I’ve never really been one of the “popular” girls. Sure, I was a friendly kid who was later liked well enough by most social circles as a teen, and these days, I can chat with other moms at the playground and make pleasant conversation with most adults. 

But when it comes to friendship, I never gathered those 100 pennies, like the saying goes. Instead, I’ve treasured up something even better: four shiny quarters—my few but fierce friends. 

Over the course of all the years my girlfriends and I have known each other, we’ve celebrated a lot of things together. There have been babies born, degrees earned, trips taken, goals reached, late nights spent on the couch giggling together like schoolgirls, and lots and lots of chocolate.

We’ve gone through our fair share of misery together, too. There have been broken marriages, family drama, heartbreaking deaths, difficult pregnancies, cancer diagnoses, job changes, faith tested.

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But no matter the circumstance, a steely thread weaves through and around us, hemming us in and knitting us together.

It’s as simple as this: we promised to be friends forever. 

And then we were. 

I remember observing my mom as I was growing up and marveling at the friendships she had. Some of them had been in the picture since she was a child herself—the girl down the street, the friend from high school. And somehow, despite distance and careers and families and life, they had remained a unit. They were friends long before I came into existence, and still, they are friends today. 

Because years ago they, too, made a vow.

They promised to be friends forever. 

And then they were.

Maybe it’s because women know the simple, powerful truth: our best friends are our first loves.

Long before I ever became a wife—let alone a mother—my friends knew me. They knew what made me laugh, what made my blood boil, the deepest dreams and fears hidden in my heart. And no matter what, they loved me. Even if we didn’t grow up together, we matured together, and as we faced the world along our various life paths, we had a foundation of friendship that both grounded us and gave us wings. 

We recognize something life-giving in each other, something that keeps us bonded no matter how often we delay girls’ night or that trip to the beach we’ve been meaning to book together.

And we’ve learned the secret to lasting friendship is not only about the promise to be friends forever—the magic is when you actually are

I watch my daughter now, just barely beginning to come into her own as a young woman. She’s making friends, some close, some casual, the early bricks of a foundation of rich friendship. I hope she’ll grab hold of her own tribe as she grows; that she’ll find the women who will be with her through thick and thin, through joys and sorrows, through whatever life may throw their way.

I pray that together, they’ll make their own promise to be friends forever.

And that then, they are. 

You might also like:

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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Carolyn Moore

Carolyn traded a career in local TV news for a gig as a stay-at-home mom, where the days are just as busy and the pay is only slightly worse. She lives in flyover country with her husband and four young kids, and occasionally writes about raising them at Assignment Mom