I think a lot about how much I wish you had a sister. My sweet girl, you’re stuck between two brothers. The middle child and the only girl. You poor thing!You know by now that Mom and Dad aren’t going to have any more kids, so you’ll forever be my only daughter. I’m so thankful for you, and our family is perfect just the way it is. But, with that said…
Since you won’t have a sister who shares the same blood line as you, I think a lot about the friendships you’ll gain and lose over the course of your life. Your girlfriends will be the sisters you never had, and those relationships will be so important. They’ll be the girls who stand with you while you pledge your love to someone one day. They’ll be the ones you tell everything to (because I know chances are, you won’t tell me everything!), the ones you share your triumphs and heartaches with, the ones you do stupid or even dangerous things with, the ones you laugh so hard you cry with. I just thought I’d take this time to tell you just a few things I’ve learned about friendship over the years, things I hope that one day you apply to your relationships.
You become most like the people you spend your time with. When I was a young teenager, I would have totally discredited this. “Yeahhhh right. Whatever. I am who I am, and I don’t let others influence me” and all that jazz. Not true. We, as humans, are so impressionable by those we surround ourselves with. Make sure you always surround yourself with the kind of people who bring you up, encourage you and that love you for who you are and who you aren’t. The girls that make you feel badly about yourself, all the time? Honey, believe me when I tell you that they aren’t the kind of people you need in your life. They’re toxic, and no good for you. Stay away. Still be kind, but don’t trust those people with your heart.
Friendships come and go, and it’s okay. It hurts, but it’s okay. My best friend in kindergarten was also my best friend through middle school, high school, college, and she stood up with me the day I married Daddy. We thought we’d be “sisters” forever. Over the course of our twenties, we grew apart. I was married and having kids at a young age, she was focused on school and her career, and we grew apart. We don’t have any sort of connection anymore. Does it make me sad? Yes. I still cry about it every once in a while, I still think about her often, wondering how she’s doing, what’s new in her life, what new adventures she’s been on, who she calls her best friend now. But I’ve come to terms with the fact that some relationships aren’t lifelong, even if every intention for it to be is there. Remember that when this happens to you, bitterness and anger isn’t the way to go. Just be thankful, learn from it, and go on nurturing the strong relationships you do have.
Make time. It’s hard as we get older to make time for everything we have on our plate. Work, family, kids, alone time, and girl time. I’ll tell you something so important I’ve learned over the past couple of years: you’ll never regret any time spent with your friends. Have frequent sleep overs. Spend too many hours at your favorite coffee house talking. Take trips. Book a flight for a weekend jaunt in NYC. When you have kids, lock yourself in the bathroom with your cell phone to chat in peace with your best friend for even just five minutes. Make time for your friends, and don’t ever allow yourself to feel guilty for it.
Forgive. Your friends will inevitably hurt you. Chances are, they won’t be doing it on purpose. It’s okay to be sad, angry, pouty or to feel betrayed. But forgive them. Let it go. And move past it. Because sooner or later, you’ll hurt a friend, and you’ll want them to forgive you too. Be quick to say sorry. Apologizing isn’t a weakness, it makes you strong and a person of good character.
Be crazy. Silly. Even use bad judgment (once or twice). Create memories. Babe, your momma’s not gonna tell you all the crazy things I did as a teenager or college student, or even things I did with my friends a few months ago! But I’ll tell ya this. I was crazy. I was silly. I used bad judgment a time or two. But, in all those things, I created some amazing memories. Don’t do anything to get yourself arrested, hurt, or dead. Don’t do anything ever to put yourself in a scary position with boys or strangers. But, run around Target with big underwear on your heads. Ride the penny horse at Meijer, well beyond appropriate age. Stick a shopping cart in the back of your friend’s mom’s van and see how long it takes her to notice. Get in the car and take a random road trip. Prank call those cute boys in class. Do the things with your friends that you know will leave you breathless from laughing so hard in the years to come. It might turn your father and I grey by the time we’re 40, but we’ll also laugh and say, “Remember that time we _____?” and we’ll wish, just for a moment, that we could be young and carefree like you again.
Support and encourage. What we sometimes forget is not everyone is asking for our opinion or our thoughts on something. A lot of times, others will confide in us just for us to simply listen, hold their hand, and say everything will be okay. Your job is to support and encourage, always. Even if you don’t agree with a choice or choices they’ve made, be an encourager. Let them know that no matter what, you are there for them. When she’s excited, jump up and down with her. When she cries, be there. When she has a broken heart from some stupid boy, be the shoulder for her to cry on. When she needs encouragement, remind her of what an amazing person she is. Be a cheerleader.
Your girlfriends will be your sanity, always. I can’t wait to meet your forever friends, your chosen sisters. You will be one amazing sister.
I love you,
To read the next letter in our blog circle, visit Charity Fox | San Antonio Photographer | San Antonio Child Photographer’s entry here: http://www.photographybycharityfox.com/2014/02/san-antonio-photographer-letters-to-my.html