Make New Friends But Keep the Old

I am beyond lucky. I haven’t won the lottery, but I do feel like I hit the jackpot.   The jackpot of friendship that is.

Most women have a circle of friends that they can turn to when they need advice, want an opinion on something they’re wearing, or want to vent about their crazy children. I have three circles of friends that I am lucky enough to be able to do all of those things with and more.

My circles of friends all include some absolutely incredible women. My first group of friends are the very first friends I ever had in my life. When I was in preschool and kindergarten, I met the four women who have been a staple in my life. The four of us have been friends for nearly 34 years, which people often have a hard time believing. These women are some of the strongest people I know, having gone through so many different things. Between the four of us, we have been there for each other during a series of bad boyfriends, celebrated our wedding days together, grieved the death of a parent, celebrated the birth of our children, dealt with infertility, crossed our fingers while awaiting an adoption, and grieved the death of one of our own children. It’s amazing to think about how through it all, none of us have ever judged each other. I can’t say we’ve never been bitchy to each other, but even in those moments, we still remained friends. We learned how to apologize and move on each time we disagreed and did the work it takes to keep a friendship going.

For years we have taken a yearly girls-only trip together. We started this tradition the year we graduated high school. We can live in separate cities and not really talk to each other often, but yet that weekend when we get together, it’s like we’re all back in high school again having fun and being women with no responsibilities. We have laughed, cried, and made so many memories on our weekend trips, which I cherish more than they probably know!Make New Friends 1

My second circle of friends includes all of the women that I have taught with over the years. They have inspired me to be a better teacher and have shown me what true dedication means. I don’t think I would be the teacher I am today if they hadn’t been a part of my life at some point.

I am extremely fortunate to currently teach with women who have taught me so much over the years. These women are the ones I turn to in my everyday life when I’m stressed, angry, or filled to the brim with happiness. They have celebrated and grieved with me through many a storm and rainbow. They are also the women I look to for mommy advice and are my models for the kind of mother I want to be. We also have fun together on girl’s nights and have made some hilarious memories together that I often look to when I’m having a bad day.Make New Friends 2

I am also super lucky to have met and become friends with our neighbors and the wives of my husband’s friends. This third circle of friends are the women who I love to hang out with on the weekends in our comfy sweatpants and t-shirts. They are the ones who helped me learn to have fun and let go of the stress of the workweek. Their children play with my daughter and I love that our children are bonding and becoming friends as well.

I can’t tell you enough how important all of my friends are to me. They are like a second family. I’m so glad to have women in my life that are not competitive with each other. I know moms that don’t have many women in their lives to turn to and I think that must be hard. I think every woman should have at least one friend in their life that is there no matter the time of day, the amount of other things they have to do, or no matter what you weigh or look like. I wish I could lend out my friends to those that don’t have one because I know that if I didn’t have the women in my life that I do, a huge piece would be missing from my heart.

I encourage you in the next few days to call a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile, make amends with a friend who you possibly are holding a grudge against, or call a friend you haven’t seen in a long time and set up a time to get together. You will not regret it and your heart will also feel full just like mine. What things do you look forward to doing with your own friends?

Melissa was born and raised right here in Iowa. Although she grew up in southwest Iowa (about as close to Missouri and Nebraska as you can get!), she has called eastern Iowa home for 15 years. She and her husband Eric live in North Liberty, along with their 4 year-old daughter Kennedy. Melissa attended the University of Northern Iowa where she earned her BA in Early Childhood Special Education and her MAE in K-6 Learning Disabilities. She currently teaches kindergarten for the Clear Creek Amana School District, where she has taught for 14 years. In her spare time, Melissa loves to be outside playing or working on projects in their yard, spending time with family and friends, and baking up goodies for her family. She also enjoys taking walks with their two dogs, plump beagle Lenny and shy dachshund-beagle mix Cooper. Life as a full-time working mommy keeps her very busy, but Melissa wouldn't have it any other way!



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