My favorite quote wasn’t written by a best-selling author, or famous philosopher or even a great thinker. My favorite quote, which also became the best advice I would ever receive, was from my mom.

Growing up as the only girl in my family was not easy. I constantly struggled to fit in to play with my brother, my older cousins, and even the kids in my neighborhood. All boys. I used to go fishing and hunting with my dad, and he used to take me for rides on his motorcycle.

“I’m Just a Girl…”

But as the only girl, I was constantly getting teased, beat up, and left out, because I was “just a girl”.

Even after I started school, I still struggled to find girls to play with my own age. And when I finally did find a group of girls to hang out with in sixth grade, it wasn’t too long before they became the catty, evil, mean girls you would see on, well, “Mean Girls”.

All I wanted was a best friend.

After coming home one day in tears, my mom gave me the greatest advice ever:

A best friend is someone who doesn’t let you down.

Wow, Mom. Mind: blown. Literally words to live by.

It’s funny to think about how the definition of a “friend” changes from childhood to adulthood. When you’re a kid or even a teenager, your “friends” are just people you sit with in the cafeteria during lunch, or hang out with at recess or after school or at a school dance.

But as you grow older, and as life changes, your “friends” become fewer. People grow up, move away, start families, lose touch or even just show their true colors. But those that stick by you through the years, through thick and thin, and who are there for you no matter what; those are truly best friends.

Fight Like a Girl

So even though I spent my childhood being tormented by boys, trying hopelessly to get my brother to put Barbie’s dress on the right way, and pulling the spider legs out of my hair and off my dress, I developed a pretty thick skin. I learned how to defend myself, and learned how to fight like a boy (or a girl).

Although I always dress to impress, and own more shoes than any woman should, I would still blow off a bridal shower for a hockey game. Just sayin…

And as I write this and reflect on my childhood, my life, and my own group of friends that I still count on today, the closest people in my life—including my very best friend of 17 years and counting—are guys.

Go figure.

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