“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. ” — C.S. Lewis

I love this quote by C.S. Lewis. Friendship is the spice that adds flavor to life. It makes living more bearable during the days when all you want to do is curl up under your covers and never come out. It helps to make you laugh louder, love more, care that much deeper and gives you reason to act silly on occasion. If my Facebook account is to be believed, I have some 300 + friends. Now, I know for a fact that a lot of people on that list know diddly-squat about the kind of person I am these days and that’s alright. I’ve been rather picky too, I only add people whom I’ve at least had actual interactions with, because then, they would have all contributed to the person I’ve become.

In all honesty, aside from the women in my family, there are only a few with whom I have the privilege of sharing stable friendships. Some of them, I grew up with, some I have developed closeness with fairly recently. We have survived ups and downs, failed relationships and family drama together. They all play very important roles in my life. Even today, as I wade through the waters of motherhood, I lean on them for guidance, balance and support. I am thankful for the internet that I am somewhat connected to them this way. But I can’t help imagining a world where we aren’t scattered all over the globe. Where I can get together with them just to party like there’s no tomorrow have coffee, to swoon over our latest crush hunky husbands/boyfriends, or to stuff our faces with sweets have dinner!

These women are SO incredible that I decided to pay homage to them by sharing about how I met each of them and what makes them special. BRACE YOURSELVES, internets, for this is one EPIC POST. (Note: their names have not been mentioned to protect their privacy). They are, in no particular order:

1. T from Alberta, CA – I met T four years ago inside BlackWing Lair while our group of forty people were assembling for a raid, armed to the teeth, getting ready to kill Razorgore (if you haven’t figured out already, I’m talking about the game World of Warcraft, yo). We (and by we, I mean our avatars) were jumping around restlessly, tuning out our guild leader’s instructions and mooning tormenting one of our guildies and got to talking. That first conversation led to an exchange of MSN ID’s and before you knew it we were chatting almost every day usually for more than five hours. A year later, she flew all the way to my neck of the woods (for the first time too) to attend my wedding.

One of the things I find remarkable about T is the fact that she lives on the other side of the world and managed to tolerate the difference in time zones so we could chat and establish our friendship. Also, T’s ten years younger than I am but she’s wise beyond her years and very principled. She seriously has her head screwed on straight for someone her age (yeah, okay. I know I’m dating myself here but whatever). She and I share the same belief, the same love for books and the same passion for food. She bakes some mean cookies – I know this for a fact because she brought some for me when she came over. She introduced me to the wonder that is Reese’s Puffs and ruined all breakfast treats for me since then. You can imagine my frustration that I haven’t found any of that here in the Philippines! Sigh. Anyway, since I got pregnant and subsequently gave birth, I haven’t been able to log onto MSN to chat as much, so we took to emailing each other, lengthy letters at that. Not once has she complained about my not being able to be there for her the way I used to. She genuinely understands how catching up on sleep taking care of my Little Miss takes up a lot of my time.

2. H from Hong Kong – I remember thinking that she has got to be the epitome of the phrase ‘small but terrible’ when we met in my second year of college. She hasn’t changed at all since. She is not afraid to speak her mind, honest to a fault, and doesn’t beat around the bush. What you see is what you get with H, which is why people love to be around her. She’s a breath of fresh air.

During the first semester of our fourth year in college, things started happening at home that made me spiral just a tad out of control. I began to smoke heavily, ditch classes and forget to do homework and write thesis papers for school. I cared less and less about what happened to my almost-stellar academic record and just wanted to spend my days doing absolutely n o t h i n g. Well, H was none too pleased about it and after weeks of watching me self-destruct, finally sought me out to give me a good, swift kick in the behind, so to speak. She did this mainly because she was concerned for me, but also because I was dragging our thesis team down with me and my woe-is- me-I’d-rather-live-under-a-rock attitude. H was sick of it. You know what they say about true friends risking your wrath for the sake of keeping you on the right track? That’s the kind of friend H is. She loved me enough to make sure I wasn’t making a fool out of myself and putting my education on the line. It was one heck of a pep talk that she gave and I will be eternally grateful to her and love her all the more for it. I truly believe I would not have gone on to graduate and eventually become this fantabulous spit-mopping, poop-cleaning, snot-hunting, baby-toting person that I am now if not for that afternoon when she ended her justified tirade with a quietly but clearly muttered Chinese expletive.

3. M from Laguna, PH – We get our Jesus on in the same church but we only met when My Man, my brother and I finally decided to join the third service worship team, approximately two years ago . You know how it is when you meet someone for the first time and you just know that this person is rotten and rude and you instantly dislike them and want nothing to do with them? It was so not like that with her! She is super nice, friendly and honest – her personality just pulls you in. M and her husband make a great singing and guitar-playing tandem, but you wouldn’t know it for all the genuine humility that emanates from them. She has great taste in clothes, shoes and accessories and is extremely generous, that she surprised me by giving me bags and bracelets of hers that I admired for their cuteness. I’ve said I will never compliment any of her stuff again, lest she end up having nothing left in her closet.

