Missing my BFF
My best friend visited a couple of weeks ago. It was 15 years ago this year that we met in our Chemistry 101 class in college. I had this chronic habit of sleeping through the class (the professor would start talking carbon atoms and my eyes would glaze over – if only I had his lectures now on my nights of insomnia!). The class met in a large lecture hall and one day, I happened to sit next to Jill. I turned to her, asked her to wake me if he talked about something important, and fell fast asleep. Jill – being the far more responsible chemistry student – did. And from that moment on, we’ve been best friends.
We shared much laughter and many adventures throughout college and then both moved to the East Coast for work. She’s a huge history fanatic and couldn’t wait to live somewhere with battlefields and stuff (I know, she’s so weird!). I just wanted to move to a place where winter lasted only four to five months, instead of Michigan’s ten months (this may be a slight exaggeration – but very slight). We lived in different cities, but met at least once a month at our halfway point, Washington D.C. Those were some great years.
Jill eventually moved back to Michigan to be close to her family and my family moved down to Virginia for me. Virginia was my home for six years and then life pulled me out to the Southwest where I met my husband. (Jill gave the world's greatest speech at our wedding!)
As a military wife, I’ve moved many places since, but one thing remains the same: my friendship with Jill. Some years, I am only able to see her once. Others, I’ve been lucky enough to see her a couple of times. It’s never enough. Traveling has made me weary. Beginning my life anew every few years has made me homesick – not for a specific place (I’ve lived in too many), but for my people - my friends and family.
My husband and I sometimes talk about where we’d like to live when the choice is finally ours again. I used to name what I considered to be the coolest cities or most beautiful regions, but now I realize that location really isn’t as important as the people with me. I am tired of being alone and trying to forge new friendships, which just seems to get more difficult as I get older and in all honesty, my introverted personality has definitely been an obstacle. And they are never as close as my friendship with Jill (and Laura – a story for another day). Besides my husband, no one knows me as well. And let’s face it, as wonderful as our husbands are, they can never completely replace our best girlfriend.
Saying good-bye is always so hard and never without tears. My husband jokes that Jill and I tear up at the same time, hug, pull ourselves together, and then, tear up again at the same time to repeat the cycle. We’re so alike. And watching her walk away to get to her gate at the airport that night just over a week ago, I cried and cried. It breaks my heart every time. I know that it’ll be a long year.
People always say how important family is and I agree, but sometimes friends are family, too. Jill is family. So, this message is for you, Jill: I love and miss you, girl. Thanks for being awesome. J