My Better Self – Jeans and Friends
I just returned from a weekend getaway to visit two very dear friends. One lives in Charlotte and the other in Chapel Hill. It had been way too long since I had seen either of them and their proximity to each other made it a no-brainer. The trip was quick, a bit of a hit-and-run and I feared that I’d made a mistake trying to fit too much into too short a time. That proved to be untrue and here’s why. Good friends are like a pair of your favorite jeans. They fit and come pre-washed so there is no break in period. You put them on and are ready to go. Good friends, like quality jeans, are worth the high price tag of an airplane ticket.
I met Laurie when we were juniors in high school. She was from Seattle but decided to head east for a semester and live with her great aunt in New Hampshire. We hit it off immediately. She used to pick me up on her way to school in her red Hyndai Elantra with her country music on and we’d chat it up like girls do: clothes, boyfriends, mothers, music – you know the stuff. A semester turned into a year and a year turned into a lifetime friendship separated at first by the country and now by the eastern seaboard. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and I was touched to find a framed wedding photo of me and all the attendants on the bedside table in her guest room. I noticed it when I set my bag down and later her oldest daughter couldn’t wait to show me when we got home from school. There was a little hint of dust on the glass which warms my heart to think the photo has actually been on display and not just pulled out for my arrival.
Laurie has made the trip north to New England a few times over the years to visit family and has stayed with us which means that we know each other’s children and they know each other. Her two daughters and my two sons match each other in age and personality. Her oldest daughter inspired my oldest son to ride his bike without training wheels. Just like her mother she is motivational!
I met Jessica my freshman year at the University of New Hampshire. I remember the exact moment I met her, and knew instantly we’d be great friends. We lived in the international dorm, Smith Hall, for two years. She is half French and I had just come back from an exchange year in Spain. When I think back on my years at UNH it is full of fun memories with Jessica (aka JoJo and Fresh Zeggie). There were parties, road trips to Quebec City, Chicago and Middleboro, pranks and endless laughing. I was honored to have Jessica as my maid-of-honor. We too were separated by the country while she lived in Seattle, San Diego and San Francisco but this past winter the miles shrank and the time zones collapsed when she and her family moved to Chapel Hill. This visit had the bonus of getting to know her children; a daughter age five and a son age four. They are such beautiful reflections of all the best in her and her husband.
Similarly the way children reflect the image of their parents, good friends reflect the best of each other. I always feel that my batteries are recharged after spending time with these two amazing women. They both bring so much to the table. They are interesting and dynamic and have so much to share and teach me. I am blessed to know them, and count them as my dearest friends. I always feel like my better self when I am with them. And just like my favorite pair of jeans I plan on keeping them for a LONG time.