“It is better to be loved than admired. It is better to be truly known and seen and taken care of by a small tribe than adored by strangers who think they know you in a meaningful way. Quick charm is like sugar—it rots us. Only love feeds us. And love happens over years, repetitive motions, staying, staying, staying. Showing up again. Coming clean again, being seen again. That’s how love is built.”
-Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect
This was always a blog about friendship. When In Her Company was just an idea swimming in my head a year ago, its aim was to gather, connect, and encourage women, teaching us to stick it out, work it through, and allow ourselves to be seen. There are women who model this for me. I’ve grown so much because of them, but it didn’t happen overnight. Did I compare the heck out of those around me in my 20’s? Even in my 30’s? Did I leave little space for depth, choosing relationships that skimmed the surface over those that required vulnerabilty? Did I spend more time complaining to my friends than I did practicing gratitude alongside them? Yes, yes, yes to all.
But over the last few years, I’ve evolved in the way I do friendship. I’ve decided what I believe, when to stand my ground, what to set aside, whom to gravitate toward, and what to push against. I’ve offered myself grace for the mistakes I’ve made in friendships, and have given the women in my life the benefit of the doubt when they’re having a hard day. Or week. Hell, when they’re having a hard year. Always peeling back layers. Always accepting them for who they are. Always encouraging them to be the best version of themselves.
On a girlfriends getaway last weekend, three women celebrated the 40th birthday of a friend who is SO easy to love. She is entering a new decade of life with much poise and determination. The years leading up to her 40th birthday have been tumultuous. She’s experienced the loss of her brothers. We’ve walked through those tragedies together trying to make sense of them, finding that, at last, there are some things that make no sense at all. She’s moved to a new state, began a full-time career after years spent home with her babies, and pursued passions she’s long held like mental health awareness and care for veterans.
Part of celebrating her this weekend was about honoring the people whom she has loved fully over the last four decades. I feel blessed to be among them.
Many of us are nearing milestone birthdays, myself included in just a few years. Perhaps more important than a big trip, a ceiling full of balloons, or a party with everyone we know, is a gathering with a few of our favorite people. Those who love us patiently, hold us accountable, speak truth in darkness, invite us to share our story, ask follow up questions, and affirm and encourage our soul. Let’s celebrate well those we love, knowing the same thoughtfulness will be returned to us.
///Pictures taken at Beach Plum Farm in Cape May, NJ///