I have been surrounded by great women my whole life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, and he is my best friend. But great girlfriends are special. Maybe even more to me because I was an only child.
My only female cousin, on my mother’s side, is the closest thing I have to a sister, and has been huge part of my life from the day she was born. We understand where we come from, and treasure our family, but also marvel at our dysfunctionality. We share a love for wine and song, and can tell what the other is thinking at a glance. I would not trade this woman for the world. She keeps my insanity in check by reminding me that we are all truly mad.
I have friends from elementary school that I still try to catch up with a couple of times a year, and friends from high school and college that I treasure. We share a common past that led us to our lives today. You can’t magically create that with someone you just met.
I have good friends that I’ve only known as an adult that also mean the world to me. We’ve shared good times and bad in our work, our marriages and losses of family. We’re getting older together, and certainly experiencing middle age and all those lovely things that come with that. We’re going through cycles of life together, daily.
As I’ve gotten older, there have been two special groups of women that have warmed my heart. I went to a Women’s Circle meeting from my church last night, and just being in the presence of these women made me feel loved and safe. Our ages vary by almost 20 years, but we share a common love for Christ, for our church, and for each other. Our worldly missions are many. Most of all, though, over the years, we’ve prayed for each other, both separately and as one group. We’ve discussed the things that really matter and helped each other see what’s truly inconsequential that sometimes consume our lives. We’ve watched families grow, and grandchildren be born. Most of us don’t run in the same circles in our lives, or have many mutual friends othen than this group, but walking into that room last night, I realized how truly blessed I am to have known most of these women for 20 years, and how they continue to feed my faith.
The other group is a group that I’ve never met in person, which makes my bond with them suprising. We started out as part of a larger “Childless Not By Choice” group on iVillage many moons ago, and when the iVillage format changed and the board became less active, one of my friends created a private group for us on another platform. There group is small, and although there are times when some of us don’t participate as often, we’re always there for each other. Our circumstances for not having children are different, but the impact on our lives has been tremendous. Years past the “right” age for motherhood, we are still dealing with it. But we celebrate our friends’ and relatives’ kids and grandkids together, and share our joy of buying gifts for them and watching them grow. We also share the pain as we get older of figuring out what lies in our future. Who will take care of us? How will we be remembered? The posts are less and less about being childless and more about our lives in general, just as chats with old friends should be. I miss them when I “unplug” for a day or two, and I am so glad to be friends with some of them on Facebook now too.
There’s something about finding the right girlfriends along the way that makes your journey joyful.