Long Ago: Community Entry #15

Sometimes our friends leave us reminders and a trail to their hearts. Even when we need to be in solitude.

As you may know, I am spending a few months in the dormancy of winter, working on a book. And, like last year at this time, I am offering my blog to you. Last year we looked into our Breaking Points and found community and grace in grief and vulnerability. This year we are looking into our past, and finding the weaving of community that stitches us to our present. I will be posting these pieces at These Here Hills. Their authors will be happy to receive and respond to your comments.  Here is the blog post I wrote about this subject.

Contest submissions closed. Winner will receive a scholarship to one of my upcoming Haven writing retreats in Montana, announced mid-February…

Now I am further stepping into the wilderness of Montana and the wilderness of writing. If you’d like to create haven for your creativity…come to a Haven Writing Retreat here in Montana. June, August, and September retreats are now booking and filling fast.  Email me for more info:  Laura@lauramunsonauthor.com

May we all have friends like Leah Speer.  Thank you for this deep smile.  yrs. Laura

My Vintage Girls, by Leah Speer

vin·tage girls [vin-tij gurlz] noun

1.      girlfriends representing the high quality of a past time.

“Don’t forget your sisters. They’ll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love your children—you’re still going to need sisters.” One of my vintage girls sent that message to me exactly when I needed to read it; as if she had it stored in a folder marked “For Leah’s Next Crisis“.

I get so swept up in the manic day-to-day life with two preschoolers running from playdate to the store to the potty to the doctor and finally home again; the only time I can seem to find time to call my vintage girls is when I’m in the car for that 15- to 25-minute drive to wherever I am headed or coming home from.  Even when I’m at home, a phone call is pretty much me telling my kids, “no, not now, mommy’s on the phone” and “here you go” or “don’t do that to your brother” while trying to listen to my friend.  I care.  I really, really do!  In fact, I’d give just about anything to drop my kids off at my parent’s house for a couple of hours and meet up with that old friend for a cup of coffee and maybe split a vanilla bean cheesecake while we dish about our adorable little ones.  But…my parents live 18 hours away. As many women experience in today’s transient world, it’s not always easy to do—especially when your vintage girls live in other states, across the country or even abroad.

I am a nomad, forced into it by my Air Force father. Yet, I can’t blame my Bohemian lifestyle on him alone; since I turned 18, I’ve moved myself to 6 different states. When I graduated from high school, I drove 12 hours away to an out-of-state school to follow my passion for the arts. Just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, I found my home at Middle Tennessee State University. I didn’t know a soul there. My mother, father and little brother dropped me off in a rented Jaguar-first impressions are everything-and left me in the middle of Tennessee.  It didn’t take me long to understand I was really alone.

Could I have possibly realized at that moment that  the friendships I was about to make would last a lifetime? That those relationships would surpass the relationships I had with my BFFs in high school? That these girls I had formed a bond with in four years would still be by my side, even after I left to chase more dreams in New York City, California, the beaches of South Carolina and a few more states after that. They were Tennessee girls, born and raised; and they weren’t going anywhere—and I was happy about that. Nashville became my home base when I didn’t have one. It was familiar, my friends didn’t seem to change even through marriage and babies and the other craziness life throws at you as you get older.

Though last year we started our first annual girls’ weekend at a lake in southern Tennessee; memories of these girls rush in as random tidbits in the crazy hours of my every day.  They’re my rock.  They knew me best before my husband met me.  They know all of my quirks and are often the only ones who can tell me what I’m thinking or open my eyes to my mistakes or let me know how close I am getting to my life goals, even if I’m too close to see it.

They are the ones who were there for me.

Vintage girls call you out when you move to a new city and try out a brass, new attitude.  Vintage girls stand in line with you at 6:00 a.m. in 22 degree weather for a chance to get free tickets to your favorite Broadway show. Vintage girls drive cross-country with you when you move out west with all of your belongings shoved into a Cavalier because you read “White Oleander” in the midst of a cold New York City winter.  Vintage girls still believed in you even when you made mistakes.  Vintage girls cheer you on when you have found success. Vintage girls keep in touch with you no matter how close or far away you move from them.

They are the ones who are there for me.

Vintage girls are the ones who will tell you it is okay to be exhausted and feel like you can’t do everything once you’re a mommy.  Vintage girls will tell you not to believe a word from that book about sleep schedules and your happy baby. Vintage girls will tell you, “I’ve been there“. Vintage girls will identify with your situation with your toddler and share a relatable story about their preschooler. Vintage girls will make time for you when you really need it.  Vintage girls will reach out.  Vintage girls have a story about their husbands that make you feel better about living with yours.  Vintage girls will let you cry.  Vintage girls get it.

They are the ones who will be there for me.

When your kids start kindergarten, you know your vintage girls will be the ones to remind you to cherish the memories of their younger years and to embrace this excitement and these challenges for the rest of your life.  When you get a call from a teacher or a coach, you know your vintage girls will stand by you to remind you that we all make mistakes and our kids will work it out for themselves and still be great people. When your kids go off to college, you know your vintage girls will be there to fill the empty space and time – even if it means an all-expense paid trip to Turks and Caicos. >>wink, wink<< When you’re in your retirement years and need a reminder of who you were and who you still want to be, you will turn to your vintage girls.

The girlfriends I cherish, trust and love with all of my heart. My vintage girls. My community.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Blog series-- Long Ago: Community, My Posts

2 Responses to Long Ago: Community Entry #15

  1. Alice Riemer-McKee

    You know a secret about life that I have never known. I wonder what else I have missed?

  2. Your kids are lucky, Shea. I never had patience in the first place. There are days when I would be the first in line to kill the kids. But, the betauy is that they usually don’t all go crazy at the same time and at the end of the day, they almost always come back to the middle just as quickly as they strayed into crazy. Gotta love the monsters.

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