Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dear Emma: A Letter About Friendship

"Oh, the comfort, 
the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person;
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but to pour them all out, just as they are,
chaff and grain together,
knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping, 
and then, with a breath of kindness,
blow the rest away." 
~George Eliot

My Dear Emma,

It's been an amazing privilege for me as your mother to watch you begin your journey of friendships. A journey that will bring many, many people in and out of your life who will play a part in shaping who are and who you will be. In your short 5-almost 6-years, I have watched your friendship circle grow from your cousins to the children of my friends and your Dad's friends to preschool and kindergarten classmates. I have watched these friends already begin to shape you-teaching you valuable lessons about sharing and conflict resolution that you won't get from being an only child. I have watched with wonder your joy of sleepovers and imaginary dress-up games that are best shared with a friend-each playdate teaching you something I have missed. 

While, I hope your friendships are always this easy. I know that most likely that won't be so. In this life, especially as you get older, friends will come and go. Some friends will move away and new ones will move in. Some friends will break your heart while others come along side you and help you pick up the pieces. Some friends will prove to be nothing but memories from your childhood while other friends will prove to be lifelong memory makers-the ones who are worth keeping-and I hope that you will find a way to handle every transition with gratitude and grace. 

I may not know everything (shocking...I know!), but I do know a thing or two about friendships and what the real ones will start to look like once you're a little older. I want to share that with you. Here are the 5 friendships that have helped me survive my adult life, and I hope you find 5 friends just like them. 

1. The "Crazy" Friend. Every girl needs a "crazy" friend. The one who is your constant reminder not to take life so seriously. The one who will drag you off of the couch after every heartbreak or week from h*ll. The one who knows how to make you laugh and who reminds you how to be silly. The one who shows you that it's just a bad day not a bad life. 

2. The "Compass" Friend. Your "compass" friend is your friend who keeps you constantly pointed in the right direction. The one who prays for you and who isn't afraid to help you get turned back around when you get off course. She is your "faith" friend. The friend who encourages your walk with the Lord and you do the same thing for her. You know how to strengthen each other up and you aren't afraid to step on each other's toes. 

3. The "Inspirational" Friend. This is the friend who chases her dreams and encourages you to do the same. The one with ALL the talent, but who pretends like your talents are even better. This is the person who pushes you daily to be your best, because you are inspired by the way they refuse to settle with their own life.

4. The "Boy" Friend. I know that as you get older, you will probably have lots of "boyfriends". Boys who will date you and break your heart. Boys who will try to measure up, but who just won't seem to make the grade. I want you to know first and foremost, that every broken heart will shape you into the woman you will be someday. Yes, those broken hearts will hurt and if I could keep them from you, I would. But please know that while some of them will be harder to get over than others, not every boy is destined to break your heart. I will encourage you to wait for the boy who truly wants to be your friend-not just your boyfriend. A boy who will understand you like no other and who will love you at your best and at your worst. A boy who will measure up. A boy who will go above and beyond for you. Wait as long as you must for a boy like that. He's out there. I promise. 

5. The "Best" Friend. Throughout your life you will probably have lots of "best friends". You will probably  have the elementary school "best friend", the middle school 'best friend", the high school "best friend", and the college "best friend". You will probably remain "friends" with these "best friends" you're entire life, and if you find one who is truly your "best" friend through all of these transitions, hold onto her! But, most likely, these friends will fade slowly out of each phase of your life. Always your friend, but not in your life enough to be the best one. But, have no fear, you will find her eventually. That friend who will stick by you through thick and thin. The one who has officially seen you at your absolute worst and lived to tell about it. The one who will always be honest with you and tell you exactly how it is. This friend will be your lifelong friend. You may find her when you are 6, but it may take until you are 27...just like me. Either way, when you find her she will become an irreplaceble part of your life and you should treasure her always. 

I know, baby girl, that throughout your life these types of friends may come and go. They may embody one person one day and a completely different person the next. But, you should always enjoy them when you find them. Treasure them and the lessons they will teach you. Confide in them. Grow with them. Let them become imprinted upon the fiber of your being and a part of the make up of who you are and who you are becoming.

But, more importantly, little one: guard your heart against anyone who would only seek to hurt you or belittle you. You don't need those friends.

You don't need that "friend" who expert you to be "the follower" or "the scape goat". 

You don't need that "friend" who will turn their back on you at the slight hint of a storm or a scandal.

You don't need that "friend" who acts one way to your face and says something completely different behind your back. 

Trust me, sweet one. 

Those types of people are not really your friends, and there will be many of them that will come and go throughout your life. I promise. 

Baby girl, I can't wait to meet all of the good friends this life brings you. I can't wait to see the parts they each play in your life from your first day of kindergarten to your wedding day. You are a special girl who will someday be a very special woman, and I know that the true friends this life will bring you will help me teach you that. 

Love Always, Mom

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