I was never that girl who had a big group of girlfriends I belonged to. I played multiple sports year around in high school and would bond with my teammates for sure, but off the court or off the field I really only hung out with two girlfriends through high school, and those same two through college. The three of us together mostly hung out with groups of guys. That was just how it seemed to work for me.
I don’t like drama and I am terrible at confrontation so the idea of living in a house with a bunch of girls terrified me! Join a sorority? Are you kidding me?! I imagine a sorority being something like The Bachelor meets Hunger Games meets a beauty pageant. And I don’t even know how to put on make-up.
Okay, okay, so maybe it’s not that bad, I am sure there are amazing things about sororities. They just weren’t for me. But I understood the value in having girlfriends. Girls who knew you and understood you, and could do life with you. As women we need other women in our lives. It doesn’t have to be a whole bunch of ladies, but we need some. A couple at least.
After college I moved out of the state and got married. I left behind the two best girlfriends I had known. Today they are more like sisters. No matter how much time or distance there is between us, once we get back together we jump right in where we left off. But the reality is, there was going to be distance, there was going to be lots of time apart. So although those friends are great to have and they will always be my sisters, I needed a new community, a new group of friends. In a sense I was having to start over.
Fast forward 11 years and I am happy to say I have been blessed with some great friendships along the way. I have even recently discovered a couple new friendships simply because our kids go to school together. Who knew once your kids went to school you would get new friends too! Bonus!!
I want to pause for a second and say It is such a blessing to have mom friends who are in the same stage of life as you and who can relate to your daily ups and downs, those going through the trenches with you, those who can laugh at your mom-fail moments and the ‘can you pick up my kid for me because I have another one sleeping at home’ type moments. There is a unique bond this stage of life can bring, and I am finding I really enjoy it. It’s a new type of friendship I am just beginning to learn about. These new mom friends get me!
Anyway back to what I was saying, over the last 11 years there is one group of friends that I have made along the way that I find, unexpected, very unique and extremely valuable! A few nights ago the three of us, (apparently three friends at a time is all I can handle) were hanging out and I officially dubbed us the “Decade Friends.”
It’s simple, one of us is in our twenties one in our thirties and one in our forties. Three different decades represented in one group of friends. Our marriages span from almost 20 years to just over 5 years. Our kids range from high schoolers to infants yet we still can relate and find the time to get-together, which is a miracle in itself right there.
Like I said, I think having friends in the same stage of life as you is so valuable and we need those, so go get some! But I am finding that having friends in different stages is just as equally important.
I can seek advice from a mom who has been through it. Someone who has made the same mistakes but can see beyond them more clearly and confidently than I can. We can encourage those younger than us because we know how quickly the time passes. We are no longer stuck in the sleepless nights and the poopy diapers, but we were there and we understand and we can listen because we know that is what we needed. When you can see the different stages of parenthood and the different stages of marriage in your friends’ lives you gain perspective.
When you are in a certain stage of life it is often hard to picture ever being out of it. Or how you will get through it. You become consumed by it, and rightfully so. Having friends at different stages can pull you out, can give you that perspective you need. It can help you focus on the joys of a stage rather than the struggles.
These friends have become invaluable to me. And not only do our ages span across the decades, but we have been friends for a decade as well! The time spent has allowed the truth to come out. We have grown up together. We have gotten to know each other pretty darn well. They are my go-to gals. They keep me grounded and they know me better than I want them to know me! But the best part, they know me and they still love me. They can call me out when I need it and I trust them.
Recently I was reading a book by Jen Hatmaker, For the Love, and I think she describes it perfectly:
“I meet women all over the country, and I look so many in the eyes and see loneliness. People crave what they have always craved: to be know and loved, to belong somewhere. Community is such a basic human need. It helps us weather virtually every storm. If Jesus’ basic marching orders were 1.) to love God and 2.) to love people, then the fruit of that obedience includes being loved by God and loved by people. We give and get here. According to Jesus, the love of God and people is the substance of life.”
I thought of these girls when I first read that. How true is it that we crave this need for community. To be fully known and fully loved. Accepted for who we are no matter what stage of life we are in. I feel blessed that I have had some great women in my life that I can lean on and go through life with. God continues to bless me with a few quality friends at just the right times in my life because lets face it, he knows I couldn’t handle the quantity part. And I am especially grateful that he blessed me with my Decade Friends who add so much more to a relationship than I could have expected. Something that seemed so silly at first, that we were so far apart in ages, but now makes perfect sense. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
And for the record, I think I have the best spot being in the middle of my decade friends, just saying. And I might have just added that so people knew I wasn’t the oldest. Sorry Jill, perspective, it’s all perspective right? Love you!
Featured Image credit: