Katrina's Bridesmaids

Nineteen years. That’s how long it’s been since this picture was taken. Our October day was take-my-breath-away stunning in every way imaginable. My brand new husband, my family, my friends. Lots of booze and dancing. Wedding cake. Billy Joel. Forever vows.

I was looking through old pictures today, reminiscing, laughing. We were such babies when we married — just 24 and 23. Did they really let us sign a marriage license? And two years later, let us create our first human being?

See those beautiful women in the picture with me? They were my life at 24. The culmination of my childhood, my high school years, my college memories, my entire existence. At 24, they comprised everything that was real and good and important and beloved.

When I looked at that picture today, I felt a little heart tug. Because as we’re all aware, things change. One of those women has chosen to no longer walk with us. Another has willingly moved to the periphery. A couple have grown distant due to time, geography, circumstance. At 24, I would never in a million years have imagined this scenario. But life has other plans.

And on the flip side, there are those who remain steadfast, loyal, and present. There’s one who just called me — breathless and fun and crazy and supportive, as always — from NYC. One who recently “Moondanced” with me in the middle of The Rathskellar. One who stood beside me as we watched our Mom wake up from yet another surgery.

These women shaped and molded and made me. We’ve married husbands, divorced husbands, made babies, nursed aging parents. They held my hair while I vomited, held me in their arms while I cried. We’ve helped, hurt, broken, and mended each other. We’ve screamed, fought, forgiven, and moved forward.

And if that picture was to be re-taken today? I can happily name all the others who would don those horrible shades of purple and blue to stand with me. Friendships made at 25, 32, 39, 41, and everywhere in between. Women who have lifted and loved me throughout the past two decades. Sisters, soulmates.

Perhaps some must leave so others can stay.

In nineteen years, so much changes. And so much remains the same.

Chris and I have 26 years and four kids under our belts. We’ve lived in three states, nursed a critically ill baby back to health, buried dogs and guinea pigs and hamsters, changed jobs, added degrees (well, one of us at least…), bought and sold homes, gained and lost weight. We’ve laughed and loved and created an extraordinary life.

The beauty of this existence is that until the final breath, life always gives us another chance to discover something new, to hold on to something precious, to let go of what’s no longer needed, to remember and honor, to embrace what is yet to come with arms wide open.

That’s worth celebrating.

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14 Responses

  1. I absolutely LOVE this post. My women friends are life-affirming, amazing, can’t-live-without-them people. It sounds like yours are, too. My heart hurts because I, too, have lost a few of them along the way. But I cherish the memories.

  2. Is that Andi on your right? I love your friendship stories…always! I hope you’ll meet a couple of mine at Heartland this week! Can’t wait…

  3. I am married to a fairly non-communicative man. I used to think this was an occupational hazard for lawyers, who talk to people in crisis all day long, but now I realize that Jim is just quiet and mindfully chooses each of his words. It’s weird, I know. I realized early on in our marriage that mine should not be added to the voices of the masses. My girlfriends have provided me with a relationship-saving avenue to over-communicate and I would hate to think where I’d be without them.

  4. Happy anniversary, my friend! I chose my sister and my nieces as my bridesmaids, because I couldn’t choose from all of the others, I think. I love that you recognize life’s changes and realize that without malice, it just happens. You are a beautiful soul.

  5. How right you are in that it is all part of the wonderful journey of life! Having moved 6000 miles away from where ‘home’ was, we have made new friends, lost some old ones, and then there are those whom we’ve not seen in years and just pick up where we left off as if it were yesterday. Friendships contribute so much colour to our lives.
    Happy Anniversary!

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