Moving to Brantford (Layne Becker Grime)

I opened my Facebook page on Tuesday morning to a splendid mess, one of those “group messages” where everyone Replies All.

The grammar and spelling were…well, small children and English teachers-stop reading the article now. Despite run-ons and a shocking lack of periods (or perhaps because of), I read one message after another with a smile.

May 28 Kristina: Hey girls, I’m sure we’ve all noticed that someone has been missing from most of the get together’s… Melissa! So I was thinking maybe we could all do something this weekend. Main goal is Melissa has to be able to make it!  Any ideas or available times?

May 28 Laura: I can’t come working this weekend

May 28 Rachel: I think I am free Friday

May 28 Laura: I’m free Friday. Not sat or Sunday.

May 28 Gwendolyn: I’m free Friday!

May 28 Rachel: Maybe we all go and then go to brown dog

May 28 Alisa: I am free Friday too. But not Saturday

May 28 Laura: I’ll go to the brown dog; it will be a nice change from the blue dog. Plus it’s more of a summer color

May 28 Alisa: Will you Laura.

May 28 Laura: Ya I promise!! lol

May 28 Kristina: Okay Friday it is depending on Melissa’s schedule. I can’t stay out too late cause I have the super early shift on Saturday.

May 29 Layne: Kristina–You.Are.So.Sweet. …and I love you girls. And I Love the Brown Dog…let me know what time y’all decide on; if I can’t come, I’ll send my mum.

May 29 Laura: lol and I love american lingo “y’all” lol and I love Layne.

May 29 Alisa: …and I love Layne too

May 29 Laura: and I love Lisa

May 29 Renee: And I love y’all;)

Let’s just say the conversation went on…but I’ll splice it there because you get the idea.

It seems strange that something so nonsensical, so silly was a defining moment in my life, but I will forever declare it was. As I scrolled through the messages, I felt the significance of being included in a group of girls who fight to keep their friendships alive. I have known a lot of people in this life and intentionality of this caliber is nothing short of precious, a rarity indeed.

For the first time since moving here, I felt a part of something a bit bigger than myself, a sense of family. I liked it.

This eclectic, beautiful, kind, kind-of-crazy (in a good way) group of girls have taken me in since I moved to Brantford last fall. Most of them have known each other for over a decade- have stood up in each other’s weddings, have traveled, laughed, cried, fought and lived together through the years. Instead of allowing their closeness and history to keep others out, however, they use their love to draw others in to celebrate life with them. The opposite of exclusive, they have gone out of their way to invite me to dinners, girls‘ nights, coffee dates and parties.

When I am deeply honest, moving to Brantford hasn’t been the easiest of transitions. Leaving my closest friends, family and co-workers to come marry the man of my dreams (Jonathan, dearie, that was a shout out to you) has had its rocky moments. (Jonathan says I had a breakdown last Thursday, but who’s counting.) Moving to a town where I have no history, no sense of belonging and didn’t know anyone outside of my husband-to-be has never been high on my dream list.

But every once in a great while you meet the kind of people who make you want to be a better person, who love those around them well-just for the sake of loving, who give without asking to receive anything in return, who have the depth of character to live outside their own comfortable bubble and who are sincere, genuinely kind. So let’s hear it for loving your neighbors, to loving extravagantly, to loving just because. To living courageously, for loving outrageously. It matters.

I am here to propose that this smart, hilarious, friendly, generous group of girls is one such set of souls. I’m not sure how I was lucky enough to find them along this journey (or perhaps they found me), but I’m here to say I’m grateful. So this is my own personal love letter to these incredible people who have gone out of their way to make me feel at home in Brantford. Friends- thank you for the grace when I needed to be anti-social, thank you for baking cookies with me and indulging me in a tea party, thanks for coffee dates and dinner parties, thanks for including me in your Christmas festivities, for taking me out dancing and for throwing me a birthday party when I was new in town. I couldn’t have asked for truer friends to start this new season. I’m so entirely happy to know you in this lifetime. Now, let’s grow old together?

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