The Friends You Keep



Dear Mackenzie,

Before you, my group of friends mainly consisted of inappropriate bus drivers and single-mother cafeteria ladies who find communicative men in this day-and-age fabulously refreshing. Oh, and my mom. (Don’t laugh, you’re the one who married me). But when I met you and slowly began to melt my life into yours, I discovered some pretty amazing people; people who call you on your birthday (who remember your birthday), who come to support you and your family at performances, who give hand-written notes for no real reason, who hook you up with cool perks, and who run to your aide without ever being asked. All in all, your people are pretty dope. As are mine. And the best part about it? Your friends and my friends are now our friends.

That was part of the lure and magic I first saw in you; the immediate and lasting affect you have on everyone you meet. Your goodness is made evident every day in the classmates, co-workers, church friends, former roommates, and perfect strangers who seek you out to both comfort and be comforted. You’re an emotional Mother Teresa to an entire world of people, able and willing to get in the pits with your friends and, without judgement or objective, lift them up with your example and infectious optimism. Don’t believe me? Refer to the list below. They can all vouch for your bomb-tastic-ness. Oh and don’t forget, we have that thing with Alyssa and Gideon on Thursday.


Your mom, sister and I were nearly hospitalized after this blessed event.

Married Friends

Yeah, so I start here because these were the friends we used to resent until we became them. Mostly because we HATED driving to our respective apartments at the end of the night, whereas our married friends would just fall asleep wherever they were and wouldn’t get honor-coded when they woke up without pants. For some reason, those were the biggest advantages of married life to me: no end-of-night commute and no pants.


I’ve met Megan (behind me) twice. Both times she was pregnant. Both times with different babies. Rock on.

Friends With Kids

Yes, I think your son’s tiger-print onesie is adorable. No, I will not check his diaper to confirm whether or not his poop consistency is “iffy”. Not judging here, the closest I’ve come to parenting was that one time I helped a kid who fell into a puddle and then immediately told me to keep my “soft, Turkish hands” to myself. Whoever his parent are, they’re obviously winning people – people we would be friends with.


Nomad on the left, Crossfit beast on the right

Nomad Friends

Kristen: Hey, what’re you up to?

Me: I’m lost in Ikea and there are no windows. You?

Kristen: I’m at a cafe in Morocco and have a few minutes before my camel gets here.

Me: Swedish meatball, say what?

(actual conversation)


Don’t let her fool you, Rachel is LOADED.

Rich Friends

Rich Friend: Hey, we’re all going to Aspen this weekend. Come!

Me: I don’t have any skis.

Rich Friend: Uh, buy some!

Me: Dude, I steal toilet paper from the testing center.

(actual conversation)


So much righteousness.

That Friend Who Won’t See Rated R Movies

“There is a moral difference between Braveheart and The Wolf of Wall Street.” This is the kind of conversation I’ll have for two hours with “that friend” before eventually giving up and watching Fern Gully 3. And yes, I know how you feel about rated R movies, but I distinctly remember you watching The Pianist and loving it! Spirit of the law, Kenz. Spirit of the law.


Mara (next to Jesus in a boat) is having a mild stroke.

That Friend You Call to Go See Rated R Movies

This friend understands the spirit of the law.


No one hikes on their day off for fun. Except the Sherman’s.

Overly Athletic Friends

Fun and exercise are two different things.


Meanwhile, I’m somewhere buying a bed skirt.

Granola friends

My idea of camping is staying at a hotel that’s a little too close to the airport. Did the cultural generation before me build homes and plow fields with children on their backs? Sure did. Do I want to? Sure don’t! But, I will say, that you have a full gaggle of earthy friends that could be dropped in the middle of the African plains and somehow build a shopping mall. And I respect that. Even more impressive, you have a friend who survived three days of my colorful whining on that trip to Havasupai. Shout out to Willie.


I resent not being in this picture.

Blue Moon Friends

This is the friend we see every other six months, but when we do meet up we get kicked out of a Chick-fil-a for laughing too hard. And after four hours of eating and crying and laughing and stories told and retold, we’re filled…hopefully enough to last another long absence.


Who’s that chick in the middle?

The “Why Are We Friends?” Friends

There are those friends we’ve had for 10 years but don’t really know what keeps you as friends besides a shared, distinct moment. Like that cafeteria water fight you both started in junior high.You both have different taste in music and movies, you don’t like each other’s “other friends”, and you both have completely different takes on Trump. But that friend was there when I went through that frosted tips phase in 8th grade, when my parents were going through that thing that almost broke them up, when I was lost in college, when I was lost in my first real job, when I was lost in my first serious relationship. Sometimes it’s simply the shared time that keeps us as friends. And throughout that time, they become capsules of the many “you’s” you were before you became “you”. That’s a good enough reason.

The Ride or Die Friends

Life seems to happen in waves. Sometimes they’re soft waves, lapping against your feet at sunset. Other times, they’re cataclysmic waves, uprooting trees and homes and lives. I’ve found that there is a priceless collection of people who are first to the scene of wreckage; despite the second wave sure to come that may take them too, despite the personal price of their rescue, and despite the waves in their own lives. These are the friends who come through, because it’s a short life; full of responsibility and surprises and too little time and too many unknowns. And they know that. And they ride the waves with you. And life is good.

Love, H

2 Responses
  • Veronica Noelle Andrew
    April 28, 2016

    Oh my goodness, I want to be more like Mackenzie when I grow up. <3

  • Mands
    May 17, 2016

    I love this, it’s so awesome. 🙂

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