Just Heather

The 33rd item on my 40×40 list actually reads: Be a bridesmaid. And, I did, but it wasn’t what I thought. It still didn’t satisfy whatever caused me to write in on my list in the first place.

Actually, I’m not sure what possessed me to add that to my list since it wasn’t really anything I could work towards. But, in 2010, my sister invited me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. I helped her choose dresses. I answered frantic phone calls. I decorated the church. And, I stood beside my little sister as she spoke her vows to my new brother.

The ceremony was lovely. The reception was super fun. It was all exactly as it should be. And, yet, I still never blogged about crossing that item off my list. Every time I sat down to type it out, nothing came. Until I realized it was never about being a bridesmaid.

It was about having a friend who cherished you enough to ask.

And, it turns out? I’m already there, but it wasn’t a wedding that made me see it. It was walking into a restaurant for a birthday dinner with the hubby and finding out that my Saturday evening was never what I thought it would be.

It was finding a table full of fabulous people who loved me enough to throw an awesome surprise party. It’s friends who get me. Friends who know 35 isn’t easy,with my 40×40 list so far behind the halfway point. Friends who are there for me for fun & laughter or drama & tears.

Friends. I finally have them. In spades.

I have a best friend who would literally do anything for me. I have awesome friends who totally understand me but run with my crazy even when they don’t. I have loving friends who will lend an ear, share a cocktail, and drive me home after one too many.

I have generous friends who will go out their way to be sure I always have what I need — and plenty of stuff I don’t. I have new friends who are already willing to lend a hand at the drop of a hat. I have encouraging friends who not only inspire me to be a better person but work to help me get there. I have fun friends who make me smile when I need it and lend a shoulder when I’d rather cry.

Turns out, having friends is kinda awesome. I am so very blessed to have such amazing people in my life.

I’m in a much better place these days, than I was for much of my adult life. The hubby & I are happy together, enjoying one another and dating our way through the alphabet. The girls are growing up to be such caring spirits—I just love to see the people they are turning out to be. And, I have friends. Real & actual friends. I didn’t for so very long, but I never realized just how damaging that was to the rest of my life.

I didn’t know how to make friends, really. Where do grownups meet people? I tried playgroups but was worlds apart from other mothers, having started at age 20. I tried church groups but never really connected with anyone on a personal level. So, I pretty much gave up & went about my business. Along the way, great friends just kind of worked their way into my life.

At what point does an acquaintance cross that line into friendship?

Sometimes it happens slowly—you meet a local blogger for dinner once, just to know someone like you. Then, you grab a margarita together one day. And, before you know it, these are the people you consider your friends. They get you, and while most of your conversations happen via Facebook & Twitter, you know they’d drop anything to be there for you. Because you’d do the same for any one of them.

Sometimes, that line doesn’t take years to blur. Sometimes, it gets stomped on in an instant. Which is how I happen to know the exact date that MFJ and I really became friends. We celebrated our friendiversary earlier this month (what?! It’s a real thing!) in grand style. Next year, we’re sending save the date cards, though, because it was just the two of us for the Cosmo Moms 2nd anniversary celebration.

And, it is definitely cause for celebration because there is nothing like having a best friend. Every woman deserves to have a girlfriend in her life who knows all her faults but loves her anyway. Someone who can stop by your house without warning and never even notice the poor housekeeping skills. Someone who will listen to your daily rants & support you without question.

Not to mention, someone who will tell you when your butt looks fat in those pants.

MFJ has seen me at my worst. She shakes it alongside me every week in Zumba, when I look like a fool. She encourages my dreams—no matter how completely crazy they may be. She proudly displayed my graduation announcements & shares my triumph or trials with the girls right along with us. She’s there to answer my calls any time day or night and proudly tells the world all about my awesome.

So, this spring, I’m excited to tell the world all about her. And, celebrate her awesome!

Are you a blogger, too? Click here to register for a chance at 50 free announcements!

This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Last weekend, MFJ and I had the opportunity to attend the Pacers home opener. I’m a Pacers fan from way back and try to hit at least once game each season. (Yes, even without Reggie Miller.) This, however, was the first time I’d ever gone for a Girls Night. We had so much fun—I don’t know why we’ve never done it before!


You can read a full review of our experience at Eventchaser—with even more pictures, including a dog, a ghost buster, a pig and a penguin. Huge thanks to RazorGator for providing the tickets (front row, balcony level, yo!).

You may have noticed that little button over there announcing I am now an official Event Chaser. I mean, it’s bright orange so it would be kind of hard to miss. I signed up last week and just got offered NBA tickets for later this month. I’m so excited about it, all I can think is “Squeee!” I’m not sure that’s quite what they were going for with Wordless Wednesday.

I have always been a huge Pacer fan, although without Reggie Miller they’ve lost a little of their shine for me. I still try grab Pacers tickets at least once each season. Usually, I go with the hubby but this time around I’m sharing my Miami Heat tickets with MFJ—it should make for an interesting girls night! (Of course, it’s always interesting when the two of us get together.)

