Blog by: Kim
Some female friendships are more that just chocolate and chit chat. We as women are more social, more community focused, collaborative, and, above all, we need our girlfriends. Instinctively, women have the need to 'tend and befriend.' We want to tend to our young and be with our friends. As we juggle our not-so-perfect, often crazy- but wonderfully real lives, time with our girlfriends actually reduces our stress levels. In today’s age of broken families, divorce, and relatives living all over the world, good girlfriends can become your family. It isn’t written anywhere that a blood bond automatically makes a family member love you or be a part of your life. In some cases, friends can love you more and be there for you in your darkest hour. Take it from me. If your lucky enough to have a strong, close family, great, but that’s not always the case and also not the topic of this blog. So let’s focus shall we?
I think it was Christmas 2004 when my little girl and I we alone. Just me and her in our small, snow covered house in Michigan. It was my good friend Sherry who insisted we come over and have dinner with them. It was also Sherry who refused to let Emily and I be alone for Thanksgiving. (not that I couldn’t have made some mean frozen turkey tv dinners) Sherry cooked up a storm and fed us in her warm little kitchen, along with her great family. It was those humble times that I remember the most. I miss her. She did so much for us. In return, I hope I’m able to help my girlfriends in their time of need to. It goes both ways.
Counting on our girlfriends in good times and in bad is what we women do. Those of us blessed with great girlfriends understand implicitly that depending on one another and cheering each other on through both major and minor life crises is the currency of friendship. Good girlfriends talk, listen and simply show up for one another. After all, isn't that what friends are for?
I found out that girlfriends may play a far greater role in our lives than even the glam gals from Sex and the City - today's poster girls for female friendships -might imagine. Go figure. Studies on women and stress show strong evidence that gabfests with your girlfriends are vital to your health and may well help prolong your life. Yeah. You heard me.
And how about laying off the jealous/passive/aggressive competitive vibe? You know exactly what I’m talking about. I am guilty of it to, although I’m rarely willing to admit it. We women can be so catty. Truth be told, I still don’t trust many women. But I am working on it and getting better at it over time. Blame it on my lack of having my own mother or perhaps I was dropped on my head as a baby. Whatever the case, no one gets it like another woman can. So even if it’s just one or two, keep a couple of ‘em close. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
I was mulling over my amazing group of girlfriends. I have many. I also have one special group of eight women with whom we share a personal common thread. This thread stretches all over the USA. From as far west as CA to as far east as NYC. We promise to try to get together once a year and remain in contact via emails. What’s so amazing about this group is the fact that we are all so different. Different ages, stages of life and different personalities. Each brings something a little different to the table. Some are moms, one is not. Some have young kids, some grown. Different tastes and talents. All with wicked sharp senses of humor- a must to hang with us. Get us all in one room with a glass or two of wine and watch out! We are almost like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, only without those ridiculous pants. We view ourselves differently through other’s eyes, so we each wrote a brief description of one another below:
Martha- (kindred) NYC: the Brazilian, free spirit, kind, funny, loves Mother Earth and gives back as much as she can. Adores animals and people for who they are. Respects diversity. Great friend, she’s beautiful and never looks her age. Loves music. A vegetarian, and once-in-a-blue-moon muncher of slippery snails. She’s wise , genuine and independent. Seems to drink from the fountain of youth.
AJ- Colorado: extremely smart, a great cook and talented at all she touches. Not fair. Witty, open minded, respectful of others thoughts and beliefs, a great mother and wife. Liberal in politics, but not in parenting. Lovely without a drop of makeup. Nothing escapes her eyes. B.S. doesn't fool her. A hysterically funny, smart mouthed talented lyricist and writer. Marches to the beat of her own drum and does it in a wicked cool way. Thinks outside the box.
Suz- Maryland: brainy and educated wife and mom, the conservative one in the bunch. Has a strong religious strong faith. Volunteers in her church, she’s fun, loves to read and listen to music. She's tenacious, a loyal friend and enjoys singing . Extremely caring, lovely and generous to a fault. A rock who’s friendship never waivers or falters. Gives great advice or a shoulder to lean on. Also a whiz in the kitchen.
Kim- (Kimmy) Florida: artist/writer. Open-minded, liberal italiana, strong and loving. A leader, creative, and feisty. A mommy/wife and business woman. The “girly girl” of the group. Loves music and all things British. Fierce & devoted. A multi-layered girl and a loyal friend. Caring, independent and good at keeping it together even when she doesn't think she is. Cursed with handsome men falling in love with her (who wrote that part?) Killer aim with a stiletto heel. A caged bird who needs to sing and be free. Despises boredom and mediocrity. A creative, hilarious, sometimes too sensitive, passionate, exotic beauty.
Rosalie- Wisconsin: originally from the Philippines, married with three adorable kids, a very sweet, calm soul. She’s more centered when some of us are whirlwinds. Loves 70's and 80's music, smart, dedicated mama and wife. Kind and loving. Cute, petite and patient – she has to be with a resident doctor husband! Optimistic and strong. A sense of humor that’s razor sharp, but takes care not to cut anyone who doesn't deserve it. Fiercely devoted to keeping the family ties tied tightly, no matter what the circumstance. Grew up learning how to be tough on the outside, but is truly, at her core, sensitive to not only her pains, but those of the people she cares about.
Jillie-(jillie bean) California: on the other coast and too far away from most of us. Two cute sons and a hubby. Liberal, passionate about mother earth, human rights and politics, music lover and critic, history buff, strict parent, not a girly girl, loves to cook and do things for others, volunteers and loves to self-educate. A supportive friend .The watcher of crazy, off-balance people who require monitoring for the safety and well-being of others. Capable, supportive, warm. A natural beauty who gives great advice about hair and is non judgmental with us (very important in a friend)
Liz -(Lizzy McLiz)- Nevada: the sweet, caring sensitive one, like Martha, adores animals of all shapes and sizes, hubby travels a lot, she tirelessly takes care of her aging mom, takes care of all of us actually. She’s like a mom/girlfriend wrapped in one. Fun, smart, great energy. Great sense of humor, wears her heart on her sleeve (where she wipes her frequent tears!) The goodness from the inside shines on the outside. Also non judgmental.
The auntie who adores and treats the children of our group as if they were blood related. Would probably hug the world if she could, whereas Kim would probably smack it.
Kristin- Virginia: Amazingly strong woman, wife and mom. Enduring and patient. We can't say enough about how much we admire and respect her dedication to her family. Her kids adore her just as much as she adores them. Deadpan funny, sarcastic, witty, smart...multi-layered, private, strong and self-sufficient. Great friend. Does more than any of us together can do. Multitasker. Stands on her own two feet so often when she really should lean harder on us. Patient and level-headed in the most demanding of situations that would bring others to their knees. A survivor. Inspired by the strengths of her children & in turn inspires strength in her children. Perfect sense of sarcastic timing. charming, dedicated, pretty blonde, courageous and devoted.
If you realize how vital to your whole spirit , well being, character, mind and health – friendship actually is, you will make time for it. For so many of us, we have to be in trouble before we remember what’s essential. Remember now.
“Welcome to your life….there’s no turning back"