Friends, I love to read. I really do!
I just don’t have time for it!
Could I be reading rather than blogging? Yes (but then you’d never get to read this and then whose life is for the worse? HA!).
Could I be reading rather than doing laundry? Yes (but then no one would have clean clothes in this house, including myself and that would be no good).
Could I be reading rather than making dinner? Yes. I have no rebuttal here. 🙂
In all seriousness, I really could read when I go to bed at night and that is probably the best time for me to read because it makes me sleepy. The downside is that’s the only time during the day that I turn the television on and sometimes… I just need some mindless TV to end my day!
But my best friend still attempts to keep me reading by buying me a new book every Christmas. I usually do read them at some point, but the latest one she bought me, I probably read quicker than the others.
“Nobody’s Cuter than You” is written by Melanie Shankle. Melanie has a blog called The Big Mama blog. If you read her ‘About Me’ section, you might understand why I think she is hilarious. Her humor is what I always hope my humor to come across as… yet never gets there!
Melanie also has a few other best-selling books under her belt, but none have really seemed to get me as much as this one. And how clever of my best friend to give it to me!
The book is basically of a synopsis of her life with her friends. It starts at a young age and weaves you through elementary school, middle school, high school, moving, marriage, divorce, breakups, college (lots of college – she is a Texas A&M grad, which is truly not surprising… I know quite a few Texas A&M folk… they are ‘one’), post-college, babies, 80s hairstyles, 90s fashion, jealousy, fear, love and most of all… laughter.
You find yourself reminiscing on your own journey with your own friends as you travel along hers.
And let me tell you… once I was a few chapters in, realized the importance of Gulley, Melanie’s tried-and-true best friend for life, I texted Jenna.
Most of you know that I grew up in a very small town in southeast Kansas. I had a lot of wonderful friends growing up. At one point, I was part of the ‘7 Best Friends Club’. I mean, I think that’s what it was called. Sounds incredibly snotty and rude… Luckily, I can tell you that this was in like third grade and didn’t last long and I can also tell you that I can name maybe three people that were in that group. I wasn’t best friends with most of them past elementary!
My main squeeze in those elementary years was Mariza. She was this really pretty, REALLY funny girl with long dark hair, had a love of Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey (like myself), really good clothing choices, and a huge bedroom all to herself (something I never have enjoyed in this life)! We loved the visiting boys across the street, she threw me a surprise party in seventh grade (I walked in to Madonna’s “Material Girl” and that was one of the two real surprises in my life – the other was when Tess was born – and we didn’t know if she was a boy or girl), she made ridiculous videos with me (music videos, cheer videos, you name it, we videoed it), she was my other half for quite awhile.
We got into high school and started to drift apart, but it was OK. Life moved on (and it’s also a crazy small world because here I am, 17 years out of high school (!) and now live in the same city as Mariza – life is funny).
I luckily ended up with some WONDERFUL friends in high school… there were usually six of us. Three boys, three girls. Zero love interest. But I loved them. Truly loved them! We weren’t partiers (though some of us might have tried to pretend to be sometimes just to hang around the cute guys – 🙋🏼). We were ‘drive to Bartlesville to watch a movie and drive back home, windows rolled down, singing “Goodbye Earl” ‘. That was our friendship and I truly am grateful for it! We had each other’s backs.
And life continues on… and lucky for me, my best friend has trudged on with me.
Jenna and I are most of the time complete opposites.
She is smart. I was not (or not her level of smart). She was/is a book nerd (this is not mean, this is true, she will tell you). Like I said earlier, I can barely get through one book a year. She teachers young children. I can barely get through a homework assignment with mine. She always has the best words of wisdom. I am digging through google to find motivational quotes.
Where I falter, she does not… but it does go the other way sometimes. You can be CERTAIN that I have told her many times that she doesn’t need to be buying large clothing when she is not a large person. I also give advice on shoes, accessories and hit-n-miss on the parenting help. I am HAPPY to listen to venting and complaining and if you need someone to talk crap on someone that has hurt your feelings, I’m your gal!
She has spent countless hours listening to me talk about nothing and everything, life and chaos, happy and sad times, trying and fearful times, watched me through some crazy love stories and watched me through my current love story (17 years of it to be exact). She has listened to me when I was very worried about my Reece (have I mentioned she is a teacher and thank GOD for that… the only other occupation I would be happier with was if she was a nurse!). She has brought me an XL Coke when I needed one the most and she would walk around the streets of Sedan with me and then go with me to One Stop to get a carton of Chocolate Chip ice cream.
She has been a rock in my life for more years than I probably want to count. And when the future is scary and a huge unkown, I atleast know that Jenna will always be there.
As I was reading this book, I was so mad I never had a highlighter when I needed one (how many times have you said that line to yourself), but instead I bookmarked. But let me tell you my very favorite paragraph in this entire book, which just happened to be in the final pages.
“We both learned how to be a friend by watching the women who came before us. Women who taught us that it’s okay to show someone who you really are – that when you stop hiding behind a mask of perfection and protection, you unlock something beautiful. We can say, “I’m hurting,” “My marriage is struggling,” “My kid is failing math,” “I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning,” “My pants are too tight,” or “I don’t see God in any of this” and know that the other person will not only help us find the part of ourselves we’ve lost but also see us safely to the shore. Our girl friends weave a luminous thread from the women we are to the women we hope to become. We may never find perfection, but we’ll never be alone.”
I cried through a lot of this and none of it was sad tears, but tears of “I’ve been there,” “I’ve done that,” “I’ve felt this.” They were good tears.
So if you’re needing a book that doesn’t make you think too hard, but brings some joy… give this one a go. I’m certain it won’t take you four months to read. ESPECIALLY if you read at night rather than watch trash TV.
And to Jenna… who runs in her first half-marathon this weekend and has been working her ASS off training for it, please know how proud I am of you, how talking to you makes me feel sane and how grateful I am for our friendship of forever.
Thank you for being my Gulley!