Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A long strange wonderful trip it's been

Thirty years in, we still find time and pleasure in getting together to laugh and shop and play games and craft and read trashy magazines and drink froofy drinks, as we've always done. It's natural to us, like sisters or cousins who've spent uncounted hours just chillin'. It's definitely a Depends weekend. We crack each other up, laughing mostly at one another, but ultimately remembering to laugh at ourselves. Nothing more boring than a woman of a certain age who takes herself too seriously or tries to hide her insecurities or her violent fantasies about killing people in the grocery check out line. These thoughts must be aired! There's no hiding from one's true self in this group. We revert to our adolescence, but in a good way! Now I recognize that nobody else wants to be with us, and that spouses, male children and brothers-in-law flee in terror at the mere prospect of the coven coming together. We ARE the obnoxious table of women that annoy so in restaurants (as seen in commercials for products like Pol-i-dent and Depends) who cackle too loudly and try to order stuff not listed on the menu. But we can always be ourselves without fear of rejection and being one's authentic self twice a year with someone other than your mom or husband is invaluable to the psyche.

Someone once pointed out to me how unusual she thought it was to be friends with people from high school. Her reaction left me feeling I had strange priorities and unrealistic expectations for my children around having friends. I grew to hate her for that comment and set my phaser to kill...as I do...she was sneakily and vindictively excised from our life--vengeful and immature...-eh, I'll discuss it with my maker at some point if necessary. I think I feel almost patriotic about girlfriends as an entity...like the flag...and she was a traitorous voice. She had to go.

Over the years, we ladies wrote letters, we called, we visited, we were present at important times in each other's lives and just resisted the easy path of losing touch because "life is too busy". Life marches on, but from my perspective, it just doesn't take much effort to stay in touch unless one of the parties isn't pulling her weight. Then it falls on one set of shoulders and that becomes frustrating, then tedious and finally defeating. So the relationship dies a quiet death.

But these women have always pulled their share of the weight in keeping the friendship fires burning and the rewards are huge. I wish it for my daughters. It makes me a better person to have nurtured these relationships to maturity. There's nothing more comforting than knowing these women stand with me through all life has to offer up, good or bad. Here's to the next generation of girlfriends.

1 comment:

  1. Well done, Jul. And yet, like a new scent at Sephora or a good wine, the essence defies true capture.

    Every now and then I like to do the math, although admittedly, the charms of THAT may be running out. Mollie & I met in '73 -- happy 36th, Mol! Leslie's grand entrance in '75. You five years later in '80 cemented the whole deal. Dayum. And the rest, as they say, is history.

    And what a history. You guys are oxygen to me, plain & simple. I've genuflected my gratitude to the local spouse hourly for supporting this little habit of ours. "The boy" is honestly delighted with us and at odds when we end. And Rio has been aimless since her litter left. I'm not nearly as fun on my own.

    One of my favorite signs of the joy that is Us -- continuing your maternal wish -- lies with our parents, the original annoyed bystanders. They take great pleasure in our bond: they, as much as anyone, cherish this gift for their daughters.

    Time to start planning the next gathering.

    Love you, Benji...