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Recently, we’ve been hanging out with some couples from our neighborhood and I LOVE IT! A couple of weeks ago, after a particularly fun evening, my hubby turned to me and asked me if I felt guilty about my new friends.
Funny how he nailed it.
For whatever reason, the day after that particularly fun night, a thousand thoughts had been swirling through my head – how I adore these women; how easy it is to hang with them; how great it is to see my hubby hanging with their; how convenient it is to hang in the hood; how I love the thrill of a new friend; how I miss my longtime BFFs; how life is so damn complicated; how guilty I feel about these new friends…
But something about my hubby asking the question brought clarity.
“No, I’m not going to feel guilty about my new friends,” I told him.
He just looked at me and smiled.
Really, I’m not.
For years I’ve lamented the fact that I never have enough time to spend with the people I want to spend time with. Between family, friends, school, work, working out – it’s a constant struggle. So, why would I want to compound that problem with new friends?
The problem is, I keep crossing paths with really great women; why wouldn’t I want to hang with them?!?!?
Why should I have to choose?
When I was a kid, I was also a Girl Scout. While I remember very little about that whole experience, I do remember a song we learned; the chorus, “…make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”
It’s stuck with me all of these years.
My mother-in-law once told me that people come and go in your life but upon reflection you’ll see they all were there for a reason.
I had no idea how right she was.
I’ve been through some shit in my life (as we all have) and as I reflect on life, I know I’ve made it through because of those friends…some old friends, some new, some I’m still in touch with, and some I’m not…but MIL Numero Uno was right. When I look at it, every one of those friends was there for a reason.
Take S, T, and A – my tried and true BFFs, who knew me during puberty, high school friends who supported me while I was praying to the porcelain God because we drank too much Strawberry Hill; they were there for first love, first heartache, and repeat. Who helped me navigate not only high school but college, marriage and now motherhood. Who swarmed me when hubby #1 died and made it all okay. Who I still see on a regular basis and call on in a crisis.
Take K – my fun loving, Friends watching, Gap Girl BFF who stood by my side from my first date with Hubby #1 all the way through his death. She was the one who babysat #2 when his Dad had to go to the hospital for yet another doctor appointment, she was the one who bought me the perfect dress for his funeral, who made me laugh through my tears. Who I just saw for the first time in close to 10 years and we picked up right where we left off.
Take B – momma of #2’s first real friend and a total rock when I was a single momma. Who watched #2 when I needed a break, whose own son was making her crazy as a preschooler.
Take K2 – my ambitious, well connected, successful, fun momma who I knew way back in middle school and whose life journey dumped her right back into mine just two blocks away. Whose friendship came back so easily, whose generosity is breathtaking, whose snarkiness makes my day and the one who totally gets not only my insane work life, but also the struggle with my Dad’s health.
Take C and E – my truth-telling soccer mom BFFs who I totally adore for more reasons than I can count, including, but not limited to their no-nonsense down to earth attitudes, their easy laughter and their willingness to jump in and help a momma out no matter what’s happening.
Take R and H – fellow working mommas whose boys are friends with #3, who understand the complexities of being married to my hubby because they too are married to another version of him! Who will take #3 to Scouts or camp or wherever because they just get it. And us.
Take C2 – who literally I have known since birth, who I keep in touch with solely through Facebook these days and see only once every few years but whose family truly shaped my childhood in wonderful ways.
Take B – my “third sister” who knows me better than I do in some ways, whose life has taken a divergent path, but whose friendship I treasure despite the miles and length of time that passes between visits.
Take J, G, K3- my book club crew whose monthly visits allow me to talk about real life shit without fear of being judged…or caught.
Take K4, M, B2 – my neighborhood lovelies who see me for way more than I see myself. Who know way more about being a woman than I do and who love a good strong vodka soda at the pool, around the campfire, on the patio or frankly just about anywhere.
When I think about it, it’s easy to see I’m totally blessed. I’m truly lucky to have had all of these amazing women (and many more who I’ve neglected to mention) cross paths with me and teach me about the complexities of friendship. And I have nothing to feel guilty about. After all, all of these friendships can (and do) co-exist and their mere existence makes the other ties stronger.
So, do I feel guilty about my new friends?
Yes, I do.
But I’m going to work like hell not to!