Last weekend, I had the opportunity to hit the road and visit one of my best friends from college.

After a lengthy trip, I turned into the drive that led to her picturesque, suburban new home. Standing at its threshold, she stood glowing, patting her large stomach draped in a comfortable shirt, eight months pregnant, ecstatic and waving.

Like mine, her life was now a far cry from the moment we first met each other, nearly half a lifetime ago.

On a day that feels like only a handful of yesterdays ago, I was unpacking boxes in a room no larger than a storage closet, nervously jittery on a caffeine kick on college movein day. My parents had only left moments before; we’d had our tearful goodbyes.

Just then, a girl who lived down the hall came bounding into my room and introduced herself.

 

 

My new roommates and I had forgotten her name in the chaos of that disorderly day, so we affectionately referred to her as “Lip Gloss Girl” simply because one of my room’s cooccupants had asked to borrow her handy cosmetic.

Lip Gloss Girl eventually became one of my best friends. We formed our own circle of friends that remained tightknit throughout our four-year tenure at college.

Each of us pursued completely different degrees; there was no real overlap among us in our classes. But nearly without fail, we all regrouped at meal times, catching up over cafeteria omelets; walking to classes through rain, sleet blizzard conditions in university hoodies; embarking on weekend adventures as only early-twenty-somethings can.

In college, our lives were fairly parallel despite our varying professional pursuits.

But the true test of our friendship didn’t come until after graduation.

No sooner had we taken off our mortarboards had we begun wearing new hats.

We were geographically and professionally worlds apart, carving paths of each our own we delved into learning more about love, life and student loans.

I married my college sweetheart shortly after graduation, and over the next few years, each of my college pals followed suit as they wed their own men in suits.

Still, we kept in touch, keeping our sisterhood bonds strong despite our increasingly different lives.

And then children started arriving in the picture.

Friendships change after children.

When women become mothers, a sort of reset button is set, and life for all we know starts tilting on a completely different axis.

We’re staying up late talking about cute boys, sure, but only those in diapers, whose umbilical cord stumps are on the move.

New parents find common ground with other parents, simply because their new routines and lives are more aligned, complete with the understanding that spit-up stains are true badges of honor.

But despite my newly chartered journey that began when I became a rookie mama, Lip Gloss Girl and the gang never wavered in their support, even if they couldn’t quite understand what my life with its careful routines and three-hour breaks between Medela times was like.

Last weekend, I was happy to celebrate my friend’s new family beginnings.

Our old college pals were all back together for a few short hours, toasting to how we’ve managed to maintain our solid friendships despite our very different lives.

We were awed by each other’s stories, trials and tribulations, proud of how everyone’s been growing up.

And maybe that’s what it’s all about.

We thought our lives were at their most interesting peak in those cafeteria omelet days of yore, but our journeys were really only beginning to evolve and get exciting.

Perhaps it’s true that good friends are like quilts: They age with you, yet you never lose their warmth.

Like stars, they’re always there, even if you don’t see them.

And maybe, just maybe, your comprehensive tales that range from spit-up stains to professional pursuits will prove that it’s all a part of a friendship evolution.

Sharing great stories with your best friends and confidants is always a beautiful thing.

And that can never be glossed over.

— Michelle Cote is the art director of the Journal Tribune. She enjoys cooking, baking, and living room dance-offs with her husband, two boys and a dog. She can be reached at [email protected]


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