1. My husband and I have been lucky in all the places we've lived to meet some great people.
  2. We had the joy of reuniting with a couple we grew to love during grad school in Iowa.
  3. The wife of the couple was a breath of fresh air to me in so many ways.
  4. Many of the wives of the grad students gave off a different, less welcoming vibe.
  5. There was an undercurrent of competition.
  6. Of comparison.
  7. In looking back on those days today with this dear friend who was figuring out the challenge and overwhelm of being a new mom with a husband deep into the stress of grad school at the same time I was,
  8. I was humbled and warmed that the very thing I valued in her was what she shared that she valued in me.
  9. She is real.
  10. She doesn't play the smoke-and-mirrors games on social media to give a scrubbed-up, bloated view of her life.
  11. She doesn't need to promote how smart her children are or how well-read they all are.
  12. She doesn't brag.
  13. She shared that her New Years resolution was to quit swearing (in front of her children😂❤).
  14. We have both been in a place where life was a struggle and it was hard to see the pictures of the brand new homes our friends were buying and the fabulous vacations they were taking when we couldn't seem to land a job.
  15. She was the friend who was due with her third baby a few weeks before I was due with what would have been mine...
    (Her oldest two match the age of my two)
  16. And I loved her enough to visit her —like a fool!—in the mother/baby wing of the University of Iowa hospital
  17. where I had given birth to my second child
  18. and where I found out a few months previously that I had yet again miscarried.
  19. She was calm and sweet when I dropped off a gift choking back tears and had to get the hell out of there.
  20. Today we hugged and picked right up where we left off a few years ago and it was balm to my lonely soul.
  21. I needed the reminder that, though they are rare in this day of perfect selfies and bragtastic posts,
  22. Real friends—REAL friends—exist and are a delight.
  23. I hope to live up to that compliment that she returned to me...
  24. That I am real.
    We were trying to look sophisticated at the Met today. I think we nailed it.😂