My home was bustling on Saturday night. Sixteen adults. Six toddlers. Three babies. All (but two KSU wildcats) clad in Husker gear. Introductions were made and connections established. A beautiful web connecting us to each other and connecting us back to our beloved college team.
The buffet table runneth over. Homemade Runzas, ribs, macaroni and cheese, veggie pizza, salad, fruits, veggies and delicious chocolate desserts.
The house and the backyard vibrated with the sounds of the Husker game and peals of little boy laughter.
Plays were jeered. Train tracks were built. Plays were cheered. Sand was dumped. Beers were cracked. Bubbles were blown.
One of the wonderful Husker ex-pats in the room was one of my very best friends in high school. She and I spent many years dancing at the same studio and one could rarely be found without the other for our junior and senior year of high school. We spent early mornings at dance team practice. Lunches at Subway or Valentino’s. Late afternoons and evenings at the dance studio. Weekends at varsity sporting events or in our friend’s basement. We loved cheese pizza with black olives, ate mint chip ice cream straight from the carton, had the same haircut and often shared items from our wardrobe.
I thought that we were destined to be friends forever. But due to circumstance and time, until a few months ago, we hadn’t seen each other in a decade. After a chance meeting at Target (side note: of course Target would reunite friends), we have spent some time catching up and letting our kids play together.
We couldn’t have imagined what our adult friendship would look like seventeen years later, but I think it’d look a little like it does now. Discussing our parenting fears and struggles. Admitting that there are good and bad things about living far away from home. Acknowledging that even though we’ve always wanted to return to our hometown, we’re so used to the lives we’ve built away from that town that the idea of going back gives us more than a little anxiety.
As I watched our boys run across my backyard and I looked at my friend as she held her beautiful baby girl, I thought of the two sixteen year old girls we used to be. We were cautious and self-conscious. We were planners and dreamers. We were driven and determined. I want to reach back in time to give those girls a hug and tell them to lighten up a little bit.
And tell them that they’ll find each other again. They’ll be a little older. Life will be a lot different. But they still have a lifetime ahead of them for friendship.