My Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Maybe you are familiar with "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" and maybe you're saying to yourself, "What the what?!" Either way, I will give you the high points. The Ya-Ya Sisterhood is a group of young girls who grew up in a Louisiana Parish together and forged a bond, a sisterhood in the midst of their diverse home lives and personalities. There were four of them: Vivi, Caro, Teensy and Necie. Their friendship lasted through marriages, children, divorces, loses, heartache, heartbreak, alcoholism, war and so much more. In their youth, they marked their sisterhood in a blood oath by the fireside in the woods one night and chose their Indian names based on their personalities. I had a group of girlfriends with whom I forged a similar friendship during our adult lives that has been through similar turmoils and we, too, called ourselves the Ya-Ya's.

My Ya-Ya's were MW, LM, AL and TMK. We all worked at an insurance company downtown together. We had some of the most laughter-filled times together. Unlike the Ya-Ya Sisters in the book, some of our friendships were just for that season of our lives. First, MW lost her job in the midst of a management change where her boss moved to Florida. Then, AL went to another company. And finally, I left, too. TMK and AL are still there today even though the company has been through many changes and changed ownership hands many times during our tenures. TMK has long since drifted out of all of our lives. She lost both of her parents to cancer within 18 months of each other and then divorced. In the midst of her divorce, she moved on from the people of her former life. Once AL married and had children, her time with us became less and less. We are all still connected on Facebook, but we're no longer the close-knit sisters we once were. LM is married now and we're still very good friends and MW is still my BFF. LM, MW and I have weathered many storms and seasons in our friendships, but have stood by each other through it all. I have a Polaroid of the three of us on my desk that reminds me of those good times back in 2002 when we all still worked together and life was good--even when it wasn't!

There were some very poignant times in our season together. The time I remember the most was a night that became a confessional. We were at AL's apartment and sitting out on the deck drinking and chatting. Each of us shared some of our deepest hurts, our darkest secrets and the places we kept hidden even from our spouses (for those of us who were married). That night, there were many tears, much laughter and a deep kinship--a sisterhood--that cannot be denied. I remember choosing our names that we kept secret until the night we came together. While we skipped the blood-oat part, we kept to the rest of the ceremony. MW chose Duchess Rhymes and Reason because she is a writer and our confidant. LM chose Countess Sassy Cat because she is a cat-lover and with us around learned that she had some sass in her that needed to be let out more often. AL chose Princess Faces the Sun as an homage to the changes inside of her and the choice to see the good as she was beating her lymphoma. TMK chose one with some tongue in cheek humor from our days of bouncing some ideas around: Princess Drunk as a Skunk. The girl liked to drink! For me, I chose Princess Broad Shoulders. It was a testament to my truly broad shoulders which supported my swimming prowess as well as the metaphorical sense of supporting others and carrying burdens.

It's a little more Stand By Me than Ya-Ya Sisterhood anymore, but it doesn't diminish the memories of those times. We loved sunflowers, cold beers, Shooters in the Flats, laughing, Willow Tree Angels and each other. There is nothing quite like a sisterhood especially during the valleys in life! I love my Ya-Ya's and regardless of the time and distance between us, any one of them is as welcome in my life today as they were ten years ago when it began!
TMK, AL, MW, Me (pregnant w/Gabby) , LM - Christmas Party 2002

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