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The Belly Laugh

December 31, 2013

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I have amazing friends. I love them all and value their friendship and the relationships I have with each of them so much… grad school friends, college friends, former students who became friends, work friends, and so forth. As I’m home in the frozen great white north for a few days (which would be Ohio, where I am totally freezing my converted southern ass off), I am especially thankful for my friends from high school.

Senior Homecoming. October 1999. L to R top row- Erin, Me, Val, the Bestie, TT, Megs, Cam. L to R bottom- DJ, Sean, Josh and Chris... various high school boyfriends

Senior Homecoming. October 1999.
L to R top row- Erin, Me, Val, the Bestie, TT, Megs, Cam.
L to R bottom- DJ, Sean, Josh and Chris… various high school boyfriends

There were nine of us who were really good friends in high school. Me, the Bestie, TT, Lisa, Megs, Erin, Val, Kel, and Cam. We were so different and yet we managed to be friends. We went through a lot even in high school… deaths, break-ups, teenage pregnancy (which was at a time when it was not glamorous and mainstream like it is today), and general high school drama. I learned a lot from them, even at such a young age. Next fall I will have been friends with some of these ladies for twenty years. TWENTY YEARS. That means we have been a part of each others lives for the majority of our lives. We all left for college nearly 14 years ago, and as is natural, some of us are closer than others, but we all do still keep in touch and know what is happening with one another in some way shape or form.

The Bestie and TT's bday dinner. March 2000, Senior year of high school. Left- Cam, Megs, Me, Val. Right- Kel and baby Taylor, Erin, the Bestie and TT

The Bestie and TT’s bday dinner. March 2000, Senior year of high school.
Left- Cam, Megs, Me, Val.
Right- Kel and baby Taylor, Erin, the Bestie and TT

A small group of us got together for an afternoon a few days ago while I was in town. Times have changed from when we were young little things who spent long days by the pool making plans for the night, and now has shifted to a group of women snacking around the kitchen island while six kids under the age of five ran around playing. It was chaos, it was entertainment, it was life changing and growing like it is supposed to.

December 31, 2000. New Years Eve freshmen year of college. L to R- Erin, Val, TT, Lisa, me (very blonde). The Bestie and Cam

December 31, 2000. New Years Eve freshmen year of college.
L to R- Erin, Val, TT, Lisa, me (very blonde).
The Bestie and Cam

I obviously spend a ton of time with the Bestie, even living far apart we are on the phone or Skyping with one another a couple times a week. After that I’ve kept up fairly regularly with TT, Val and Lisa. Erin lives in Seattle, Megs in Utah and Cam in Rhode Island… so that is harder and less frequent. And that’s okay.

Still though, I love that these women that I am close to know so much about me. They know my history, my family’s history- even the things I don’t like to share. And I know theirs. I know I can tell some of these women things and they won’t judge me… well, they may have an opinion, but regardless, they will support me. And I do the same in return- without hesitation. There is an inherent trust that emerges with all of that history and time. Even when we are mad at each other (which I’m not going to lie, it happens) we still love one another. And isn’t that how it is supposed to be? Why would you waste your time being mad at someone if you didn’t care about them? I love that I have been to or in each of these ladies weddings (minus Cam who isn’t married yet and Megs who is Mormon and got married in the Temple). I love that no matter the years or distance that these ladies have my back, and I’ll have theirs. I’ll leave those examples for other entries.

Aside from all the history, the inside jokes, the shared tears, the trust, and so on… one of the things that I love the most is the laughter. And I don’t just mean the giggles and the bubbly laughs… those are great. What I really love is that every time I am around these women we all experience the belly laugh at some point. By belly laugh, I mean those giant, laugh so loud your whole body shakes, there are tears coming out of your eyes and you struggle to catch your breath laughs. I love those, and I always have them with these ladies. I can’t even tell you the number of times over the last almost 20 years we have been THAT TABLE in the restaurant ( or high school cafeteria) that everyone is glancing at, wondering what is so funny. The sit there for hours talking and laughing, making sure we leave a really good tip because we took so long table. I love that. The Bestie, TT and I were hanging out last night and we had one of those moments… I couldn’t breath I was laughing so hard and I had to fix my makeup before we went out to dinner from the tears.

The Bestie, TT, Lisa, me and Val. One of those long dinners.

The Bestie, TT, Lisa, me and Val. One of those long dinners. January 2001.

I’m so thankful for those moments, these friendships that have given me an extra family in many ways and for having another new years eve to ring in with them.

December 31, 2003. Senior Year of college... still one of my most fave new years ever.

December 31, 2003. Senior Year of college… still one of my most fave new years ever.

And the weddings….

Summer 2004. Kelly's bridal shower.  L to R- Erin, Lisa, Me, Kel, Val, TT and the. Bestie

Summer 2004. Kelly’s bridal shower.
L to R- Erin, Lisa, Me, Kel, Val, TT and the. Bestie

Above, Kelly’s bridal shower.

Erin's wedding reception. August 2009. L to R- TT, the Bestie, Erin, a very preggers Kel, me and Val

Erin’s wedding reception. August 2009.
L to R- TT, the Bestie, Erin, a very preggers Kel, me and Val

Above, Erin’s wedding

The Bestie's wedding. June 2010. L to R- Val, Lisa, the Bestie, Me and TT.

The Bestie’s wedding. June 2010.
L to R- Val, Lisa, the Bestie, Me and TT.

I have this one from the Bestie’s wedding framed on my desk at work.

TT's wedding, January 2011. Front- Lisa and Erin Back- Kel, Val, TT, the Bestie and me.

TT’s wedding, January 2011.
Front- Lisa and Erin
Back- Kel, Val, TT, the Bestie and me.

This one from TT’s wedding is blurry, but it is the best I have of all of us on the dance floor… in the middle of a snow storm outside!

The last wedding. October 2012- Lisa's wedding. TT, the Bestie, Lisa, Val, Cam and Me.

The last wedding. October 2012- Lisa’s wedding.
TT, the Bestie, Lisa, Val, Cam and Me.

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