The Three People I’d Have Dinner With

I’ve thought and thought and thought about the answer to this week’s question: if you could invite three people– living or dead– over for dinner who would they be? I thought about my ancestors and my living family members. I thought about old friends and new. I thought about people I’ve met but didn’t get to spend much time with and people I’ve spent some time with but always wished I had more. I thought about the heroes of the faith.

And then I landed on an answer. If I could have a dinner party and invite any three people, living or dead, to have dinner with, I know just who it would be: my three best friends from high school. I am fortunate that two of the three of them live in the same town and we actually get to see each other with some regularity. I have known these girls through some of the worst and best parts of my life. There is something about the people who’ve known the full spectrum of you– the complete landscape and not just the snapshot.
Last year we all went away together for a weekend in the NC mountains to celebrate our 40th birthdays. And what a fun weekend it was! I noticed that it took us awhile to warm up to each other, to slough off our industrious, grownup skins and morph into the silly giggly girls we once were. But once that happened, we were off and running, reminiscing, resurrecting old jokes, telling stories on each other. But of course there were also the new stories: a bitter divorce for one, a breast cancer scare for another and from all of us the highs and lows of parenting and relationships.

By the end of the weekend we’d walked across the years that separated us, covering a lot of ground. We said our sad goodbyes, promising to do a better job of keeping up with each other. Just before Christmas we made good on that promise, having dinner in a local restaurant when the one that lives out of town came in town to visit her parents. As I sat around that table I realized, our friendship is not the same. We’re not the same. But I find in these girls’ eyes a love and acceptance and knowing that can only come from time. And that is enough to keep us coming back together; enough to make me invite just these three when I can have any three I want.

Marybeth Whalen is the wife of Curt and mom of 6 children. She is the author of The Mailbox and the upcoming novel, She Makes It Look Easy (June 2011). Marybeth can be found at

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  1. Sharon says

    You're so fortunate to have two of the three high school girlfriends living close by Marybeth. One day the hustle and bustle of raising children will be over and you'll still be enjoying the friendships and there will be more time to get together.

    I'm so looking forward to next week at Whirlaway! I wish it could be daily!

  2. Teresa says

    I, too, am blessed to have my wonderful girlfriends from high school still in my life. It's amazing to me to see how seamlessly our conversations have changed from those high school crushes to how to get a boy to eat broccoli. Yes, I imagine that we will continue to hold dear our friendship as our conversations shift full circle now as our own children enter high school.

    Thanks for the reminding me just how dear these "girls" are to me.

  3. Beth Webb Hart says

    Loved this, MB. Time really is huge in a friendship. I love how you descriped someone knowing your whole landscape instead of just a snapshot. Really insighful. I do have a handful of friends like that (including my sisters who know everyone of my warts by heart and somehow – by God's grace – can still stand to be in the same room with me!) This was a reminder of how precious those lifelong friendships are. Thank you!

  4. Lisa Wingate says

    What a great idea, Marybeth! There's nothing better than a dinner with girlfriends, especially the ones who shared those teenage years with you! One of my favorite things about Facebook and the internet has been reconnecting with old girlfriends and neighbors I'd lost touch with. Had dinner with my high school best bud and college roommate a couple years ago–so much fun! Part of the fun was that we remembered different things from those years. What a joy (okay… uhhh… mostly) to have memories I'd lost brought back.

    Gotta go–I have this sudden desire to email girlfriends ;o)

  5. Jenny B. Jones says

    Love hearing when gals are still connected with high school friends. My two high school bffs and I still get together every few months. I'm learning you have to work to keep these friendships going due to life's demands, but so worth it.

  6. Rachel Hauck says

    Ditto with everything said hear! I'm actually a bit jealous. I don't have any friends from high school. We all lost touch.

    I have a few friends from college but it's a Christmas card relationship. We've all moved around and made different life choices.

    How blessed you are MB!!


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