Guys. I’ve been trying to write this blog post for two hours.
Six years ago, when Simon and I still lived in America and started praying about moving back to England, I remembered meeting a girl named Sarah a couple of years before. She was a friend of my brother-in-law. She was from Texas, and had married a British guy, and we’d chatted for a little while at one of Simon’s gigs when he was in a band (which was a massive deal at the time, although I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned it here).
Anyway, I found Sarah on Facebook. And I stalked her for a little while before I finally sent her a nervous message and a friend request. It was only a couple of hours before her excited reply popped into my inbox. Yes, she remembered me. She was so excited we were thinking about moving back to England. Could we be friends?
And that was that. She was my first friend here, before I even got here. She drove me around neighbourhoods in our town and told me the best ones to live in. She organised a baby shower for me. She showed up with a car seat at the hospital when I went into labour with Adlai ten days early – before ours had been delivered from Mamas & Papas.
Her friendship has blessed me in ways I can’t even describe. I cannot count the meals we’ve shared. The times we’ve cried together (often in public). The times we’ve nearly wet our pants with laughter over how weird and awkward it sometimes is to be a Southern American ENFP in England.
I cannot tell you how good it is to have a friend who has been pregnant with you. Twice. Who has been on the end of the line at 2am when you cannot get your baby to latch, or has shown up at your door with sweet potato brownies when you’ve stupidly been doing a sugar detox on your birthday.
I cannot tell you how good it is to have a friend who sits you down and tells you when she is worried that the way you’re acting means there is some level of disconnect in your relationship. Not one who quietly shuts you out, or angrily snarls at you, or passive-aggressively communicates that you have somehow wronged her. One that believes the best in you even when you have been at your worst.
That’s why I’m having a hard time right now. Because Sarah – my soul sister, heart friend, permanent coffee companion – is moving to Seattle this weekend. I have let her know over and over again that she is doing the right thing, and that I am so happy for her adventure – because when I have moved from country to country in the past, that kind of thing hasn’t always been communicated to me. I know how important it is to know that the people who love you want the best for you, even if it means their own hearts breaking.
*I took these pictures of Sarah and our kids a couple of months ago. My favourite one is the 10th one down, which just perfectly illustrates what it’s like trying to take a portrait of someone with their kids around.