This post is sponsored by Hallmark and its Mahogany greeting cards.

Look: I was good and grown with babies and a man and a home to take care of and work to do and responsibilities riding shotgun on every single second of my time, and the last thing I was really thinking about was making new friends. Finding them? Vetting them? Incorporating them into my life? Working through drama and fall-outs and make-ups? Nah, B. The way I figured it, I had all the friends I needed.

God smirked at that logic and sent Selassie, a beautiful, chocolate Ghanaian mom with, back then, a Caesar haircut, these great big ol’ eyes and an adorable girlpie, driving up to our kids’ school in a car that was the same make and model as my own. We could pass for sisters. One look, one smile, one hello and we were sisters. She is soft-spoken and brilliant, with the biggest heart and the most non-judgmental ear, the keeper of secrets, always at the ready to counsel and encourage, goad and applaud. She became my very first friend when my family moved from New Jersey to a tiny country town in Georgia. My true love.

It was she who introduced me and my sister-in-law, Angelou, to her sister-in-law, Tina, a sweet, non-nonsense woman whose gift for home decoration and party throwing made her absolutely infectious to this B. Smith wanna-be. She quickly became the one who understands how natural and right it is to look past expensive jewelry, shoes and purses and head straight to the home décor section to drool over fancy place settings at William Sonoma and ponder the value of all 200 shades of blue in the Benjamin Moore section at Home Depot and drool over every… single… detail in the Atlanta Show House like we’re teenage girls at a Drake concert. Me and Tina? We just, like, go together.

Selassie and Tina and I were taking an African dance class with Angelou when we all met Akilah, the spark plug of our plucky crew. We all fell easily, hopelessly, helplessly in love with her funky, earthy, free spirit and her sharp, quick-witted humor. What draws Akilah directly into my heart muscle is her insistence that I honor myself as a human being, capable of the fullest range of emotion and the right to feel and express them as I please. I have at least 10 years on her—probably more—but she grew me up. Taught me how to be a woman in love with myself in all my complexities, unapologetically. I am a work in progress. But I’m on that path because my Akilah showed me the way.

And then there’s Ida and Joyce, who round out my Atlanta crew. These two, artists/creators both, get me. Like get get me. Joyce, whom I met when we were editors at Honey magazine, is my intellectual sparkplug, the one who makes me think and stretch and stay on my toes when it comes to everything from education to politics to childrearing to Blackness. She also knows, for sure, how to have a good time; we’ve had many a night making questionable choices—every one of them more delicious than the last. The same is true of my girl artist, writer and stylist Ida, my New York homegirl who loves Biggie and beautiful Black art and tight dresses and smoky eyes and chocolate men and good food and Bourbon and getting into mischief—the very best kind, of course. She’s every bit as smart and street as she is sexy, the best kind of addictive—the one who’d be sitting next to me on the jail bench, high-fiving and screaming, “man, that was a helluva night.”

The universe saw fit, despite my Drake-styled “No New Friends” proclamations, to put each of these women—beautiful, intelligent, trustworthy, loving, kind, sweet, in-your-face—into my life. Into each others’ lives. These women, they make me happy. We laugh together, cry together, fellowship together, cook together, dance together, drink together, party together and love hard. True. Their friendship sustains me. Propels me. Gives me… air. I just love them.

I love them.

Selasse. Tina. Akilah. Ida. Joyce. Angelou. I love each of you.

I don’t say it enough. And sometimes, when I get all bogged down in my work and my life and my own personal mess, I don’t tell them to their faces enough. Show them through my actions enough. I have to be better. I will do better.

When I get bogged down with work and life, I don’t tell my friends enough that I adore them. Click To Tweet


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This post is sponsored by Hallmark and its Mahogany greeting cards.
All stories and opinions are my own.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

One Comment

  1. This is just LOVE and LIGHT all written out beautifully by one of THE dopest word-wielders I’ll ever meet. I love you big, you know this. And like you, I am among blessed beneficiaries of our sister circle. Squad life STAY savin’ me from all the fears and woes. Thank you for sharing this, and for being who/what/how you are. Nuff NUFF love.

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