My friend Paula stopped by last night. Paula comes to my house every spring. She is so excited for Aqua Zumba, that on the first warm day of spring she rings my doorbell. I can count on it. I can count on Paula.

Paula is special. Paula loves me. She knows nothing about me except that I have two babies, a dog, and a husband and that I splash her during water class. That’s all she needs to know. She bursts through my door, comes up my steps, tells me whatever I most need to know about her at that moment…(last night it was that she had moved). She embraces me and she says “I miss you”.

Paula knows how to be a friend. I love that about Paula. Sometimes she colors me pictures or brings me pictures of her cat. Paula always wants to know where I have been. Paula doesn’t judge. She doesn’t gossip. She doesn’t get jealous. Paula just loves people.

Girls, we have so much to learn from Paula.

Here it is.

Show up. Unexpectedly. I keep seeing that meme lately that says “check on your strong friend…”. Girls, check on all your friends. When someone enters your thoughts or crosses your mind, there is usually a reason. Give them a holler. Show up on their doorstep. Just come right inside and embrace them. I promise you it will make their day, and yours. All we want in life is to be seen. See each other. Show up.

Care. You don’t have to say anything or have the perfect words to make everything all better. Just care. Say, “where have you been”. Even if you know. The times in my life that I have felt the most cared about is when someone noticed that I hadn’t been around. We need to know that someone cares whether we show up or not. It makes it way easier to show up. Care.

Don’t judge. This journey we’re on is hard. For everyone. Usually what you think you know, isn’t even close to the truth…usually the truth is way worse. It’s unreal how much pain we hide behind, and we do that because god forbid we get real and be honest. Ladies, we are the worst about this. When another woman is struggling, or making different choices than we would make, or falling apart mentally, physically, or emotionally, we steer clear like it might be catching. We judge their inability to hold it all together. Rather than reach out, we turn and share the news, deriving enjoyment from someone else’s struggle…at least it’s not us. Tomorrow it could be you. Don’t judge.

Be supportive. The day you understand that another woman’s success actually feeds us all, is the day you’ll start supporting your fellow woman. This world is betting on us competing. It’s feeding on our insecurities. There are entire industries built upon our fears and doubts. Don’t contribute to the noise. Don’t feed the fears. Don’t buy into the narrative that we can’t unite. Your sister from another mister, who is out there killing it, she’s paving a path. She’s lighting the way. She’s changing the story, for us all. Celebrate that. Be supportive. Don’t hate, appreciate.

Above all else, love. Love yourself. Love one another. It never really matters what the question is…the answer is love. When in doubt, when in conflict, when in jealousy, when in fear, when in anger, when in insecurity…love. Love wins.

I walked Paula back out to her car last night where her dad was waiting to take her back to her new home. She couldn’t wait to tell me all about the Special Olympics and the events she’s competing in, track, bowling, basketball…Paula is special all right, in all the right ways. I’m lucky to have Paula for a friend. Most of us would do really well to be more like Paula. She just gets it.

See you soon sweet friend. ?