This past weekend I was fortunate enough to go on a mini getaway to Milwaukee with a handful of some of my favorite local gal pals. Since then, I’ve really been reflecting back, not necessarily about this trip specifically, but just how lucky I am to have so many amazing friends in my life. Some I might not necessarily see often. Some I don’t even talk to that often, while some I talk to everyday. On the flip side, some I’ve known my entire life. Others I’ve known since college. And some of my more local friends, I’ve only known for a few years. But regardless, each and every one of these women mean something to me and have impacted my life one way or another. And for that I’m blessed.
We had a lot of fun last weekend. We wore matching jammies, attempted way too many (unsuccessful) group selfies and had umpteen dance-offs. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time, and it just felt good and so refreshing. These breaks away from family, responsibility and just everyday life are essential for the soul. One of the nights at dinner, one of the girls (shocker, she is a teacher) had this great idea for everyone to go around the table and say two good things about each other. Of course at first I laughed and thought this was such a teacher move. But damn, the things that were said not only about me, but about each of us, just rocked my world. It was incredibly eye-opening, empowering and just amazing to hear how we viewed each other. Because of course you never see yourself the way others do. You might feel inferior or not as talented or not as pretty, or not as much a million other things. Or maybe that’s just me and my ridiculous insecurities. But still. The things that were said around this table brought almost all of us to tears. And I promise it was not just from drinking the $100 bottle(s) of wine that we managed to score.
But true friendship isn’t always just about having fun. It’s also about having each other’s backs. A few weeks ago another friend (from another friendship group) suddenly lost her father. It was shocking and horrible. But what did this group of friends do? We dropped all our weekend plans and rallied. We changed schedules. And at the drop of a hat, we organized a five-hour road trip through the bitter cold so we could be with our friend for her father’s funeral. There was no questioning, only doing. And seeing the look of heartfelt gratitude on this friend’s face when we walked in was the epitome of what friendship means.
A good friend is someone you can always rely on – through both the good times and the bad. (I guess it’s kinda like a marriage?!) But also someone that you can count on to be honest with you. Someone who won’t be offended if you call you them out on some bullshit. Because in return, you expect nothing less. A good friend is someone who lets you go on irrational rants venting about this, that or the other. And does so without judging. A good friend is someone you feel comfortable going braless around. Someone who thinks you’re beautiful without makeup or fancy clothes because they’ve seen inside your soul. But most importantly, a good friend is someone who values you for you. There’s no pretending to be someone else or feeling the need to “fit in” around them. There’s only you. To me, that’s huge. The various woman I surround myself with are about as different from one another as you can get. But we all have the same heart. And that’s what matters.
So on this Valentine’s Day, after you’ve done all the spouse smooching and unwillingly given your kids a sugar high from all their special treats, I encourage everyone to give a little shout out to all their own Galentines. Because without them, life just might be a lot less fun.