You were my first college friend, my longest college friend, one of my very best college friends.
There was a time in my life when everyone was my BFF. Heck, Elsa just popped out a list of 16 “BFFs” in a big heart this morning before school! But then I matured and realized true best friends are much more rare than common. As an adult, I’ve never used the term best friend lightly, and I’m not the type to call anyone “bestie,” so I’m sincere when I say you’re one of the rare few I’ve referred to as best friend.
I knew you on paper before I met you in real life. I can still visualize that piece of paper – it came in the mailbox and told me all about my first college roommate, you! I was a bit nervous, I’ll be honest. It was my first year of college, and I’d never had a roommate. But I was all about starting fresh, starting new, so I was up for the challenge.
Denise. I’d never known anyone named Denise! You came from a small town, had teachers in the family, and grew up in a family of 3 – all things like me. As I read through that piece of paper, I became more and more confident this was going to be a great match.
We met that first day and hit it off big time! Within the first week of orientation, we met many of the people who would later become our best friends, both guys and girls. The connections we made during those first days, weeks and months were actually quite incredible – the interconnectedness within our circles of friends was crazy!
Speaking of friends…who knew we’d be hanging out with pilots-to-be and fraternity boys (“The Delts”), but a bunch of them became our friends, and fast! In fact, two of them were more than just friends, they turned out to be our boyfriends and later down the road, our husbands! Remember that first week of school? My husband says we were “trolling for guys” when we met him at the Delt house that first week on campus. I say not so much! We were making our way through the campus, familiarizing ourselves with the territory! And your hubby…it’s been so many years, I can’t even recall exactly how or when you met, but considering how many aviation dudes we were always hanging around with, it’s no surprise he became your true love.
But I jumped the gun in all my excitement about our friends and husbands-to-be. So let me step back a moment.
Our friendship was built solid. Like a rock. We roomed together for three years. We spent countless hours studying together and taking breaks, eating with friends in the dining hall, organizing and tending our dorm rooms and apartment, and talking for hours on end. We did fun stuff and stupid stuff, like the time we colored a big picture of the sun and hung it on our dorm room window when it was below zero and intolerably cold outside for way too long. You cut your hair, we stayed up WAY-WAY too late, we got crazy silly and out of control, and we hung with a ton of friends and a good handful of boyfriends before we officially started dating our husbands-to-be! That doesn’t even touch the surface.
We studied HARD and we lived BIG, BEAUTIFUL, and LOUD. Those first three years of college, and particularly that first year and a half, were some of the most fun years of my life. I can truly say I was a “fun” person during that time in my life. I’m so glad you got to see that fun side of me.
But college life wasn’t always easy. We lived together for three years, so inevitably, things came up. We’d developed an open relationship of talking for hours on end, so when we faced hard things, we faced them together.
If I could go back and walk next to us in those hard moments, I’d do it in a second. I’d be even more supportive, even more loving, even more understanding and kind. I’d share even more than I did, I’d open myself to receiving love and compassion even more than I did, and I’d be even more vulnerable with you about anything and everything. Because we had that kind of relationship. The foundation was there for anything to happen – for any depth to be reached, for all heights to be soared. Together.
I could go on and on and say how sad I am that we live so far apart, how we’ve only met each others’ children once or twice, how we don’t talk nearly as much as we should, how I’m HORRIBLE at maintaining friendship from a long distance and I’m so sorry for not being better about it.
But I won’t.
Because this friendship is open. This friendship is WIDE OPEN, girl. I’m not through with you yet, and I hope you’re not through with me yet.
It’s been a season of moving and changing and growing up little human beings – for both of us. And it’ll continue to be that way a while longer. But friendship once set on a firm foundation, like ours, is bound to spring back at a moment’s notice. And when the next season emerges, it’s going to be beautiful. The timing? Perfect.
So live on friend. Know you’re always in my heart, close by even though we’re far, far apart. I give you freedom to fly high wherever you are, I release you from all expectations in this friendship. You had me from the start.
Here’s to paying you back for all the sweet little treasures you’ve sent me unexpectedly in the mail through the years,
*If you’d like to read more from my #31Days Letters to the Unthanked series, click here for the landing page where all the letters are listed and linked!