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Serving: IL
Aimee Howerter, Aubrey Somers and Caroline Spangler
TOGETHER: Big airport hugs were quickly followed by a check to see who’d grown the most, and then — as always — falling right into the conversations that have marked their friendship. From left: Aimee Howerter, Aubrey Somers and Caroline Spangler.

‘You’re finally here!’

What does a 10-year friendship separated by half a continent look like? Think late-night talks, lots of giggles and big hugs.

“You’re finally here!”

The words came in a rush of relief, buried in a three-way hug as three little girls clung to each other in the airport, jumping up and down. Squealing in excitement. Separated by half a continent, they hadn’t seen each other in two and a half years. That’s a long time for anyone, but especially when you’re only 10.

Their story goes back to the very beginning: Aubrey, Aimee and my daughter, Caroline, are friends since birth. Kinda before, actually — Aubrey’s family moved here when we were all pregnant with them.

When the girls were 4, Aubrey and her family moved to California. She and her mom came back to visit when they were 6, we traveled there when they were 8, and now, at 10, Aubrey and her mom flew to Illinois for a week. Even better: It was a combined Christmas-birthday present for Aubrey, who got one heck of a surprise on Christmas morning: “Pack your bags, we’re flying to Illinois tonight!” Cue all the happy tears.

I’ve marveled at this friendship over the years. Facetime convos that mostly consist of silly faces and tours around their rooms (motion sickness, beware), birthday celebrations and violin concerts. Always laughing, encouraging, plotting. Writing letters and sending pictures, and crafting long emoji-filled texts on their moms’ phones.

It’s a deep, heart-felt friendship, and one that picks right up where it left off. I marvel at it every time.

Their Christmas week together was basically one long sleepover, at either our house or Aimee’s, and it 100% reminded me of the 40th birthday trip I took with my friends-since-kindergarten from home: constant talking and laughing, peppered only by occasional sleep. Not really caring what we did, just grateful to be together.

It’s the kind of friendship we all need. Friends forever. No matter how far.

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