How many letters have I written that start with that salutation? So many. But these letters were mostly on college ruled paper, hand written with a mechanical pencil and folded into a cool shape or sometimes just a lazy rectangle.
You know how man friends call their relationship a bromance? What do women call theirs? Girlmance? Chickmance? Friendship -yeah we don’t need labels. (Just kidding, we totally need labels). To say that Lindsey and I had a bromance would be an understatement – we are women. And so much cooler and so much more than a bromance, it’s a sisterhood. (Ooh, new recruitment marketing strategy?!)
I joined a sorority to appease my parents’ legitimate concern about my mental health. (When I am feeling less vulnerable – maybe I will share that journey – spolier alert – happy ending). It was an ultimatum, join a club or a group or you know, move home and go to therapy – which meant in my head – white jackets – padded walls. So, choosing greek life, was at the time the lesser of two evils and it kept me on track to graduate on time. (Please note- as an adult I am a big fan of therapy).
I didn’t always fit in. I didn’t drink until I puked. I didn’t sleep around. I didn’t ever kiss a boy I had just met much less have a “sleepover” (!) with him. I studied hard enough, I had other friends outside the group, I had interests outside the group and since it didn’t overcome my life, I felt like I was kind of on the outside looking in.
Maybe deep down, I was actually afraid that someone would freeze my bra or put my hand in warm water so I would have a potty accident….ah hem…wet the bed. (#motherhood). That never happened, as I didn’t go to school in a 90’s movie.
Somehow – joining a group (it would have happened the same way in any large group of women and in fact, did years later) was supposed to make me feel included and less lonely and somehow, it had the opposite effect until I found my Little.
I am just not a big group person. It took me a long time to learn that that was an okay thing to be. I had a similar experience in a MOMS Group, years later, where I was forcing myself to go to events I didn’t want to go to and hang out with women I didn’t really like just to be in the club. And while, my mom cohort now includes some other MOMS Club drop outs, it also includes women I genuinely enjoy being with and learning from, laughing and crying with.
This may sound harsh – and it may sound as if I hated my sorority – but I didn’t. It shaped me and helped me to meet some amazing women. I have a high bar for my small circle. So, as I cultivated friendships within this group – they were meaningful and strong and authentic. I didn’t like everyone and not everyone liked me. One sister wrote me a mean girl letter and sent it through international mail, overseas, to France, when I studied abroad and told me, in no uncertain terms, what a terrible person I was. I pondered, while she was spending her time on me, loathing me like the Grinch and the Who’s, what wasn’t she doing…? Was this the best use of her time? Was she shouting on the top of Mount Pleasant listing all of her grievances with me? I don’t know, I was mildly annoyed by the letter but I was in France!
C’est la vie.
A big highlight of my sorority adventure was getting my Little Sister. It is truly a momentous occasion. For me it even trumped being initiated. It’s where you choose a new member to be your bitch… I mean pal, friend, mentee, little sister. They also choose you. It’s nice when it is mutual. And for us, it was. And it’s nice to be chosen.
Being a competitive lady, I can confidently say, that aside from my Big’s Little, my Little was the best. She was competitive too, talented, smart, fearless, a tough cookie and almost as funny as me. There was not a better feeling than seeing a big smile pop across her face because I made her laugh. (I almost wrote that sentence in the present tense – but I have children now – and I worked really hard to make them and then get them out of my body – so that trumps Lindsey’s smile.)
She was my biggest cheerleader and one of my favorite things about college and the absolute best thing about being in that group.
Today, on a work (hooray, for gainful employment!) trip, I was able to catch up with Lindsey. It had been about a decade since we’d seen each other and many lifetimes – mostly because parking in Nashville is a competitive sport. We had a lot to catch up on: kids, marriage, jobs, moves, travel adventures, finding ourselves as adults. Surely, not enough to squeeze it all in in a two hour lunch visit – but – I’d had enough of her and her second chapter love story – geeze girl – reel it in! “I love my wife, she’s the best, she’s so smart and so athletic, I can’t get enough of her, blah, blah, blah…”
Totally kidding. Grateful that she gets to experience incredible love – I can’t imagine someone more deserving.
Friendships that transition into adulthood are rare. We are different people now. So different. I mean, we can both legally buy booze now.. We are a little more confident, a little less lost, have a little more spandex in our pants, a few more gray hairs on our heads but still just as funny and just as competitive.
So, dearest little, thank you for my lunch date. Thank you for being supportive and loving during transitions. You, my sweet sister, are a light. I look forward to our next visit and hope lifetimes don’t pass in between. If you come to New Baltimore, you can park anywhere for free! Certainly not as fun as in Nashville, but always a guaranteed win.
Love in the Bond,