When I was a little girl I loved spending time, making memories, with my best friends. I remember swinging on swings from tree branches in our backyards, side by side, looking up at the almost clear blue sky, trying to touch the vacant strands of clouds with our toes, whispering secrets to each other as the wind blew through our hair and the sun kissed our cheeks. I remember feeling this incredible sense of calm and as I came back down on my descend, I remember thinking to myself…I hope this feeling lasts forever.
As the years passed, I quickly came to understand that while nothing lasts forever, I’m thankful to say, my friendships with those close childhood friends still exist, and that these friends are still very much a solid part of my life today. What truly amazes me is that we’ve all gone through so much – we’ve moved away, we’ve come back. Some of us have married, some of us have had children, some of us have separated. Some of us have had, still have, giant successful careers. We’ve all loved and we’ve all lost loved ones. And yet through all of these changes our consistency and commitment to one another has not faltered nor has it wavered. As I stood watching Isobel interact with her friends, I reflected on my friendships and the adventures we’ve taken together over the years and I thought to myself…how did these friendships last this long? It hasn’t been perfect, nothing ever is, but no matter what has happened over the years, at the end of the day, we know we have each other.
As I pondered the big questions that constantly float around in my head like, how is this possible and what was it that kept us together, I looked on at my daughter as she walked side by side with her close friends and I thought…will this generation of girls be so lucky? With all of the daunting, impending changes in technology, the incredible pressures of completing a solid education, setting yourself so far apart from everyone else with the hopes that you get noticed even if only for five minutes of fame, how could these young girls possibly know the kind of friendships that we knew growing up – when life was about walking home for lunch without parental supervision, floating aimlessly in a tube down the credit river, riding our bikes until the sun went down. The media floods our lives with horrible stories every day and we are constantly bombarded with a reality that we did not have to face growing up and I think…how are these girls ever going to survive this?
As Izzie and her friends walked out of this magical garden, I stood there and watched as a wave of love enveloped them. It was as if they had emerged from another place in time. And as they stepped back into reality I could feel that they were carrying with them, a little more self-confidence, a pinch more of self-respect, a dash more of compassion and empathy towards each other and others, and that they had shifted a tiny step forward into learning more about who they are in this place and time, and who they want to be. And as I stood there amidst the giggles and the smiles, arms shoulder to shoulder, I felt this unbelievable sense of connectedness and in that moment all of the worry I had for her, knowing how scary the world can be and the unknown element of what the future holds, stopped existing and I saw the innocence and purity of friendship and youth as it should be, as I knew it to be, and in one breath the clouds of uncertainty and emotional chaos parted and a calm settled within my heart as I watched my daughter and her close friends come skipping towards me after having had a wonderful day at the Simply Sprouting retreat and I said to myself…that’s how…that’s how these girls will survive this…
Thoughts From Izzie:
“The Friendships I’ve Made, the Friends I Have…Friendship means so many different things. For me, it means having someone who is loyal and kind. Someone who always has your back. Someone you can talk to when you’re sad. Someone you can share great news with. Friendship means having someone who won’t let you down, not on purpose anyway. Someone you can have fun with and be yourself around. One of the best parts about Simply Sprouting is that I’ve met so many new friends. Everyone here is different and unique. We bond together and spend time on our own. We spend the day creating memories with our new friends and we also spend the day discovering our inner ME. Being a part of Simply Sprouting has helped me to believe in myself more. It has helped me to see that if I put my mind to something and believe in it – if I feel it in my heart – I can do anything. It has also helped me to see that I’m surrounded by other girls who feel the same way as I do…we just want to believe in ourselves and each other, and we want to be accepted for who we are. I hope that one day I can look back and say that my friends and I grew together from Simply Sprouting to Simply Blossoming – just like my mum! And don’t forget the most important part of all. Having a friend means being a friend.”