For the last 5 years, I’ve been making trips to Memphis with my mom and Mawmaw, sometimes my sister, because my mawmaw sees an oncologist there that specializes in the eye and eye diseases. The first time I came with them, we had to stay for a week. She mostly had to stay inside because she had had a very tricky surgery to implant a radiation device in the melanoma behind her eye to treat the cancer. We couldn’t leave the state of Tennessee as long as she was “radioactive”. My Pawpaw was with us too – the last long trip he ever made.

Mom and I spent every waking moment together that week, well every moment essentially,  because we shared a hotel room. We often laugh about that trip because she and I made some unforgettable memories over the course of those 6 days. WE were not confined to the hotel, so we got out and did things and even though it was a stressful time, we made the most of it.

Since then, we’ve had to come back every 6 or 9 months for follow-ups and we usually make the trip over a couple of days, so Mawmaw can go about it in a non-hurried way. We’ll drive into Southhaven, spend the night, usually do a little shopping and dinner, take her to the dr and then drive home. Doesn’t sound like much, but I’ll never forget these trips.

I’ll never forget these trips because I’ll never forget these women. My mom, my sister, my grandmother – they are my soul sisters. I’ve laughed more in the last 48 hours than I probably have in a month. Our times together are something I cherish and it’s one of the reasons I decided to make this our annual mommy/daughter trip destination this year. I wanted Reagan to have that experience of being with all of us and feel the richness that comes with being with your best girls.

And it’s not just these trips.  And it’s not just these women. I have been blessed to have some wonderful friends, amazing cousins, and a very special aunt that have also made my life abundantly richer. Whether it’s having a lunch date, or going off for a weekend together, or just sitting around and visiting over the holidays – I love these women.

For my mom’s 60th birthday a couple of years ago, my sister and I planned a surprise birthday dinner for her at one of her favorite restaurants. All the attendees wore tiaras. We call ourselves, “the tiara girls”. Mom and I have called ourselves that ever since we impulsively bought crowns one day while shopping and just wore them everywhere the rest of the day!

The “tiara girls” in my life, whether they own a crown or not (they should, however) have helped me through some of my darkest days and celebrated with me in my finest hours.

Now, I’m not man-bashing at all, okay? I love my husband, my dad, my male friends and cousins more than I can say. But only women can understand each other like other women. And, let’s be honest, men often come and go in our lives, for whatever reason. But our “tiara girls” – those are the ones that make you laugh at yourself, remind you that you’re not alone in your wifely/parental/professional/womanly roles. They’re the ones who rally when you are facing hardship or sickness or grief. They’re the ones who love your kids like their own. They’re the ones who diet with you, but also don’t mind splitting a dessert at dinner. They’re the ones who pray for you and with you. They remind you of what’s good about yourself and your life when you can’t see anything but the bad and the ugly.

If I could wish anything for my daughter, it would be that she have this same camaraderie with the women in her life. That even if she’s never the most popular, if she has 2 or 3 or even one good friend like I have known, she’ll be just fine.

For now, she thinks we’re all just a bunch of crazy old ladies. But one day, I hope she is one of us. Because she already is – even if she doesn’t know it yet.

My “tiara girls”. Every laugh, every tear, every hug, every ex-husband trash talk, every companionable silence – I hide all these moments away in my heart and I hold you there too. And I thank God for you.