• Madelynne Juenger

An Ode to the Friendversary

On the first snow day of winter, I went through a break up of sorts. (I say “of sorts” because we weren’t “actually dating”, but it kind of still felt like we were. I guess you can put labels inside quotations, but that doesn’t make their consequential feelings any less real.)

But the “sort of, kind of” break up didn’t happen until later in the day, and it’s not what this story is about anyways.

This story is about cookies.

Specifically, “First Day of Snow Cookies”.

Every year on the first snow day, my friend Rebekah and her boyfriend Max buy cookies to celebrate. They’ve been together long enough now that this event can properly take on the title of a Tradition. It started our freshman year, continued through our sophomore and junior year, and has now made its appearance during our senior year.

Four whole trips to Insomnia Cookies on the first marshmallow day of winter. Four whole years of Rebekah and Max.

As I walked alongside Rebekah on our way to Insomnia Cookies, I realized that not only was it four whole years of me third wheeling this very kind couple, BUT, more importantly! It was four whole years of Rebekah and Madelynne!

I dramatically stopped in the snow, grabbed Rebekah’s arm, and proclaimed to the world,

“Why haven’t we celebrated this? Why hasn’t everyone celebrated this?!” I’ve only had a handful of “successful” romantic relationships and only one of them even lasted more than a few months. But I’ve held onto this friendship for four years. FOUR YEARS PEOPLE!

In a romantic relationship, this would definitely qualify for chocolates and roses, or a party at a fancy restaurant, or at least a love letter in the form of an Instagram caption. Relatives would comment on how cute we are and would stop trying to set me up with the cashier at their local Walmart who “looks around my age!”

But platonic relationships get overlooked.

I often get asked by inquiring family members whether or not I’m “seeing anyone”.

And I want to respond, “Yes! I’m seeing lots of people! I’m seeing one friend for lunch on Monday and another friend for cookie baking on Tuesday and another friend to have an emotional breakdown with on Wednesday and another friend to have a One Direction dance party with on Thursday and another friend to paint masterpieces with on Friday and another friend to sit around and do nothing with on Saturday.”

And in an ideal world they might respond, “Oh, what about Sunday?”

To which I would answer, “Sundays I reserve for reading and hanging out with my roommate’s cats.”

But instead, I know that this question of “seeing anyone” is coming from a sister who is secretly betting on whether or not I will wind up a spinster.

And I used to actually worry about this too. I used to worry that I would be alone forever and would never meet anyone who truly liked me. I used to think that being single was just a lonely phase of life you had to go through until you met your soulmate and lived happily ever after.

And then I realized that whole concept is garbage.

I looked around and saw that I had people in my life who chose to be here every day even after seeing all the pleasant and not so pleasant sides of me.

I have friends across the hall, across the street, across the country, and across the world who are in my life just because they want to be. Heck, my long distance friendships are thriving way more than my long distance relationship did.

My friends are the love I used to hope I’d find in a romantic partner.

They are the first people I want to tell good news to. They are the people I can send 100 text messages to without fear of being annoying. They are the people who put up with my tendency to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. In fact, they don’t just put up with this trait, they embrace it and find it an entertaining part of our daily life.

My friends are the people who have seen me cry out all the liquids in my body. Not the sweet, single tear down the cheek type of cry. But the gross, snot everywhere, can’t breathe properly, messy cries of actual life.

And they are still here.

Isn’t that something to be celebrated? Isn’t this unconditional, wholesome, uplifting, love something to be blasted about into the universe!

Facebook had it right with the invention of Friendversary announcements.

And as I walked into the Insomnia Cookies shop to celebrate the first snow day of the year, I wondered why the heck I hadn’t thought about this before.

These cookie buying, story sharing, life motivating, dance partying, simply existing relationships I had with people were the most important relationships in my life.

Later that night when the “break-up” came around, I walked into the kitchen afterwards and was immediately greeted with a hug from Rebekah and a bowl of penne alfredo from Max.

They let me crash their dinner and vent over our pasta dishes for an hour. We then stayed up until 2am and watched Netflix while eating pints of Ben & Jerry’s. I was sad and hurt, but looked up from the protection of the five blankets encompassing me and felt happy to see my friends sitting on the opposite couch.

A couple months later, I was having lunch with Rebekah and we were laughing about the whole thing. “Remember when you thought you would be sad all winter?” she asked. I laughed at the dramatic statement from a month ago and the fact that I had already forgotten I made it. I thought about the “break-up” and how I definitely wouldn’t remember the main points of that conversation in a few years.

The main event of that night had already been overshadowed by the shared dinner and the ice cream order and the patient listeners who stayed up with me until 2am just because they wanted to.

Just because that’s what friends do.

And isn’t that the best form of love you could ask for?

x Madelynne


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