All though high school, I wanted a best friend.
When you grow up in a military town, you get used to friends moving every 2-3 years. And that always seemed to happen to my best friends.
So by the time I got to high school, I had no best friend. All my friends already had their besties. And since I’m not the type of person who overthrows best friendships, I became the odd one out. The perpetually single girl with no best friend.
Sometimes it felt lonely.
But it wasn’t all bad. Because I learned how to be okay by myself. How to be happy alone. I didn’t feel compelled to do things just because my friends were. I grew comfortable separating myself from the crowd.
And then I got married and ensured I’d have a best friend for life. (No, that wasn’t why I married him. At least, not the primary reason.) But I still wished for a non-spouse best friend.
Most of my friendships fell into one of two categories: situational or occasional. Situational friends are people I met through my job or grad school. And once the situation changed, we didn’t have much in common and moved on with our separate lives. Occasional friends are the people I’ve known for a while, and we email maybe once every few months. I used to blame myself for not keeping in better touch. But when I looked back, I realized I was usually the one reaching out.
Maybe I’m just not the type who can handle close friendships, I told myself. Nothing wrong with being a loner.
(Don’t you just love the part of the story that has an “and then”? It tells you things change. It reminds you that life is organic, dynamic. That, at any moment, everything can change.)
And then I met my sisters.
No, we don’t share DNA. We live in different places and have vastly different lives. And yet, we connected.
We’re like pieces of a stained glass window — each segment unique, but combining to form a gorgeous pattern. When the light strikes us, we glow with our own special color, but are more beautiful together than we are apart.
We support and encourage each other. Our good news is multiplied by shared joy, and the weight of bad news is lightened by empathy and love (and occasionally, promises to murder the source of the bad news). We may not share blood, but we’re sisters in all the ways that matter. We share life. And life shared is beautiful. Life shared imbues living with special meaning and inundates it with love.
I wanted a best friend. And instead, God gave me five sisters. This Thanksgiving, when I consider what I’m grateful for, my sisters top the list.
(from left to right: Jaime, Laurie, Anne, me, and Sarah. Not pictured: Kara, because she lives in New Zealand. How awesome is that? I have an international sister!)
“Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world
simply by being there for each other.”
~ Carol Saline