I’ve always cherished my friendships with my girlfriends. But as I get older, (granted, I’m a long way from needing a cane to get around), I’ve begun to take stock in the true gift of those relationships. I’m talking about friends who have always been there for me through thick or thin. The kind of friends you turn to when you need to celebrate, whine, vent, seek advice or just share a laugh.
My friend Jennifer has a very sacred place in that circle of confidantes. She was the one I called when I had my first real “ah ha” moment that I was no longer as young as I used to be. You know what I’m talking about—that “incident” or experience when you realize you’ve slipped over that “30-something” hill and will soon be landing the plane on runway #40.
It happened while my mom and I were holding a garage sale.
Among the golf clubs, books, kitchen utensils, toys and clothes were all the prom dresses and homecoming formals my sister and I had worn through high school. Why we kept them, I’m not really sure, but it was time to let them go. A cute, young high school girl stopped by the sale with her mom and fell in love with the dress I wore to my senior prom. An emerald green, strapless mini dress that I, too, had loved when I was seventeen. I told her how much fun I’d had at prom in that dress and how I’d love it if she took it for another whirl at a high school dance. To this she responded “It’s so vintage!”
That big happy smile fell right off my face onto the concrete driveway.
Maybe the girl didn’t really understand what she had just said. “Vintage” was what I would call my mom’s clothes from high school, not this amazing creation on the hanger in front of us.
Despite the trauma I had just suffered, I managed to make the sale and send the girl on her way, but them I immediately dialed up Jennifer. I spilled the whole horrific story—to which Jenn responded with sincere empathy: “Oh, honey, are you o.k.?”
She got it. She understood. And I immediately felt comforted.
My friend Kathie is another person I consider to be a major player in the girlfriend zone. She talked me into doing my first half-marathon later this month. She not only knows me well, but also recognizes the fact that neither of us are marathon material. Therefore, she signed us up to tackle 13.1 miles in a town roughly two hours away from where we live. She understands the finer rules of friendship—and recognizes that a good friend would never subject you to local humiliation. She’s definitely got my back.
My friend Leslie rounds out what I consider the major players in my girlfriend circle. I think we actually met through our kids. Our youngest daughters are best friends and play soccer together and our oldest two are the same age and also go to the same school. We live close to each other, volunteer for the same school functions, juggle the same extra-curricular activities schedules and share a lot of the same interests. Like Jenn and Kathie, she’s a friend to whom I can say all those things that moms want to say, but aren’t technically supposed to admit. Most recently, we both confided in each other that our ideal Mother’s Day gift would be to spend the holiday without our children. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. I love the home-made cards, the attempts they make not to argue on my “special day” and the Fruit Loops and Eggo waffles they expertly prepare for my signature breakfast. But the reality is, sometimes, we moms just want some time to ourselves. Leslie gets that.
So hats off to girlfriends everywhere. I hope you all have those relationships that make life a little bit easier to navigate. I’d love to hear your stories. Tell me about the close friends in your life. After all, the world would be a much different place if we didn’t have our gal pals as our traveling companions. Don’t you think?