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.

Day 6: When Joy is Bittersweet

It’s so bittersweet, this having a daughter who is suddenly a 22-year-old woman living her own big life. I can’t for all the world figure out where the years have gone, how it can be that the little girl who loved to play school and ride bikes and twirl her fingers in my hair is all at once a very independent college senior who makes both her own money and her own decisions. I now realize some things (is what I’m meaning to say) about the fact that when children are young–when they are babies and toddlers and teenagers–it is impossible, somehow, to see beyond those years. Even when you appreciate that time for its sweet, chaotic, fleeting nature–God has some reason for keeping a vision of your children as grown-ups, separate and complete apart from you, at bay.

Still, the time goes so fast, in the blink of an eye. Oh, yes.

But then there is so much to relish in their blossoming. My sweet Eliza has grown into a woman I love, of course. But I also have tremendous respect for the person she is, for the way she moves about her world. And I have to say for every ounce of remorse I have at the rapid passing of the years, there is double joy in watching and sharing her gorgeous life.

A wonderful example is the group of friends to whom she is devoted. She couldn’t ask for a more loving and generous circle. And neither can I, for with open hearts and joyful enthusiasm, they have pulled me (and the other Moms) right on into the fold. On a regular basis I get sweet, thoughtful messages from one or two or three of them, and it makes my heart swell.

And so on this Day 6 of Joy, I share with you a little something that came my way last night via Facebook.

 

girls2
housemates Michelle, Eliza and Hanna

 

How happy I am that even when she is far away from me, my little girl is surrounded by love.

~~~~~~~~~~

PS: I can’t resist adding this photo of the entire, lovely group, taken just after they received their Clemson rings. In the center is Clemson’s beloved president, James P. Clements.

the girls and President Clements
Caroline, Jillian, Michelle, Sarah, President Clements, Eliza, Jessie Rose, Elliott and Hanna

30 Days of Joy

 

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