our decade of “grown up” life and reality, and will bring it with us into the next decade – whatever our 30’s throw our way.

I think that makes finishing out my twenties less scary, because I know that this friend will be there.

13 going on 30. We can handle that.


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