Friends for Life.

thegirls
Sarah, Hanna, Eliza, Jillian, Michelle

 

It’s not easy to make a major life transition, and this is doubly true when that move is from college to adulthood. It’s what my favorite Clemson girls have faced this fall as they’ve moved from Senior Year to Real Life navigating grown-up jobs, graduate school, and solo apartments in new cities with few friends.

They are also spread across the Southeast, something that challenges them, in Atlanta, Charleston, Greenville, Charlotte, Raleigh.

So you can imagine the joy I felt in hosting their first big reunion at our house this weekend. They walked in my door, wrapped their arms around each other and commenced to talk and talk and talk, their subjects nowhere near exhausted by the time of their Sunday afternoon departure. There was coffee and chatting on the porch, afternoon conversation down by the lake, evening laughter as they draped across the sofas (and each other) in the Keeping Room. My heart was so full as I watched them hold close to each other.

It made me think about my own college friends–the women I lean on for reassurance, guidance and so much more. It has been 33 years since we were the Clemson girls facing the world for the first time. And I have to say it surprises me now to realize I count on them today every bit as much as I did all those years ago. They have been here all along the journey, my buoy in dark times, my co-rejoicers in the glorious. A thousand times have I faced a dilemma, reached out to one of them and said: Tell me. What do you think?

A thousand times there has been a thoughtful, loving answer.

 

part of our group: Teri, Leslie, Cathy, Lisa, Ann, Sarah, Teresa
part of our group: Teri, Leslie, Cathy, Lisa, Ann, Sarah, Teresa

 

I remember last May standing at the Clemson graduation party for my own daughter and her besties as we toasted their launch into the big lives waiting for them out here. I raised my glass and said, “You will always have each other, that is a promise I can make. Even when you are miles apart, life has a way of making sure you reach for each other and hold on.”

How true it is.

And so I watched them together all weekend, these girls who have become women before my very eyes. I thought how grateful I am they have each other. And I said a prayer of thanksgiving for the friends along my own path, the women who have made my life richer, sturdier, more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. It seems only yesterday we were the ones hugging goodbye on the campus of Clemson University. And yet here we are now, our own children grown, our bond unwavering.

I am grateful. For so many reasons, I am deeply grateful.