Does anyone else remember the Elementary/Junior High school tradition of choosing besties? You know, that ONE person who called you their best friend and you did the same? I remember the feeling of having someone say I was their "Best Friend" and how that shot of confidence helped me navigate all kinds of awkward moments and stages.
If you didn't know me in Elementary and through most of Junior High, let me explain myself by saying that my Mom loved me. Being a Mom myself now, I understand the feeling of letting your children develop into their own little people. And for this, I am grateful. My Mother required modesty and adherence to our private school dress code but let me for the most part pick out my own clothes. She didn't see fashion or trends or popularity- she let me be myself. Maybe when she shouldn't have... I have seen pictures of me in an acid wash mid calf length jean skirt with a white t-shirt and wide (I mean, wide) neon pink belt. Pink rimmed glasses and full braces with Lakers colors on the rubber bands. My brother loved Magic Johnson and when all else failed, whatever my cooler older brother was into was good enough for me. My awkward phase lasted for several years.
When I was in 6th grade, the coolest girl in my class chose me to be her best friend. Charity Tinsley was everyone's favorite- teachers loved her because she was wicked smart, spoke up in class and always did her homework. All the kids loved her because she was hilarious and dressed super cool and didn't put up with anybody's crap. She never "went with" anyone (what did that even mean?? I remember being so annoyed that my parents kept asking me what it meant to "go with" somebody and saying that it just "means what it means, Dad!") so she didn't have any enemies. She was good at every sport, every art class, every instrument.. you can hear me almost 21 years later still gushing about how fabulous she was. You get the picture- Charity was rad.
And I still remember the day she gave me my half of the Best Friends heart necklace. All of a sudden, I was invincible. Shaun could like me or not like me, I didn't care. Josh DiYanni could break up with me and start going with Hannah, and it didn't matter. I could get a detention for passing notes in class and I wasn't embarrassed. My gym clothes could be sitting on my dresser at home and I was playing kick ball in the "extra" pair the gym teacher kept in his office for kids who forgot theirs and I had someone to laugh with about how big the shorts were. Because I had a best friend I always had someone to walk down the hall with, someone who saved me a seat at lunch and someone looking for me to get to school every day.
I think adults have a harder time making best friends because we are too cool to ask. Grant and I talk all the time about how easy making friends used to be, and now it seems impossibly hard. We meet tons of cool people- have dinner parties, playdates, drinks on the back porch, coordinate lawn seats for outdoor concerts- we have good people to hang out with. But Best Friends are harder to make when you grow up. It seems riskier to say "You are my best friend" out loud because it might make you sound clingy or immature. Or like you need that title to prove that someone really knows you.
But I'm not talking about simply staking a claim or using someone's presence to make you feel important. I am talking about that deep down confidence that someone is saving a seat for you. Meets you at the ER at 11 o'clock at night because your child has a fever and your husband is out of town. Shares a beer with you and let you rant about how hard it is to love your husband sometimes, then gives you a hug and tells you to go back and work it out. Remembered you had a dermatologist appointment the day before and made a joke about what underwear you wore. As adults we have so many friends that we can hang out with, but very few that we can share our deep dark secrets with. The Best Friend title is sacred, not for the faint of heart. As adults we are not supposed to care if anyone saved a seat for us, but I would argue that all of us feel that warm fuzzy feeling when someone does.
My Best Friends are girls who have known me for a long time. We don't live in the same state, we don't talk often (enough) and we can't hold each other's hair back when the stomach flu goes around. They are my heart, but as life goes, they live far away from me. So here I am in a place where I will put down roots and nourish my marriage and raise my babies and now I NEED some best friends. Why is it so hard to ask? Because I will feel needy or self conscious or scared they won't feel the same way about me? Adults need besties too. But it's hard.
I think it's because Claire's doesn't make the best friend necklace in our size.