I didn't know I needed her.
We think what we need in a friend is someone just like us. Shared values, similar aesthetic. Someone who understands us completely and will never make us feel uncomfortable.
But when she walked into the library that day, wearing a shaved head and cut-off jean shorts, my heart jolted and my gut urged me to act. I was drawn to her like a mama of a newborn is drawn to caffeine.
She commanded attention by her very presence. She appeared strong and bold and stood out in our small, homogeneous town. I think maybe I loved her from that first introduction when I forced myself out of my introverted, weary shell to say hello. I didn't want her to get away.
Later I would learn that she didn't really trust me at first, and felt herself building a wall of defense based on preconceived ideas about who I was. She felt a little weary herself—tired of judgment and trying to fit in. Maybe we're all a bit battle-scarred.
It was not until weeks later that we uncovered a beautiful truth: we fit together.
I'm quieter and more conservative; I love wearing black. She strings her home with prayer flags and clothes herself in color. But we fit together.
Outward appearance does not tell the full truth about what lies inside. To get to the treasure you need to get your hands dirty. My most precious relationships have come when I let my heart lead on paths my head did not fully understand.
What I'm looking for in a mom friend is not someone who is just like me but one who models who I hope to be: a woman who carries herself with strength and dignity.
A woman who is a questioner, a beauty seeker; one who forges her own messy path and invites me to share in the adventure.
I'm looking for a friend who challenges me and lifts me up when I'm sinking. And who lets me do the same for her.
A woman who does not settle for status quo and is committed to growth. She makes mistakes and practices self-compassion. She sees me, actually likes me, and forgives quickly.
What I'm looking for in a mom friend is a human being that recognizes our worth does not come in our ability to perform, keep up or have it all together. All of the time.
She is authentic and cranky and drives me crazy sometimes with her quirks and strong personality.
And I love her all the more for it.
She doesn't keep me at arm's length or allow me to get away but pulls me close, into sisterhood, and does the work to stay connected though distance divides us.
She speaks life into me when I cannot breathe and tells me to turn my back when she spoons sugar into her coffee. We know each other's secrets and shame. We know we're safe.
What I'm looking for in a mom friend is one who mesmerizes me by how different she is from what I know and opens my eyes to the gifts in each soul I meet. She teaches me to do less talking and more listening. But also to speak up with the truth I believe she needs to hear.
She rejoices with me when I fly and grieves with me when my body and soul are heavy with pain and loss. She tells me when she needs me too.
There are turning points in our lives when beauty drops in unexpected. Unannounced.
That day she walked into the library all those years ago, was the day I learned what I was looking for in a mom friend.