I think girls figure out pretty early on the value of good girlfriends. It’s how we survive the trials and tribulations of late elementary, junior high and high school. I know that while I probably would have survived without the good friends I had, there would have been a lot more mental and emotional damage, and probably more collateral damage than necessary. Good girlfriends got me through. And then I lost track of that. It became easier to hang with and communicate with boys. Girls were too competitive, too much drama. I think I was just missing the “good” part of the good girlfriends gig. I stopped trusting in female friendship.
In the past five or six years, I’ve rediscovered the value of good girlfriends…the type of friends you can talk about anything with. The friends who take you as you are and don’t judge you, even when you’re being bitchy for no apparent reason. The type of women who support whatever cause you’re involved with, laugh with you, cry with you, know when to pour you a glass and when to just hand you the bottle. I am so very blessed with the women in my life. I thank God for them daily. Some of them came into my life simply based upon location. Some were brought to me through circumstances I didn’t understand at the time. Some are old friends who’ve hung around in spite of distance and time. And some are those good girlfriends who were there way back when and have found their way back into my life.
In the past six months or so, some old friends have reached out and offered kind words, solace, prayer. It is such a joy to be part of their lives again. While they were never out of my thoughts, the business of life had pulled me or them away. I came home from our Thanksgiving trip to a book and the sweetest note from my oldest, bestest friend. I sat there with that card in my hand, tears streaming down my face, memories pouring through my mind. The handwriting was so familiar. The words…..just the thought meant so much. We are not 12, 16, or 18 anymore. We are both moms struggling with issues in our families. It’s been years since we’ve seen each other, and yet I know if I saw her today, the conversation would pick up as if that time had not passed. I got to see another old friend a few weeks back. She was in our wedding thirteen years ago. She was there the night I met Michael. That history is priceless. The laughter and the hugs put a smile on my heart.
When Ryley was born, and in the first few years of his life, I knew there were other moms of preemies, but I’d never met any much less had a chance to hang out with or talk with them. I felt alone. It sounds weird, but I found an online community six years back full of moms who had preemies, who had been in the NICU, who totally understood. At first the conversations just revolved around those journeys. But then some of those women became invaluable to me. One of them….it seems we could have been separated at birth. And though we live far apart, modern technology allows us to talk almost daily. And as our paths have been similar, we know we are not alone when some new wrench gets thrown into the works.
Good girlfriends are the ones you can reach out to at any time, with any need. I know I have “back-up”. What relief that brings to any mom with young, active kids. Our group of school moms is amazing. There are actually two groups of women in my life who are so supportive of each other….constantly lifting up rather than competing or tearing down. There isn’t any drama. We cheer each other on. We cry together when sadness touches any of our lives. We all have different backgrounds and come from different places. But it works. And I find myself once again knowing that without these good girlfriends, I would probably survive, but not without a lot more mental and emotional damage and certainly not without a heavy hit of collateral damage.
I look at my daughter and know the hard years are coming for her. I probably ask her more than I should who her “best” friends are, who she hangs out with at school. She has a couple of girls who have marked their place in her life. I pray she has them to hang onto in the years to come. I pray that one day she can look back, and look around, and say she is blessed in the women in her life. Good girlfriends are priceless.