Women I Love

I think that my life is, well, amazing.  And for a-thousand-and-one reasons that don't have anything to do with something necessarily "about me" or that I've accomplished.  I just realized this weekend - this Mothers Day of 2013 - how ridiculously rich I am in people to love, and especially the women in my life.  Within the confines of just these last seven days I have been compelled to reflect on the height and depth and width of friendship and relationships that span counties and continents and decades.

I picked strawberries in the warm sunshine with the "Anne" to my "Diana" (or am I "Anne" and she "Diana"?  I don't know, I think we switch off).  We lose each other in this life of routine and chaos and take each other for granted, but this was a "found" moment as we keep learning to love each other holistically . . . . Throughout the weekend I got pictures sent in private messages from my sister knowing that I'm the only person on the planet to whom those pictures would be sent (stop thinking nudey shots...please, people, she's my SISTER).  She then on Saturday took my Brilliant Beauty on a date to the theatre (read: "the-uh-tuh"...go ahead, sound it out loud) in true "Auntie Cher" vim and verve . . . . I sat and heard a beautiful friend who is finding herself grieving a years-old loss in ways that almost feel like it's happening over again, watching her navigate the need to drag the depths of the sadness in order to cut the ropes of despair and come up bouyant again . . . . I texted with a friend as she and I work through what friendship should look like for us after a too-long period of silence, both of us remembering why we were ever friends to begin with as we write back and forth with ease . . . . I picked wildflowers ("side-of-the-road" flowers, as Little Big Man would call them) for a woman I love, who I think know to be one of the truest philosophers in my life, from dissertations to diapers to dinner, for the last twenty-twoish years . . . . I watched the sides of every road I went down this week in search of even more wildflowers to give to my mom. When I took them to her she acted like I had brought her the crown jewels.  But then again, that's my mom, always quick to treat us like WE are the crown jewels . . . . While with Mama, in my hands she placed a book written by a woman that I came to know when I was a scared and lonely 17-year-old girl overseas; a woman who has since survived unthinkable and surreal scenarios and realities that you only ever see in screenplays, excavated the experience to the bedrock and written about.  I had no idea she had put her story on paper and was even more surprised to find a hand-written inscription she thoughtfully obliged to write so my mom could give it to me as a present . . . . Through the odd gift that social media can be, I've watched my dear friend who seems to mother the world as she joyfully (no, blissfully) prepares for the first daughter of her six children to marry next month . . . . I took some time and scrolled through my own pictures to find those just-right shots to tell the women closest to me that I honor them - that I love them in my life - on Mothers Day; grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and friends near and far.

I could go on and on and on.  I mean, I am embarrassingly rich.

Included in that wealth is these girls.  On Saturday I found myself sitting in a room with women (how did we get to be WOMEN?) I literally grew up alongside to celebrate new life.

School chums.  Girls who knew you "when".
When Mr. Merle Gay was your principal and you thought the electric waffle maker on top of the filing cabinet in the office was an electric paddle.
When you were flat-chested (or, ahem, not).
When Ms. Nunnally was too senile to notice during science class Ronnie Frith building cardboard boxes into a house he called the "mofo mansion" (did I really just write that?) in the back of the room.
When you wrote "I [heart] NKOTB" all over your notebooks or paper-sack book covers.
When you formed a girl band.
When you liked that boy and he didn't like you.
When you learned the sign language alphabet so you could "talk" in class.
When one of you - who shall remain nameless, Casey - hit Miss Sheffstall in the head with a tennis racquet.
When we would run our laps in PE so we could sit on the stage in the gym and play spades (and always lose to Regina or Greer).
When high school hit and some of the people you had always known stopped acting like anyone you recognized.
When it was hard to know who your friends are.
When we fell for boys that we shouldn't have.
When we kind of lost ourselves.

And then here we sit.  Almost two decades later; in a room . . . with my friends.  We've married and we've divorced.  We've had babies and been infertile.  We've moved far away from each other and then moved close.  We've been successful and we've failed.  We've stayed connected and forgotten to.  We've shared the details of our lives, and then kept some to ourselves.

Between the peals of laughter, I felt myself wanting to cry.  The tears sat almost at the surface.  I love seeing us where we are, in the lives we are in.  I love looking at the beauty-for-ashes redemption story some of our lives tell.  But I love most that these faces when I look at them still are almost this immediate upload of every memory I have of and with these women.  We, of course, don't share every memory.  In fact, there's a whole section of their collective memories I don't have because of being overseas our senior year.  Sometimes there's a twinge of pain over that.  But then I look up and see their today-faces looking back at me and it's okay.

Ridiculously rich.  My heart is pounding at the realization.

"Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver but the other gold."


  1. You are an amazingly gifted writer, Jessi. I love everything you have ever written. In my opinion, you need to begin pulling these stories/writings/winnowings together into book form to share with and bless others. They would!

    I love you dearly.


  2. reading this was a gift...thanks for sharing!

  3. Yay! So good to read your writing again... I love you.


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