Even though this article is going to be published after Galentine's Day, and I most definitely will be mentioning more than just my gal pals, I figured that this is the best time to give a shoutout to my friends back home. This article is dedicated to the people I grew up with or met just before college, the people who impacted my life in more ways than one and helped shape into the person I am today. Without childhood friends and the groups I joined throughout high school, my life would be so much different and much blander.
We all have those friends
As we go through school year after school year and then some, we all have those friends we can never forget. The people who were there for us at our highest and lowest points, the people who will be there for a lifetime. These are the friends who know exactly what to say and when to say it. They're more than just your best friends. They're the people who will be there within the second of your call, no questions asked, and the people who will be there through it all.
Friends that became family
Growing up with my extended family all the way across the country, holidays and major life-changing events were celebrated with our closest friends. These friends were five or six other families with children around my age, that I got to see plenty during the year, oftentimes practically every week. I spent countless nights at each of their houses, with many of the older kids seeing me as the annoying little sister they had to look after. There were annual trips up to the Poconos and several photo albums made to commemorate them that I still look at to this day.
My mom once posted a picture on FaceBook with the caption "There are friends. There is family. And then there are friends that become family." Looking at the photos that went along with these words, I find that there is nothing truer. While we may not be related by blood, the memories that we have made bond us in ways that are stronger than you could possibly think.
Childhood friends and memories
These are the kids I met, starting in kindergarten and spending at least six hours a day with until middle school. My friends from this part of my life got to know me as the shy girl with a couple of close friends, and eventually the awkward person I became as I grew up and puberty hit. But, they were still able to look past all of that. With these friends, I colored like it was nobody's business and swapped books when it was time to go to the library during school. I ate lunch and played kickball with these kids. While we may talk once in a blue moon or not at all, these are still the first friends I made and the friends that I will never forget.
High school life
Very few kids from my middle school ended up at the same high school as me, so going into my freshman year was quite scary. I knew that I was going to be surrounded by hundreds of strangers and that I was going to need to find a new group of friends to hang out with. But, being apart of a program at my high school lightened the load and help me out quite a bit. I became close with the thirty, eventually twenty, other kids studying animal and botanical sciences with me and look back at the field trips, events, and competitions we participated in for kicks and giggles. I made friends outside the program, of course, getting close with my peers in various classes and electives, finding a group that I could talk about things other than farmer business with.
Eventually, towards the middle of my junior year, I found my niche with five other girls who really got to know me. These were the girls that I could spend hours talking over the phone or texting about dumb things, the girls that I still talk to regularly today even when we're over hundreds of miles apart. I know these girls like the back of my hand and miss them every single day. I look back at the countless photographs and Snapchat videos with a smile on my face and laugh a ton. They're the friends that I look forward to seeing when I go back home, the friends that will forever be in my life. I plan on being at their weddings, even if it means I have to crash the event (inside joke!).
Just a small thank you
Just like I said, this article is dedicated to everyone I mentioned above and more. It's a small show of my appreciation for all of you, along with the joy and laughter that you've given me. It's my way of saying thank you for the most significant memories and years of my life, providing me with the ability to look back at certain places and things, only to burst out laughing or into tears. So, with my whole heart, thank you, everyone. Thank you to everyone who I fought over stupid things with, everyone I laughed so hard I could barely breathe with, everyone I cried over cartoons with, and honestly just everyone who I've had the opportunity to meet and spend time with. You've all been amazing and I hope that I have the opportunity to tell each and everyone one of you exactly why in person.