I am an extraordinarily lucky woman in that my husband is one of my absolute best friends. But there are times in every woman’s life when she must decompress to another set of double x chromosomes. My husband is very attuned to women as he is an OB/GYN. But there is a big difference between understanding how a woman’s body works and how her brain works. Being totally supportive of the females that surround him doesn’t mean he can truly know and understand their experiences, thoughts and feelings. For that, we need girlfriends.
I have had many amazing girlfriends throughout my life. Some have come and gone, some have been with me since childhood. They come from a variety of backgrounds and have diverse lives. While most are moms like me, not all are. Some are married, some single, some divorced, some widowed. They are spread out from coast to coast, have entered my life through school, neighborhoods, church, theater, and work. While we may not always see eye to eye, we are part of a communal support system. Each of my girlfriends plays an important role in my life.
I have Amy, my BFF who also happens to be my sister-in-law. She and I know most of the deepest thoughts and feelings the other has had over the past 25 years. We can sympathize with each other over family issues, we have supported each other through relationship problems and health scares. We have had some of the best days of our lives together dancing in the rain at 1 am on the deck of a ship in the Bahamas, running around an empty condo singing “I Will Survive” at the top of our lungs, and living like celebrities on a dream trip to the Golden Globes. While we share many of the same interests, we are very different people, but that doesn’t matter. When we need someone to talk to, and our husbands, no matter how loving, just won’t understand, we can always turn to each other, no judgement, only love.
I have Ginger, who has been a friend since I was about 13 years old. She has been through every single romantic relationship I have ever had, supported me through breakups, shared my joys in the good times. We were each other’s Maids of Honors when we each finally found “the one”. We’ve both had some soul crushing events happen in our lives, and we’ve been there to support each other through them all. When I need to just complain to get it off my chest, she helps carry me through with a sublime mix of sympathy and humor. We may not live in the same city any more, but we make an effort to stay close and be there for each other through thick and thin.
I have Molly who is one of the strongest women I know and helps keep me strong with her words of wisdom. I have Anna who helps me remember it’s okay to be a little crazy every day, reminds me that women are strong and can handle anything life throws at us and we shouldn’t take any BS from anyone. I have Emily who has led a very different life than me, but brings out my dramatic side and shares many of the same loves and interests I do so we can just let loose and have fun together. I have Debbie whom fate paired me with as a college roommate, giving me a lifelong shoulder to lean on and adventure companion. I have Emma who knows how to bring people together and has taken it upon herself to be my personal librarian so I always have something to read when I need an escape from my everyday life.
I have so many, many more female friends and I can’t even begin to name them all, but these are just some of the ladies who help keep me sane, and I hope I do the same for them. As women, we share an understanding of the expectations life places on us and can relate to each other’s experiences. Being a Mom and being a Dad, a Wife and a Husband, a Daughter and a Son are not the same things. Sometimes we need another woman to help keep things in perspective and forge a path forward. Sometimes we blow things out of proportion and it doesn’t sting as much to hear it from another woman. Sometimes we try to minimize the big problems in life and it takes a girlfriend to let us know it’s ok to treat something with gravity when it’s warranted. Sometimes we just need to be told our clothes or hair or shoes are pretty without it feeling like a come-on. We need women in our lives to keep things real and share our craziness when it hits.
Since my life is so busy as a wife and mother of six, I don’t get much chance to actually hang out with girlfriends, and that is something I sorely miss sometimes. There’s a part of me that feels guilty if I just want to go see a movie or grab lunch or a drink or simply hang out with the women in my life. Most of my closest friends live far away, and those who are close by are often as busy as I am so getting together is an infrequent treat. No matter, I cherish my girlfriends near and far because without them I am not the same person. A toast to all of my estrogen laden comrades – may we always be there to celebrate the highs, console each other through the lows, and remember that we who always sit to pee and know the horror of a toilet seat left up in the middle of the night are all in this together.