We formed a bond between us that helped me get through the roughest of times during my pregnancy. She would text me to let me know she was praying for me and the baby. M would tell My Man how much she missed me whenever I couldn’t make it to practice and sometimes, even to church. When the pregnancy got a bit easier for me, she and her hubby were right there for us when I wanted to eat and eat and eat. Now that the tables are turned, it is my chance to support M and lift her and their unborn baby in prayer. She’s been advised to go on a 7-day bed rest because of threatened abortion. On this note, I ask that you include them in your prayers as well.

To M: Keep your feet up, tell stress to get as far away as possible from you, and your baby to stay put for a little while longer. Don’t hesitate to ask if there is anything at all that we can do for you. Also, we’ll be there for when the serious case of the munchies come!

4. C from Laguna, PH – Out of all these women, I’ve known C the longest. We became fast friends in the fourth grade when I transferred schools and became inseparable. We were in the glee and book lovers’ clubs together and spent a lot of time on the telephone after classes. My family loved her (they still do) because she was a good influence on me (she still is). She’s the kind of person that parents would totally want their kids to be best friends with. I can still remember the time in sixth grade when she wrote me a note asking me if it was true what she overheard from one of our classmates, who was saying that I was his girlfriend. It wasn’t. But I was horrified to have her think that I left her out of the loop. C was the first person I shared a meaningful friendship with.

Unfortunately, we drifted apart in mid-high school, and even more so after graduation. But as fate would have it we reconnected after college and we’ve kept in touch ever since. We would meet up a few times over the course of the following years. When I told her the happy news of my pregnancy last year, she was ecstatic and quickly gave me much-needed advice and support. We weren’t able to see each other until the baby shower seven months into my pregnancy (and coincidentally, three months into her third) but she and I would send text messages or call to keep each other updated. We are currently trying to schedule another meet-up (preferably before my Little Miss’ first birthday) – but between her two older sons’ examinations, church activities and family gatherings our calendars are quite jam-packed, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

5. D from Indiana, USA – D and I weren’t that close in high school where we met. In fact, I don’t think we even said more than five words to each other then. Although we went to different universities after that, through an unforeseen series of events, we were brought together and bonded like glue. Okay, they weren’t that unforeseen. We were both in relationships that weren’t exactly going to last, no matter how much we thought they would. We held each other up through those break-ups (and other subsequent ones), gushed like silly schoolgirls over newfound love and sort of matured at the same time when we found the respective men whom we now call our husbands.

She got married before I did and I still recall how lovely she looked as she walked down the aisle. D had found her match and her joy was apparent in her every smile. Then my heart broke a little when she up and moved to the US where her hubby had found a job. I was and am, happy for her of course, but at the time she was the only girlfriend I had that I saw on a semi-regular basis (selfish of me, I know). They now have two boys, the youngest born a mere two months before my Little Miss. Imagine how glad I was when she told me they are coming for a visit next year. Hooray!

6. J from Washington, USA – During the days I was feeling desperate and helplessly inadequate with my newborn, I joined an online community of mommies. One night as I was browsing the forums, I came across another mom whose screen name was decidedly Filipino in origin. You wouldn’t believe how excited I got about finding another Filipina in a community that was overwhelmingly American. So I did what only a person who was starved for other adult interaction would. I sent her a message and was delighted when she replied to confirm what I guessed. After a few short private messages wherein we established that I wasn’t a scary perverted creep stalking unsuspecting moms we were both first-time moms whose babies were born a few days apart, we swapped email addresses. Since February we have a running total of twenty-six messages.

Although J and I are relatively new friends, she has said that she feels as if we know each other so well because we share a lot of things in common. I completely agree. My experiences mirror hers; she lives on the opposite side of the planet but her world as a mother to her first child runs parallel to mine. We update one another on our babies’ milestones and I kid you not, the happiness we feel for the other child’s accomplishments are genuine. So is the worry we express whenever one of our babies get sick. We have become prayer partners, rallying over the health and well-being of our families. My Man has taken to calling her my pen pal (so old school right?), and we have joked about how our offspring could maybe share their futures together. Can you say shameless matchmakers? Seriously though, J is also one of two people (the other being My Man) who encouraged me to start up this blog, since she lovingly blogs about her family life herself. On another note: I still find it amazing that three of my girlfriends were pregnant the same time I was!

Proverbs 20:6 (New Living Translation) says “Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?” God has blessed me beyond belief to give me not one, but six such women! I don’t say it often enough, but I just want to let these terrific gals know that they mean A LOT to me. They have all definitely given value to my life countless times – I can only hope I have done the same for them.

Here’s to you girls!

Who are your best girlfriends? How did you meet and what makes them special?

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