So...here they are! These are my Winnies, (from left to right behind my daughter) Ginny, Toni and Jill. Naoh, is the cutest little man next to mine and belongs to Ginny. This picture was taken at Maryah's Sweet 16 party.
There are stories, oh so many stories I could share about these ladies. I am not sure they would appreciate me sharing all of them so I will keep it tame. This blog entry is meant to be a tribute to them, a sort of Christmas gift to let them know what they mean to me and to share them with the rest of the world. Well, my little world I guess.
Early on in life as a teenager you have your group of friends and they come and go and you fight and they hate you and you hate them and then you all love each other and don't know what you would do without each other until one of you flirts with the others "crush" or wears the same outfit as someone, or doesn't invite someone to a get together. I have had some amazing friendships in my life time. I am one blessed lady. Honestly, some of the ladies that were my friends way back to Kindergarten, Junior High and High School are still my friends today. Those of us who aren't close and don't spend time together at minimum keep up on Facebook (which is all I think FB is good for). I think that is pretty amazing when you can grow up and find the people you once thought so much of and show each other the good side and the grown up side and the "I really am glad you were my friend despite all the drama"side.
We have our family, and if you are blessed as I am they remain in your life and you are richer for it. I am blessed with a sister who is my best friend, aunties and cousins that are some of my dearest friends and I wouldn't choose differently if I could. I know some people who if their family wasn't their family they may never invite them into their home. That's a sad state to live in and I am glad that is not the case for me.
I have also had friends as a young woman in my 20s and early 30s and I am equally blessed to have met and known them. Some of them are no longer part of my life as we grew apart and there really wasn't any glue to hold us together, no background, memories or future. They were there for a season and they were great! They made my 20s and early 30s a blast and I am better for having known all of them (well most of them). There are many that I am grateful are part of our lives yet today.
As I quickly approach my 40s I can also clearly state that I have "cleaned my closet" as well. There are many people who are no longer a part of my life because they weren't supposed to be for one reason or another. I think many people do this as they marry, have children and grow more mature (although I can't always claim maturity). We tend to focus more on family and increasingly busy schedules. You slowly begin to realize that there are just a few left and those are the ones that will remain. They will be your "go to gals" for everything good, bad and ugly for the long haul.
Ginny, Toni and Jill are those gals for me. My Winnies, the three women who know way more than anyone else does or will ever know about me. They are the women who know before I do most days that I am hurting, sad, struggling, scared, happy, excited even before I know. These are the women who when I am hiding from the world will call me out and make me leave the dark and come back into the light when I think there will never be any again. These are the women...
The Winnies...why the Winnies? It all goes back to one summer night, a couple pitchers of sangria, a bunch of packs of smokes and laughter that I am sure kept the neighbors awake until the wee hours. I do not know anyone who could have ever spun such exaggerated stories from one simple comment. "When we are old we should all have a Winnebago that we travel around in!" Over the past eight years we have built on this idea time and time again each time it becomes a bit more exaggerated. The jokes, the laughter the out of the blue references to this long, drawn out story have evoked the kind of laughter that makes your stomach hurt, makes you nearly pee your pants, the can't even catch your breath, tears running down your face kind of laughter!
There are very few people in this world who not only understand my dark humor but reciprocate it. Not many people whom I would accept a call from where they demand that I come and join them for dinner and drinks because "I can't play the dead kid card forever". I know, I know it sounds so wrong but these are the friends that catch me when I am falling apart and help put me back together. These are the friends that loved Maryah as if she were their own. These are the friends that were with me EVERY SINGLE STEP of the way as we journeyed through cancer. These are the friends that several days after Maryah's funeral came over to watch the little boys while we tried to make it through a dance recital for the other girls and without our first dancer. They were the ones waiting with booze in hand when I walked back through the door to numb the pain. They know me, inside and out. They cry when I hurt and I cry when they hurt.
We have and will continue to face so many things that life brings our way. We will handle these things wonderfully and poorly and we will hold each other up. When we can do nothing else we will listen, we will hug, we will laugh and we will plan our golden years in our Winnebagos.
At the end of our lives we will stand around each others graves as we are committed to the Lord and we will sob, we will ache, we will hurt and then... we will dance and laugh and remember all right there on top of each others graves while people look on (as they always seem to do) and think that we are crazy!
Thank you my dear and beautiful friends for never being far when I need you. For always remembering that nothing is too big for us to overcome and for making sure to point out my saggy boobs, my chin hair and noticing when I lose 1/10 of a pound. By the way Toni has the best boobs of all of us!
I love you all so very much and always will!