I met my best friend Molly when we were 13 years old, and even though I don't remember the specifics on how we became friends, I do remember the moment that our friendship was made official. She'd just gotten back from Christmas in Hawaii with her family, and she was walking down the rows of our Reading class handing out souvenir keychains to her friends. We were both shy and awkward, which actually I guess everyone is at that age, and I felt honored to have made the cut when she set one in front of me. What we didn't know was that we were kicking off a lifelong friendship, and that the weird sense of humor that began by passing notes in 7th grade would still be there way into adulthood.
There's something to be said about the friends who approach life's obstacles together simultaneously, which we have, living together all four years of college, but I think the sign of a true friendship is when you find the ones who stay bound to you way past the days where your lives look the same. It isn't hard to hold onto people who are in the same phase in life as you, and it's totally natural for some of those relationships to disintegrate once life rolls on and social circles shift. You're never going to have a friend who goes through life at the exact same pace as you, so when the road suddenly forks and you find yourselves in different stages of life, it's easy to let some friendships fade, surrounding yourselves instead with people who share a similar lifestyle.
I remember a time when Molly dropped me off at my downtown apartment after we'd grabbed dinner and how she'd mentioned that she couldn't imagine the stress of living in a place with traffic and parking that wasn't guaranteed and the weekly hassle I went through to find quarters for laundry. At the same time, I couldn't relate or offer advice when she and her husband bought their first house, because I'd never done it before. We've laughed over the realization that our lives look so much different from one another now, a total shift from when we used to sleep in twin beds side-by-side and eat every meal at the cafeteria together.
I think that because it's rare to find friendships that hold tight even when individual paths develop differently, it's also important to take note of how extraordinarily lucky you are to have that kind of friend. It's proof that you've gone beyond the superficial, the mundane, or the day-to-day and if you're able to relate on more than a shared past history, you've struck gold, knowing that she's a lifer.
When Molly called to tell me that she and Brady are expecting their first baby this December, I felt about 10 emotions at once, mostly excitement, but also like I needed to double check that we're old enough to take on those responsibilities. More than anything though, my heart felt overwhelmed with love towards this tiny human the size of a lime who hasn't even greeted the world yet.