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Childhood memories are vivid, almost indescribable in their detail, and impossible to forget. A Christmas memory I have is that of a black velvet dress  a family friend gave to me for my seventh Christmas.
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Home » del alma

Amigas and the Light of Encouragement

Submitted by on August 3, 2011 – 7:01 am20 Comments

Ah, the things you find in Tennessee during mountain hikes.

Chick Weekends

The planning for my next Chicks Weekend is under way.

Five of us. A cabin in the Tennessee mountain country. A lake. An extensive meals planning schedule. And, of course, a margarita machine.

It will be five of six of us who have regularly escaped together over the last 16 years. That’s before half of us had babies, before we survived a tornado and rebuilding together, before there were two divorces and three of us moved away from the neighborhood that made us lifelong friends, confidants, amigas del alma.

As the planning emails have landed in my in-box, I have been remembering what a role these women, who I don’t see much anymore, have played in my life. How we have laughed hard in times of light and rallied hard for one another in difficult times.

A most magnified event — beyond that wretched tornado and a decade of pot lucks: They piled into one car and drove out to see me after my daughter was born to boost my spirits. I had told them in yet another group email that I was struggling after a difficult birth and even more difficult breastfeeding attempt.

There When You Need Them

In short order, they arrived with a basket filled with handmade soaps, lotions and sweet treats and each one had written me a tender and honest card wishing me love, luck, strength. They shared their own stories of birthing and nursing. (I was the last of us to become a mom). They made me laugh and cry. They gave me permission to sulk a little bit and they showed me the light of encouragement.

It all got better, just as they said it would.

I still have the cards.

And, I am grateful I still have them.

I will tell them so again soon in a cabin in the woods.

Y tu?

Who has loved you, supported you, encouraged you just when you needed it? How have you encouraged a friend in need?

Life Special Occasion, Hallmark


Disclosure: This “del alma” essay is part of a series sponsored by Hallmark’s “Life is a Special Occasion.” Opinions and editorial content expressed are my own.

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  • Bren says:

    lucky you. i don’t have that anymore. it’s quite sad actually. when i moved to atlanta, mis amigas from home don’t call unless they need some recipe consulting or fashion styling… ni han venido a visitarme… makes me triste, really…. in my adult life, i’ve only taken one chica’s trip and that was to Mexico… we had a blast! it was for our 30th b-days… i long for that again! and with lots of cookery in tow, like espresso makers!

    have tons of fun, forget the hubs, get a tan even if you’re in a cabin!

  • What a beautiful post! And yes – lucky you to be able to have that! It’s been way to long since a chica’s trip. Would love to plan one. Enjoy!

  • Lisa says:

    There’s nothing better than a Hallmark Card. The only place I buy my cards when I need to send someone a little something. :)

  • you are very, very lucky. I’ve been dying for a trip like this, but my problem is that my amigas del alma are scattered all over the world. Seriously….Mexico, Argentina, Spain, US, Ecuador, Venezuela, Uruguay and El Salvador.
    Women that have meant so much at different points of my life and that I know would be there for me anytime.
    My wish is to get all you beautiful mujeres together for a week long escape in Oaxaca. I vow here to make it happen. Watch me…

  • Uchi says:

    Thanks for sharing! yeah….lucky you to be able to have a trip with your friends.. it ‘s so great!

  • Carla says:

    Carrie, you are lucky indeed. I have a beautiful band of “hermanas” I’ve collected over the years but each from different stages of life so it’s near impossible to gather them all in once place. I love hearing about this beautiful group of friends in your life. Have a magical time!

  • I am lucky to have several groups of women that have loved, supported, and encouraged me at various times in my life. They are there when I go through tough times — most often, it’s to simply lend an ear and be a sounding board when I’m feeling less than grounded and needing someone to listen. I offer the same to them. I had a fun girls trip this past April when we went to Palm Springs — very relaxing weekend where we went to a nice dinner, had brunch, even lay by the pool one afternoon (and of course, mixed some dancing in there!). There’s nothing like special Amiga Time… Enjoy!

  • This entry made me cry. I have a group of girls that I have known for 25 plus years and we get together at least once a month for dinner…. your story reminded me of them. They are always there to pick up the pieces when I fall hard on my luck, and also there when a celebration is called to order! Love my gals!

  • Maura says:

    Carrie, you always manage to make me cry with these kind of posts! I’ve been very lucky to have several different groups of women give me friendship, support and professional advice in my life thus far. I count you as one of my amigas del alma, and I hope that we can have a chicks weekend in the coming year where there is no business involved, just fun. We don’t get to see each other often enough! I can’t wait to see you in October. Like Ana, my other amigas del alma are scattered all over the country and the world. It’s difficult to make our schedules mesh to travel together, especially as some of them have children, but sending a card or even the effort taken out of a busy day for an email or quick phone call to ask “how are you?” is still so important to keeping the circle going. One of my best friends from childhood is moving back to my city next week with her husband, and I couldn’t be happier about it. We relied on email, phone calls and cards to make it through the last decade living so far apart. Thank you for this poignant reminder—I am going to go out today to pick up a few cards to send to my amigas!

  • Carrie says:

    And now you make me cry! I do hope we get to spend time together soon. You really are not that far away from me and you are, for sure, mi amiga fantastica forever!

    So glad your friend is moving back to Chicago. What a blessing!

  • Madelyn says:

    Carrie – this so nice… Like Bren, my first trip with my girlfriends was to Mexico. Since, they’ve gotten married and we’ve gone skiing to Vermont, but now with kids and significant others. But is always nice to know that regardless of life changes, we’re still there for each other. And BREN – aren’t we going to PARIS?!?!?!??! We must plan that trip ASAP. OK, amiga????

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