While observing the male behavior at my house, it may appear that the adage “No man is an island” might be somewhat in question from time to time. My husband and son tend to test this theory. They love to get alone in their thoughts, their books, and will often rather burrow in their rooms than get together with friends. I am quite certain, however, that it definitely holds true for the opposite sex. No woman is an island. At least, no sane, healthy, happy woman of my acquaintance or experience. A chick needs her girlfriends. This one in particular. It’s taken me some time to really embrace this.
I can tend to hermit, and you know, I loves me my time to putter in my home. It is lovely when John takes all the kids out of the house for a bit so I can just have time to myself to roam the house, organize, re-organize, and daydream in peace and quiet. When it is completely quiet, I realize why on most days I feel so disquieted! So scattered and frazzled! It’s hard to think straight with lots of little voices in the house. Once it is quiet, I am at peace…for a while. If I get too much peace and quiet, pretty soon I’m discontent; pillaging my fridge and cupboards, looking around my empty house and seeing all that it is lacking. Looking at myself and seeing all that I am lacking. Although I would say I’m an introvert and too much time with others leaves me sometimes exhausted rather than recharged, I’ve noticed that the total absence of others can also leave me unhappy. Too much solitude for me is not a good thing.
It is a very good thing, therefore, that I have my girlfriends. I’ve gone through different phases of “girlfriends” in my life. Playmates, best friends, new best friends (anyone else remember “first best friend”, “second best friend”?), roommates, girlfriends. I have girlfriends I’ve had most of my life, and girlfriends who I’ve known for only a couple of years before life pulled us apart. My husband is often surprised at how quickly women can form friendships or how involved we can become in each other’s lives. I think men form different sorts of friendships than we women. They hang together, bond over similar interests, but they don’t always share the deep stuff of their thoughts and feelings. It takes them longer usually to get to a place of intimacy and vulnerability. Girls are different. We meet and perhaps even before introductions, we are sharing our labor and delivery stories, our diet disasters, our “best bargains”, our struggles, our desires. One of my best friends and I met on a couch in a church bathroom while breastfeeding our daughters ~ now that’s intimacy and vulnerability!
I have a group of girlfriends I met when I moved to Oakwood. We all had children in the same pre-school class and would chit-chat together in the hallway while we waited for our kids to exit the classroom. When our kids went to kindergarten, we would gather at the bus stop and stay long after the bus had pulled away from the curb just to giggle and talk. We referred to each other as the “bus stop ladies”. Soon, the bus stop ladies were getting together weekly for “coffee”. Now, you know with women, coffee is never just coffee. Accompanying goodies are a must! And each year the “goodies” have become progressively more elaborate. Now, we have full-on luncheons every Friday afternoon. We gather in one of our homes, sit around the dining table and eat, eat, eat, and laugh, laugh, laugh. We catch up, commiserate, counsel, celebrate. It is certainly one of the major highlights of my week.
Sometimes, I groan on my way to one of my bus stop ladies coffees because I have too much to do, I think, to take an entire afternoon out to sit around and visit. But once I arrive, and definitely upon leaving, I feel entirely different. I realize something in my heart has been filled. Something in my spirit is lifted. I needed it.
This week, I was talking with my neighbor, Laurie, about the “girlfriend phenomenon”. She told me that her daughter’s grandmother-in-law had passed away and rather than bringing her ashes back home to Russia as planned, her family had decided to scatter them in a rose garden where her girlfriends often gathered for tea. There, she would be often remembered by the women who loved her and missed her. Laurie noted that in the end, it’s often just the “girls” who are left, so we had better take care of those girlfriend relationships! I can’t agree more. We women need our girls. Not just because they are all we will have left at the end of our lives, but because without them, the rest of our lives are not as full. Not as enriched. Not as happy.
Go put on a pot of coffee. Call up that girlfriend and open the doors to your dusty, chaotic home. Don’t let a busy day and a little dust keep you from something that will truly enrich your life and buoy your tired spirit ~ your girlfriends.