Just Show Up: What I’ve Learned About Friendship
May 31, 2017
We’re coming up on my 10 year college reunion, which makes me feel like a really fortunate, well-educated dinosaur. Other things that happened 10 years ago: Britney’s buzz cut, the debut of the first iPhone, and the Spice Girls Reunion Tour. (That last one sent me into a tail spin because when I saw it I spent 10 minutes deciding if the title of this post should really be “You Gotta Get With My Friends.” Thanks, Google. And Victoria Beckham.)
I learned a lot in college, and forgot a lot in college, and ate too much buffalo chicken in college. But my biggest takeaways, hands down, are the friendships I formed there. Most of my college friends lived in the same dorm freshman year by chance. The same hallway in fact. I like to joke that we were just too lazy to make new friends so we stuck together the rest of college, and post college, and forever. But the truth of the matter is these people were my soulmates. Well played, Boston College Residential Life. Well played.
They have given me a lot of themselves over the years and I’m forever grateful for the hilarity, the ridiculousness, and the love. They show their love in many ways, but my favorite is their ability to just show up.
When Glen and I played the 36 Questions That Lead to Love, I really did have an answer for “What does friendship mean to you?” I said “showing up.” Friends just show up. When it’s inconvenient, when it’s uncomfortable, when you could be, should be, or want to be doing anything else. That’s what friends do; they are there when you need them and when you didn’t know you needed them. To have people in my life who do that – I’m not sure I’ve ever found the right words to express my gratitude. So in case I didn’t say it before, thank you
- To the friend who drove 8 hours in one day to come to my grandfather’s funeral.
- To the friend who came to my marketing half-time promotion at the BC women’s basketball game and cheered like crazy even though it was non-conference, snowing if memory serves, and there were 6 people in the stands.
- To the friend who left a lasagna in a cooler on my front steps after my third miscarriage and drove off because she knew I wasn’t ready to talk yet.
- To the friends who sat in my dorm room until 3am after I made a particularly stellar life choice and were totally judgement free.* (*Or successfully pretended to be judgement free. Unclear, unimportant.)
- To friend who showed up at the hospital after Jack was born to bring me fancy soap – the fancy soap that would make me feel like a human for the next two weeks every time I would get 5 minutes alone to take a much needed shower.
- To the friend who recognized a SOS from across a crowded bar on multiple occasions and ran over to pretend that we were in a deep committed relationship.
- To the friend who was moving back to Massachusetts from Michigan two weeks after my wedding, but flew back to Massachusetts for my wedding anyways.
- To the friend who visited me in my tiny suburban town over the summer and, since there was little else to do, bought a hammock at Ocean State Job Lot. For his dorm room. (This one is sort of about showing up, mostly about just being awesome.)
- To the friend who sat with me in a bathroom for 2 hours after a break up and didn’t say I told you so.
- To the friends who tucked me safely into bed at our 5 year college reunion.
- To the friend who stayed with me and Jack on my first day of solo parenting when Glen went back to work because the panic was oh so real.
- To the friend who came to my parents’ house to drink a wine cooler with me at 12:01am the morning of my 21st birthday.
- To the friend who rented a car to drive out to the suburbs for every single barbecue/Christmas party/bridal or baby shower/birthday celebration when the rest of us moved out of the city.
- To the friend who drove up to Massachusetts from Pennsylvania for those same parties.
- To the friends who knew the best way to make me feel better was to appear in my doorway with a barbershop quartet version of “Afternoon Delight.”
- To the friends who humor me when I think I’m funny, tease me when I’m being foolish, support my choices even when they are dumb, pick me up when I fall down, and have made me feel like I am never, ever alone.
This is my love letter to you, my dear college friends who taught me the value in showing up. I know I’m an adequate friend at best, and I don’t always show up when I should, but I’ll keep trying to be like you. Thanks for hanging in there.
With love and admiration (and fewer bad decisions than this post will lead you to believe – don’t worry Merm and Pop),