On the first day of sixth grade I was standing nervously in line, waiting for Mrs. Hageman to come and collect our class from the curb.
A girl I had never seen before came bouncing up to join the group.  She slid into line and waved her mom away, confident enough to take on a new year - in a new school - alone.
I've never forgotten the impression I first had of her.

Yesterday I called this girl from my fancy Google phone.  We talked for nearly two hours - the longest phone conversation I've had since I was dating Slice long distance. (And before that, probably middle school.)

We used to talk about friends and school and boys that never noticed us; book reports, debate speeches, e-mails, Mock Trial. We made ridiculous commercials and went to Classic Skating and Star Wars I and Hale Center Theater together.  Then I moved away.

(This picture proves that she was the prettier, less awkward friend. My hair?)

Now we talk about babies and husbands and jobs and houses, and how hard it is to not have control over our lives.  Now she's the one talking to her daughter while we're on the phone, like I used to talk to my younger siblings.
Now we are wondering how to raise our own daughters to be strong, confident, compassionate women.

It really got me thinking.

Thinking about the women in my life who have helped me, changed me, taught me, in so many different ways.  
Thinking about what I want my daughter to learn, from me and other people that she trusts.
Thinking about the kind of friends I hope she finds, friends she can talk to and look up to and stick with in an increasingly harsh world.
Thinking about her life as a woman, the trials and heartbreaks that will certainly come her way; the woman that I hope she becomes because of them.
The woman that I want to be for her - and anyone else who may be watching.

And I'm just thinking about how lucky I am, to have the mother and sisters and grandmothers, aunts, church leaders, neighbors, friends that I have always had.  The men that make our sisterhood possible.
We really all need each other, you know?

So ... thanks.  To all of you.  For being a part of my life.


Linnea said...

You know, my first impression of Laurel was a little different. I met her one day over the summer...when she was laying alone on Kari's porch swing singing Christmas carols.


But yes, she is an amazing woman, and so are you. I liked this post.

The Farrers said...

Good grief! What a delightful surprise to have waiting in my google reader after being out of town!! I loved our chat last week, my dear - almost as much as I love you! Together we'll get through this crazy gig called parenting. :)

P.S. - It's not my first, but my most vivid memory of you in 6th grade is your nervous habit of signing the BSL alphabet while working. Good times.

Jean said...

HAHA! You guys, both comments cracked me up. Leia - I can totally see her doing that. And Laurel, I'm sure it wouldn't surprise you if I said that I still sign words in my head ...