By now pretty much all of you who are (loyally) following my blog know that I've been single for quite some time. The longer I've been away from a relationship, the more I've realized how important the other people in my life are. When I start dating, I have the tendency to submerse myself in all things boyfriend-ish. He's all I think about, he's all I talk about, he's all I text about. But, as my life has gone so far, these relationships come to an end. My silver lining though are my friends. These are the friends who sat through the all too often graphic detail of my bliss, the friends who plotted the revenge against the guys who made me cry, the friends who reminded me that there is more to life than being a part of a couple. I don't have one friend who fits into all of those categories. I have several friends who each in their own way contribute to my well being.
The One Who's Known You Since When: This is my friend Brooke. We met about 7 years ago. We were co-workers who became best friends quick. The first time we hung out together is when she came over to my new apartment to help me put shelf liners in my drawers. After that we were pretty much inseparable. She was always there to lend a hand and was a co-conspirator in many adventures. We started out on similar paths. She got married to the love of her life, then I got engaged. We talked every day and emailed back and forth constantly, even though we only sat desks apart. I was at her wedding. She was at mine. Then I moved away. Brooke had her first baby and I had my first (and fingers crossed, last) divorce. We no longer talked every day, she was a mom working full time and taking care of a family and I was single again, trying to find my direction in a new city. We always stayed in touch. And no matter if it was 7 days or 7 months between seeing each other, we've always been able to pick right up where we left off. Most recently we got together to celebrate my 28th birthday. We laughed talking about the mischief we used to cause. Then she said "Jacqueline and I will be best friend forever, because we both have too much dirt on each other not to be." I love having someone who knows my back story. There's no need to explain my strange tendencies to her and she always understands what I'm trying to say. I love you Brooke! Thank you for being so amazing.
The Cheerleader: This is my friend Jenna. Though we haven't been friends for long, the friendship Jenna and I have developed has had a huge impact on my life. Jenna has the craziest life of anyone I know. She goes to school full time, she works more than full time, and she still makes sure to fit time in for her friends. When I have something important coming up, or have been having a rough time dealing with some stupid boy drama, Jenna is always the first to text me in the morning "Good morning lady. I hope you have a great day!" Recently my step-grandma passed away. Jenna texted me the day of the funeral, "thinking of you and your family today". Though she doesn't have the type of schedule that permits us to get together a few times a week, she always lets me know that she has my back and that I'm on her mind. She encourages me to follow my heart and reminds me that we all make mistakes. I love that she is in my life. Her and her thoughtful, well timed texts are sometimes the things that keep me going throughout the rough days. Love you Jenna!
The Good-Mood-Girl: This is my friend Courtney. Courtney is another one of my friends who is insanely busy. She is a social butterfly. She has a million great friends and is always at someone's birthday or someone's wedding. I met Court through my ex-husband. She was in my wedding, helped me through my divorce, and has been a huge supporter in my challenges with MS. And through all of this...she is the epitome of cheery. She's outgoing and has the best laugh. Being with her puts me in a better mood instantly. She takes me out for a drink when she knows I'm down, and by the time I'm taking my last sip, I'm already feeling better. You can't not be in a good mood with this girl. She has a way of seeing the bright side in everything, and for me, who is eternally pessimistic, this is a VERY important friend to have. I love you my dear Courtney.
The Sister From Another Mister: This is my friend Hannah. I met Hannah about 4 years ago. I feel like she's been a part of my life forever. She is straight forward. She tells me what she honestly thinks, which is not always what I want to hear. We have a "no-frills" relationship, meaning we don't need outside social interaction to feel comfortable around each other, we don't need a buffer. Some of my favorite times with Hannah have been spent in my sweats, no makeup, sitting on her couch talking or watching bad tv. She took me to the hospital when I called her at 4am having an asthma attack, she's seen me un-showered and dirty. She's seen me heartbroken and at the opposite end of the spectrum, totally in love. She's the one person I feel like I can totally be myself around. Thank you for never judging me Hannah. I love you dearly!
The Dreamer: My cousin Nicole. She is 10 years younger than me. I remember holding her when she was born. I remember being at her birthday parties and babysitting. Now, she's grown into a beautiful woman with a heart the size of Texas. As she got older, we became closer and closer. We exchange lengthy emails on an almost daily basis. These aren't the normal day-to-day drama emails, these are emails planning our campaign for co-presidency of the world, our travels plans for our backpacking trip across Europe, and our detailed description of the men we'll someday marry. Nicole has a way of bringing out my inner child, that doesn't have the chance to play as much as she'd like. When I'm with her, I feel carefree and full of hope. Nicole has a way of making the impossible seem like it's within arms reach. She has a wild imagination. She has taught me to embrace my silly side and let go a little. Her friendship is irreplaceable to me. I love you lady!
The One Who Needs No Introduction: I don't have a clever name for my last (but not least) friend. Andy. I've known Andy since high school. We dated briefly and then parted ways when he went off to college. We've never lived in the same city for more than a few months. But somehow, we've remained amazingly close. We talk everyday. We have stupid, hilarious inside jokes that carry on for years. I can tell him about my relationship issues and he has an unbiased, honest take on things. It's important to have a guys view on certain situations. He knows crazy little details about my life that no one else does. He's sent me flowers when I was having a bad day, he was the first to text me on my birthday. He knows what matters to me and lets me know that it matters to him as well. I can call him at midnight crying, and he can calm me down. He knows exactly what to say to make me laugh, and at the same time, knows just how to piss me off. We are so close. I truly do not know what I'd do without him. With Andy, I always know I have someone on my side. Love you Drew. Thanks for being there for me.
I have a lot of friends, and I don't want anyone to feel slighted for not being mentioned. These few though, are the one who make my world go 'round. Each one of them contributes something different to my life. Something important and invaluable. I'm glad that I have room in my life for so many different, wonderful types of people. I don't think you can have a "one-size-fits-all" type of friend. I think best friends are like shoes. If you're like me you have a billion different pairs that are all used for different occasions. Sometimes you don't feel like wearing high heels, sometimes you just want to slip on a pair of slippers. Whatever the outfit, there's a shoe to match. And so goes my relationship with these people. Their different personalities each add a little something different to my life. They make my life complete in different ways.
So to each of my wonderful friends, thank you. Thank you for putting up with my ranting about men and family issues and my dog. Thank you for the texts and emails. Thank you for going with me to doctor appointment and happy hours. Thank you for watching my dog and finding me Motrin when I'm hung over. Thank you for watching chick flicks with me and for listening to me brag about the Packers. Thank you for always having my back and letting me dream big. You all make me grateful for what I have in my life. I only hope that I can be as good to you all as you are to me.