Girls, listen up.

I have something important to say.

About us.

We need each other.

We do.

Today I got an unexpected gift in the mail from a precious college friend I haven’t seen in over two years. A journal titled “Find JOY in the Ordinary” along with pens and the sweetest note thanking me for writing; encouragement to just keep going because it matters to her.

I cried, of course. Because all good and kind acts make me teary and because she gets me and because this is the millionth time I’ve been SAVED by a woman in my life.

We just need each other, don’t we?

I couldn’t help thinking back to years ago, when my husband was lost in the pit of addiction and I floundered to finish my Family Practice residency while attempting to mother two little boys at the same time.

I felt like my lifeboat had capsized in the ocean.

I tossed about in the wave, kicking, and treading, and struggling to keep my nose above water, fighting for air as wave after wave crashed upon me, shoving me under for a while until I came up gasping and spluttering.

And the women in my life saved me.

The women in my life reminded me with phone calls or cards or dinner dates or help with kids that I was loved; that I was not alone. These women gave me rescue breaths in the middle of the storm so I could keep fighting, keep treading, keep breathing until friends from Al-anon and my sponsor finally dragged me to the shore, exhausted and water-logged, still panting and desperate for air.

Because we need each other.

Life is so different now. My husband is clean and sober over ten years and truly the husband of my dreams. We have five healthy children. We no longer struggle financially. And I’m mostly home raising babies like I always wanted.

Even still, sometimes anxiety creeps in. Sometimes fear and loneliness and insecurity and doubt overtake me. Sometimes my fingers cling to the edge of the boat as I desperately struggle to catch my breath.

But then I look up. And there she is, another woman reaching out her hand to save me.

Because we need each other.

Girls, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. She doesn’t have to know all the details. She might not say EXACTLY the right thing.

But when I’m drowning in the middle of life if I look around, she is ALWAYS there with her hand outstretched…trying to rescue me once again!

Because we just need each other!

A phone call or a lunch date or a simple text to say hello.

A thousand-mile surprise visit for my birthday.

Those two-hour-long therapy sessions over the phone.

Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve with her family because ours was so far away.
Gifting that beautiful antique figurine she’d saved for her baby to my baby girl when her own daughter never came.

Warm dinners for my little herd as we welcomed a newborn.

Our annual girls trip.

A book she thought I might enjoy delivered to my doorstep.

Help with meals or rides or a cleaning service while I recovered from a surgery.

Dropping everything to watch my kids when the nanny didn’t work out.

Mornings on my back patio complaining and laughing and talking for hours.

Long walks together on our neighborhood path.

The women in my life are my life preservers time and again, over and over, every day reminding me I am not alone.

Because we need each other.

I used to think I was the only one who had no idea what I was doing. The only one hurting. The only one drowning in the water.

I used to think I had to figure it all out on my own and reaching out for someone’s hand or accepting a rescue breath meant I was weak.

How many wonderful relationships with beautiful, amazing women have I missed because I was afraid? Afraid to be honest? Afraid to reach out my hand?

Thank goodness in the middle of all my striving and treading and spluttering and drowning, I realized we are not meant to live this life on our own.

I’m so grateful I learned to ask for and accept help.

Thank God I began to stick out my hand to help the next woman in line because at some point or another we are ALL being tossed about in the waves.

Aren’t we?

One minute there we are laughing on the dock or speeding along in the boat then. . . BAM.

Divorce, affairs, infertility, moves across the country, illness, death, marital problems, miscarriages, toddlers, teenagers, relationship dilemmas, job changes, bankruptcy, postpartum depression, loss, LIFE. . . and one of us is under water again.

WE. NEED. EACH. OTHER.

So, be honest. And stick out your hand.

If you pull me up and I pull you, there we’ll both be…back on the dock or speeding along in the boat until the next wave hits. Or until the next iceberg.

But neither of us has to be afraid. We don’t have to struggle and fight for air because we are never alone!!

Grab my hand. Take a breath.
Girls, we have each other!
We have US.
And I simply cannot breathe without you.

This article was originally published on Ordinary on Purpose

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Mikala Albertson

I’m Mikala. I married my high school sweetheart almost 17 years ago and I’m a (mostly) stay-at-home Family Practice doctor raising four boys and a little girl. I write about the simple, everyday, ordinary events of my life’s journey because I think LIFE happens in the ordinary (and even awful and chaotic!). I try so hard to just be ordinary, on purpose.