A sister party

by arianne

I tape up a box, fill it carefully, thinking on each item quietly but quickly, and tape the box closed and move on to the next.  These things I’m doing now, I was doing this time three years ago, to move to the place we are now leaving.  Another move, but this journey — as a much different woman.

At that time, I was pregnant, leaving all my family behind in California, and had no idea what adventures lay ahead.  God was moving in us as a family, but we were broken in spirit.  My husband so stressed from work, my boys in a very difficult stage of their journey with autism.

We felt the call to start somewhere anew, to trust that it would be ok.  That we’d be ok.

It wasn’t until the next summer, finally all moved into our new home in Chicago-land, that I met my first sister friend, Steph.  Then months later I met Sarah.  Then Beth and Donya.  Then Erin.  We soul sisters somehow always managed to get together at Beth’s house (she has the prettiest place and likes to make us food), meeting regularly enough that no one ever went too long before spilling her secrets.

For that knowing hug, that soft and understanding shoulder, we’d never miss a night.  A quiet ear.  A tear or twenty. They are our currency.

A tribe of women like this are so hard to find, and I’ve never before now found them all in one place.

Now as I pack things up to move away from these sisters, I’m not in the broken place I was when I arrived here.  It is such a bittersweet time, leaving them is like leaving family.  Their void will not be filled in my heart by new friends somewhere else, it will always be there.  New friends and a new tribe may make their own path into my soul, but these sisters here will always have a home in me.

But I leave here a stronger woman, a more peaceful woman.  Someone who has had the hardest year of her entire life, yet will likely be closing it out as one of the happiest.  I wouldn’t be who I am today without these sisters.

As our circles grow and we’ve welcomed new and lovely and fabulous sisters into the fold, including my own “real” sister who ended up moving to my neighborhood too, these core sisters are where it all began here in this little part of the world.

So last week when we had a chance to have a final night together, a night that was originally planned to be at Beth’s house per usual but ended up at a Mexican food place because you don’t argue with a pregnant mama, we made it our Sister Party (Donya couldn’t make it because she had just had her sweet baby girl Eden).  We We gushed over the chips and salsa, then the margaritas, then the dinners, then the desserts — because that’s what we do.

picking desserts

*Erin and Sarah have a serious discussion — about dessert.

angry

*I’m not sure what happened here, but Steph might be jealous of Beth’s new cleavage.

incredulous

*Incredulous.

dig in

*Erin about to dig in, she won’t be reachable for the next 30 seconds.

hearing

*Listen.

We over-shared in the best way, told stories, laughed like crazy and all the while I watched them each (without them realizing it — just like a stalker) and took in each of their grace.

I took mental snapshots of each of them, their heart, their beauty, their love.  I didn’t want to forget a moment of us there like that.

Even though I’ll be gone soon, I know they’ll be just fine.  Without the internet I’d be more of a wreck, but I know even though I’ll miss seeing their kids get bigger and I’ll miss watching Beth’s belly grow and grow, I will eat up their photos and their blogs and emails and all the rest to get my fill.

LOVE.

***

Go read some other stories of sister parties.

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