Meet my Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
From left to right: Misty, Charissa, Jennifer, myself, Ashley, Holly and Cassie. We met each other in our 20s in a young adult singles ministry almost 20 years ago. We hung out often. We went to parties together. We were part of the same bible studies. We talked about boys together. And over the years we have gone through the highs and lows together. We have been there for one another during family deaths, marriages, babies, cancer, disabilities. etc.. The experiences we go through together continue to grow us closer together.
This weekend I had the joy of writing to you from Dallas. It is one of my favorite places on earth. It is where my roots grow deep, where I feel loved and where I truly feel at home. I think I have talked often about how difficult my transition has been moving to a new town. Although Columbia is now home, I always have felt like something was missing.
Since college, I have moved to San Fransisco, San Diego, Tulsa, New Mexico, Oklahoma and now Missouri. In each new place, I have found new friends, new stomping grounds and I have felt fulfilled. During those seasons of life, I have always been able to go back home with ease and see family/friends frequently. When we moved to Missouri that all changed. Jon Marc had to focus on school which translated into fewer trips. The business also took up a lot of free weekends, too. Then when I became pregnant, traveling became infinity more difficult. With Pearl, I find traveling to be hard on her as much is it on us. All that to say, the amount of time I travel back to see my loved ones has lessened.
I have tried to find a way to fill that void after being a mom in so many ways. I miss my girlfriends. I miss my family. I have a hard time making friends lately. Maybe it’s the fact that we have very little time to invest in them, but I think it’s just hard to “grab coffee” when you have a baby in toe. But I have tried. I have joined every mom group. I have switched churches. I have invited people to hang out. I kept feeling like I was hitting a wall. I became increasing lonely. I missed my ya-ya sisters. (and a few special others…Ash, Linda, Lara). I thought about it for days, but my ya-ya, Jen, said it best.
“I started thinking about how long we have known each other and all of the things we have walked through together. When we met, we were all carefree single girls. Through the years, we have celebrated 6 marriages. We cried and prayed through the deaths of a mother-in-law, a sister, and a mom. We prayed with one of the ya-ya’s with her battle against leukemia and for her twin pregnancy. We walked with one of our ya-ya’s as she has fought for her daughter through MS and the complications it brings. We have also watched her triumph through it all with a smile. Prayed as others longed to start a family. Together we have purchased 11 houses and been through 22 moves. I have changed my careers 5 times and finally started my own biz. Three of us have moved away from Dallas. We have seen several blessed with the opportunity to stay at home to raise their kids. We have traveled together, and we have become shower-throwing extraordinaires. We have dealt with complicated family situations, and we have welcomed 7 beautiful children (with more on the way)! To call them friends is an understatement. I love them.”
Seeing them again this week was like a breath fresh air. We are all so different and yet know each other so well. I feel like I am at home with them. They know details about my life that others will never know because they weren’t there to experience them. Most of all, I feel known by them. Every time I go back, it’s like time has stopped and we are back to where we left off.
It was on my trip to Dallas that I realized I really do have everything I need wherever I go. They may not be physically close enough to grab lunch with, but they are there whenever I need them. It’s an incredible bond that cannot be weakened by distance. I’m learning to realize that my desire to fill their spots locally will never happen and I am more than okay with that. It may feel lonely at times, but somehow I feel like what we have is rare. Don’t you?
So in turn, it makes me think of you, my dear reader. Do you have a set of friends you consider your ya-yas? If so, hurry up and let them know how much you love them. If you don’t, it’s never to late to form those friendships. Life is too short to not flourish in friends. And truth be told, wherever you go and whatever you do God does not forsake you. He will not leave you. You are never truly alone.
I’ll leave you a few pictures below. The pictures are just proof that it is better to grow old together than alone.