We moved to this city, an hour away from all my friends, nearly 10 years ago. In that time, I’ve made very little progress in making new friends and done a crappy job of keeping up with the old ones. Part of that was being a stay-at-home mom. Where was I supposed to meet people?

When Stacia started school, I thought I’d finally have the opportunity. I met plenty of other moms, but that’s when I realized something—I am was a young mom. Stacia came along in my early 20s. As in, I turned 21 when she was 2 months old. That put me at a disadvantage in the making friends department because there was such a divide between the other moms and me.

Now that Brenia is in school, I have met several moms like me (that’s moms who are like me, not MomsLikeMe, though I’ve met several of them too). There’s a connection between Montessori Moms and natural living that I was not aware of when I researched schools. This has been quite helpful in meeting people who share my interests and lifestyle. Plus, now that I’m an old mom the age gap has been erased.

One of the moms I met was Angie. Angie was smarter than I when she became a mother in a new area and she has what I’ve been craving. She inspired me in ways she could have never known (except she will now!). I set out to find it for myself. I started a Bunko group and invited all the women I kinda, sorta knew from school, Scouts and IndyMoms.

To be honest, we rarely play bunko. Mostly, it’s just a group of women who share cocktails once a month, laugh, share stories and commiserate. Our group is small, but I cling to our monthly girls’ nights like a lifeline. I didn’t realize how much it meant to me until last month, when our regular night fell on Good Friday and we failed at scheduling a new date.

Last Friday night, my friend and I decided to go out anyway. It was exactly what I needed. I wore a little black dress, but not the little black dress (that’s still 40×40“>on my list) and we hit the Indie Lounge theater to see Ghosts of Girlfriends Past starring my fictional boyfriend. We thought the movie was hilarious, but were apparently in the minority. Did I mention this theater has a bar? Clearly the other attendees should have taken advantage of the fabulous concession stand.

A chick flick, cocktails and girl time—obviously a new necessity.

Rachael and I met up with Ang for dinner Wednesday night. They graciously agreed to eat at Texas Roadhouse so baby could have her cheese fries (which, by the way, he finished off as soon as I got home!)

I never gave a lot of thought to meeting people you “met” online before except in making fun of my mother-in-law’s ex-husband #5. There is just something about blogs that is different. Sure, they are highly edited—few people reveal everything. But the snippets you do get are very real. I said last year when I met Rachael that she is exactly what I pictured. Ang, also, is exactly who I thought she would be. It didn’t at all feel like meeting someone new. It just felt like joining friends for dinner. Which, I guess, is exactly what it was.

I met up with Rachael for dinner again last night. She picked a local place called Bub’s Home of the Ugly Burger. I’m not really very adventurous, but burgers are burgers so I decided to give it a shot. Besides, the house that it runs from used to be a restaurant called That One Place and I always wanted to go there just for the “Who’s on First” humor of discussing it.

Per our usual style, we had a fun marathon dinner. I had half a burger and 2 orders of fries. They were so close to the ones I used to love from Red Robin, which closed a few years ago. I was just recently talking about that with a friend and craving them so it worked out perfect. After dinner we headed to Ritter’s where I had a banana split for the first time in 8 years! We talked and ate ice cream until they turned out the lights to kick us out.

I don’t know what it is about us that make our dinners last so long. Maybe it’s because we’re still just getting to know one another and have lots of stories to tell. Perhaps it will taper off eventually, but somehow I doubt it. Though, sometimes I fell like I dominate the conversation too much. I’m a bit of a talker, in case you hadn’t noticed! I am learning a lot about her though, so maybe it’s not as bad as I think. We just seem to mesh, despite the age difference.

I don’t always feel like an old soccer mom when we get together. Of course it probably helps that she’s the one driving around in the soccer mom mobile! I do usually feel like a fashion retard though. She always looks great, and I just throw on whatever is clean. To top it off, I get home and find something stuck in one of my teeth. Who knows how long that had been there looking all hot. We did eat outdoors at both places so maybe it was dark enough that I didn’t look like a total heel.

I’m meeting Rachael for dinner again tonight! Yay! She just told me I have to pick the place. Apparently we don’t know each other that well just yet. I am so indecisive about things like that. I’ve already picked 3 different places in the hour since I got her email.

It doesn’t help that I’m a picky eater. So you know the 3 I picked are virtually the same anyway. I have come to one decision—they must sell Coke. Not Pepsi. Coke. I don’t like fountain Pepsi so I end up drinking Mountain Dew. By the gallon. Not a good thing this week with my mind already racing.

I didn’t get to sleep last night until after 3. I just couldn’t shut it down. There’s so much to do before Friday and I’m so nervous. So to compensate, I’m pretty much doing nothing. Okay, that’s not true. I am raising my Literati rating pretty decently.