Sixth grade was miserable.
I started a new school, which felt more like moving to a new country. Forget learning. I devoted all of my class time to worrying about how I would spend recess.
Would the kids ignore me? Would I have to pretend my shoes were really interesting and stare at them for twenty minutes like I did the day before? Would my hair, which I hoped would look like Farrah Fawcett’s but in reality looked like a giant brown bowl on top of my head, ever grow out so I could feather it?
The answers were yes, yes, and yes.
But both hair growing and friendship making takes time, and I couldn’t wait. This was the situation, people.
So, I picked a girl in my class and went after her friendship, hard. That girl was Krista LaVinge.
Krista was a perfect friend candidate for many reasons. First, Krista had feathered hair (hello, bonus). Second, Krista knew how to laugh (it was a loud-throw-your-head-back-kind-of-laugh). Finally, Krista told me she could tell my hair would look a lot better when it grew out (someone who saw potential in my hair!).
The week after I befriend Krista, she invited me to her grandmother’s. When we arrived at her grandmother’s tiny apartment, her kitchen table was full of cookies and crafts. Grandmas are wise. They know in sixth grade, cookies and crafts solve most problems.
In a very short time, Krista’s friendship changed me.
Look at this motley crew. They have big smiles and much wit, and best of all, they are mine.
These women will lip sync any Top 40 hit past or present, love hard, and wear liquid eyeliner. They show strength I envy and wisdom I learn from. They risk and succeed and risk and fail, and I need them.
Let’s make a pact to do two things today.
First, let’s remind our friends we need them. Call them. Text them. Write them. Or is better yet, is there someone you long to know better? Reach out. Make yourself vulnerable. Take a cue from Krista and tell your future friend that you see potential in her bad haircut.
Second, let’s pray for our children’s friends. Let’s remember the stress a new school year can bring and remind ourselves that one solid friendship can change everything. Let’s pray good friends come into our kids’ lives.
Your turn. Do you have a special friend who came into your life at a perfect time? Do you have a group of friends who support and love you? Do you pray for your children’s friends?
In other news, the final samples of illustrations for book one of my Gutsy Girl picture book series just made their way to my mailbox. Stay tuned.