Dear Daughters:

Make sure you show up for your friends. It’s more important than you think.

Show up for the important things, like milestone birthdays and weddings and baby showers.

And show up when they need you but don’t want to ask, like during a tough break up or when they suddenly lose their job or their parent’s funeral.

Make sure you return the call when their voice cracks in a message because they are exhausted from staying up with a newborn three nights in a row. Make sure to send a text letting them know you are thinking about them when their kid goes into surgery. Make sure you ask about their ailing mom and their struggling marriage and their dreams that always seem just beyond their reach.

When you’re married with kids, show up to that girls’ weekend even though the logistics seem impossible. When you’re on vacation, drive that extra two hours to stop in and see your friend. When you’re tired and don’t want to make it for dinner, at least stop by for a drink. Drop off that book you think she’ll like or share that article you think she’ll love.

Dear daughters, the most important thing you will do in this life is show up for the ones you love. Trust me on this.

When you were younger, you asked, “Why do I have to brush all my teeth when no one sees the ones in the back?”

I answered, “You don’t have to brush all your teeth. Just the ones you want to keep.”

Friendship is the same way. If you only work on the people right in front of you, the rest of your relationships will decay.

So you need to show up. 

Because one day, life will happen. You may find out that your child has a debilitating illness or your husband had an affair. You could be sexually harassed by a co-worker or face a cancer diagnosis. You may have to relocate your family to a faraway place or just totaled your car.

You might sink into the darkness of depression and anxiety. You might lose yourself in the depths of motherhood. You might face unfathomable grief or distress or despair the likes you can’t even imagine.

And just when you think you have nowhere to turn, a hand reaches towards you and pulls you out. They reach and pull you out because they showed up—as you always have for them.

You have to brush all your teeth, dear daughters. Trust me on this.

Show up for your friends. Make sure they know you care. Be the friend you want in return every chance you get.

Because life is about showing up for the ones you care about. Everything else can wait.

Originally published on Playdates on Fridays by Whitney Fleming

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Life is Too Short for Fake Cheese and Fake Friends

I Don’t Have Many Friends, But I Have True Friendship

My Dear Daughters, Friendship is So Hard

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Whitney Fleming

Whitney is a mom of three teen daughters, a freelance writer, and co-partner of the site You can find her on Facebook at WhitneyFlemingWrites.