At the request of the bride. (Day 99, Year 2)

At the request of the bride, this Yoke is dedicated to Julia. 

Julia is the friend I don’t talk about enough; and she is part of an always expanding circle of friends I also don’t talk about enough. These broads are categorically nuts; and beyond compare. I think I love each of them for every last bit of crazy. 

As I write this, at a bar that is basically closed, one of them is shouting about type things. Oh correction, she said it is not stuff (it is just about her ancestors.). 

I love them.

I am a woman of a certain age; and as I am that certain age; I know certain things. I know that it is hard to make friends and even harder to keep friends. I know that life is really hard and painful. I know that no matter how much we love our partners and no matter how our partners love us, life is still a really hard, lonely endeavor. We are all endlessly worried about our kids. We are all endlessly worried about our parents. We are all endlessly worried about aging. We all feel loved completely and at the same time not loved enough.

We still feel misunderstood, just like we did when we were 16 years old. 

Friendship, friends, is the most important of all the ships. 

I met Julia when we first moved to Eldridge. She, along with 4 other moms, responded to a post I wrote about being the new kids on the block. I remember when I met her. We talked about all the regular benign nonsense--the parent equivalent of the weather. And then she told me about her oldest son--and all the challenges and all the love and all the things. 

I felt immediately like I had a friend for life. And then I did. Our girls became friends. Our youngest sons became friends. And we became friends. Julia is the friend who will walk right up to you and say, "You are killing it at life." She says these things even when you are not. She watches your life and sees all the victories and all the grit and all the beauty and then she does the most beautiful, miraculous thing: She gives you a hug and tells you how proud she is of you. 

Unconditional love like this is really hard to find. But, here I am, a woman who found it. 

Happy marriage to my beautiful, wonderful, strong friend Julia. Thank you for loving me and folding me into your fold.