I sat on my blanket watching my kids play in the little paddling pool. This had been one of the best summers for us. My oldest was free to be anywhere in the pool on his own and the younger two were easier to manage then before. I was soaking up everyday with them and making memories. This day, they were happily entrenched in a big game in the little pool and I was enjoying some time on the side.
There was a pretty big crowd at the pool that day as the sun shone hot and I chatted with some ladies that I knew.
Another mom came with three young kids. I thought they looked so close in age and she seemed so calm. It suddenly dawned on me that my three would have seemed like that, a couple of years ago too. Wow, how did I do that? How did time go so fast?
The longer we sat there the more I was drawn to this fellow mama. Her countenance was so peaceful. I struck up a conversation about her kids. We exchanged ages of our kids, compared age gaps, discovered we had both been homeschooled for a time, and that she was thinking of homeschooling and was excited that I homeschooled my kids.
In that little bit of time we exchanged so much, except names. I left realizing I didn’t get her name, but I hoped she would be at the pool again.
Little by little, each time we came, we would be there together. Our kids began to connect. We never finished a thought, much less a full conversation, but each time we’d just pick up where we had left off.
I found out she was just in our town temporarily, caravan-ing along with her kids while her husband worked so they wouldn’t have to be separated and do long distance.
I respected this desire to protect their family unit immensely.
One day rain was in the forecast and so I invited her and her kids over to play with us. It broke down the barrier of simply being “pool friends” and suddenly an unexpected friendship was born.
We discovered so many things, like our mutual love for God, being former competitive gymnasts, our drive to educate our children and of seeing the purpose and passion of motherhood redeemed.
We started doing life together.
Truthfully, I wasn’t looking for a new friend. We had recently found out we were moving far away. I had other friends to connect with. It seemed like a time to be tying up loose ends, not forming whole other attachments. And yet here was this woman, plopped into my life, like a breath of fresh air to my summer and my day to day life. She began to encourage, inspire and impart so many valuable things into my life.
I learned so much from this surprising summer friendship. I learned that God has amazing people for us to encounter if we will open up our hearts and share our lives.
I learned that God’s plan is so much better and more exciting than anything we could conjure up on our own. My natural instinct was to sit comfortably on the side lines and take a break from being in the pool that day. I never could have guessed that God had a gift for me that just walked in and sat down.
I learned that making friends can be intimidating. It takes courage to be vulnerable with a new person. I have been overwhelmed at the thought of starting over with a whole new group of people. But new relationships are worth it. You never know when you will uncover a treasure of a friend who will understand your heart and add heaps of value to your life (and hopefully your’s to their’s too!).
I learned that saying yes to relationship is worth it. I’m grieving the fact that I have to say bye to my friend this weekend as she heads home and we begin to prepare for our move. I’m grieving every single one of my friends that I will be leaving behind here. But loving is worth it. Even for a short summer. Even for an incredible five years. All the friendships I have made here in Kipling are so worth it. As much as it hurts to say goodbye, I am the better for having said yes to them. A sad lie to believe is the one that says it’s better to never go deep so that you never hurt. Even the pain of parting is soothed by the richness of relationship that was there.
Yesterday, Kateri, my sweet-summer-friend, came and did an in home workshop at my house with some moms. She came early to get set up, and I welcomed her in with no make up, messy hair, dishes dirty and teeth not quite brushed. I smiled to myself, as she shut off my beeping oven timer and I picked up her crying baby, and realized I have never had a friend like her in my mothering years. I kind of think that’s sad for a thirty year old to say. Maybe I’ve been self protective and holding people at arms length. Maybe I haven’t had a great friend who has lived right in town to be with at the drop of a hat. But in that moment I realized this is what I want. These are the friendships I want to cultivate. These are the people I’m trusting God to bring into my life.
This is my next season’s brave yes.
Yes to friendship.
Yes to doing life with others.
Yes to being part of the village.
Yes to risking my heart and stepping out to connect with someone.
Yes to all that God has for me.
If you have been struggling with a lack of deep friendship in your life, or perhaps have had a fear of going deep, I hope my story of an unexpected friendship encourages you. I hope it empowers you to strike up a conversation. To share your life. To invite someone over. To trust that God has a good plan for your relationships. To forgive any friends who have hurt you in the past and believe the best of the ones to come. To say a brave yes because:
“We are certainly not those who are held back by fear and perish, we are among those who have by faith and experience true life!” Hebrews 10:39
Oh I love you guys. You readers and sharers of this journey. I’m so proud of all your brave yeses. Keep sharing your stories and stepping out. God’s got you! True, rich, meaningful life is worth the leap of faith!
You can follow along with my new friend on Instagram, @KateriMarie, as she shares her inspiring motherhood journey and her Montessori-inspired way of life.