I recently found myself sitting with a group of women who were getting to know each other. They were sharing their experiences, and in return, being buoyed themselves. As I looked around the room, I thought to myself, “This is what girlfriends are all about.”
I feel fortunate that my best friends were instant friends. But the heart-to-heart connections that see us through life were cultivated and carefully grown by investing time and energy into each other. Girlfriends, like any relationship, require effort. But it is effort well-spent for so many reasons.
Support Systems Are Priceless
When my oldest was born, we moved 1500 miles away from everyone I had ever known. I was not working outside of the home, I had a three month old baby, and I felt so alone. I decided even though Isaac was months away from playmates, this mommy needed a playdate. So I loaded us up and drove to a playgroup meeting I had heard about at church. Once in the parking lot, I sat in my car afraid of how desperate I must seem dragging my BABY to a playgroup. Just as I decided to go home, I heard a knock on my drivers side window. “Are you here for playgroup? Let me help you get inside.” Fast forward seventeen years, and that offer of help has become my soul-sister and greatest supporter.
This friend was also my link to sanity in those early mom days. I recently sent a text out to all my closest girlfriends and asked them why they felt it was important to make time for girlfriends. All of them responded with “SANITY.” No kidding! I love being known as Isaac and Isabelle’s Mom. But sometimes, it’s nice to just be me. When I take that evening and meet friends for dinner, I approach the next day renewed. There is some kind of restorative magic that happens to our hearts when we spend an evening out with our girlfriends. We breathe easier.
Because Our Kids Are Watching
They are always watching, right? By the way we treat our friends and make them a priority in our lives, we teach our kids how they should choose and grow friendships of their own. They also see us make someone else important in our life, and by extension in their life. And they learn that while time is finite, we have an infinite amount of love to share. As one friend put it, “We build our own village.”
Girlfriends Get You In Ways Husbands Just Don’t
My husband will tell you he has been the recipient of far too many “What do you think of these shoes?” text messages in his lifetime. I know he appreciates it when I ask someone else’s opinion. He is also not an adventurous eater or someone who enjoys staying out past 10pm. My girlfriends are my first call when I hear about a new restaurant opening, concert in town, or when the new shoes debut on my favorite website. It’s okay that my husband isn’t the sum total of my relationships. I can’t say enough that he is a wonderful man. But at the end of the day, his experiences as a man are not my experiences as a woman, and sometimes you need another woman to really understand that.
Because Life Happens and No One Can Do It Alone
When my babies were born, when my beloved grandmother passed away, when we moved cities, when my youngest went to kindergarten and I cried until I couldn’t breathe, my girlfriends were right there with me. The culmination of coffee dates, week day dinners, early morning phone calls, and late night texts saw me through it all. While I’m always someone’s mom, I am also a woman with a voice all my own. My girlfriends remind me, even when I forget.