Friends among Women
Growing up I was not in the “IN” crowd, nor was I popular. The majority of my grade-school years were spent at a Catholic school. I remember classmates as far back as first grade but a best friend or even good friends I had very few. My first memory of a best friend was in fourth grade. I had one for fourth, and fifth. Then I had a couple of friends in sixth, and seventh but no best friend. Actually I wasn’t really liked much at all, in sixth and seventh grade. Thinking back on it, seventh was my hardest, I was what would be considered today, bullied. Some of the girls put my school shoes in the toilet while I was at P. E. I was made fun of, and a whole host of other things, I don’t care to remember, throughout all of seventh grade. Eighth grade was a bit better, the two queen bees that led the girls the years before, had left the school and I bonded with someone. We were like Laverne & Shirley (we even had our own Lenny and Squiggy). I remember thinking we would go to high school and college together and then live together just like Laverne & Shirley. But alas, life and plans change.
For high school I went to a public school, while my best friend and most of my school mates went to a Catholic high school. The adjustment was difficult but I managed. I found one close friend and other people that I talked to, but again I never was part of the “IN” crowd. In tenth grade the close friend changed but the story was the same. Again the same story for eleventh grade, new close friend, the Runner. The Runner remained my close friend through eleventh and twelfth grade, and we are still in contact today. She was crazy and fun and always made me laugh. We shared a salad from the salad bar, almost daily, for lunch, our senior year. I have wonderful memories from our friendship.
I would say overall, I got along much better with boys than girls. I never understood the way girls acted with each other. It probably also had something to do with the fact that I was boy crazy. Boys were just easier to talk to and hang with, there was no false behavior, what you saw was what you got. I had one, good, male friend all through high school and afterwards, for awhile. He was easy to talk to and get along with; there were never any arguments or misunderstandings. And, when I met and started dating the Director nothing changed, it was all good.
After high school I had some casual friends but no one really close, I just had the Director and occasional contact with the Runner (she went into the Navy) and my male friend from high school. A few years later I connected with the Runner’s older sister and a woman that I had worked for, right out of high school. I valued those friendships but didn’t understand the true value of having a wonderful female friendship, the sisterhood that I could have. I always sort of felt like a lost puzzle piece.
After the Director and I married we moved to a small town on the coast, we made some friends but it wasn’t until we had our first child and joined a wonderful, small, active church that I truly learned what friendships were really about. When I started home schooling that lesson was magnified even more! We moved from that town nine years later to the town I grew up in. After a couple of years of church shopping, we joined a new church and again I made some wonderful friendships, bonds with women that I truly value and appreciate. But there is something about my friendships with the women of that small town. There I felt like I had found the puzzle I belonged to.
The sisterhood and bonds I have with the women of that small town is immense. I have so many fabulous memories. We have had children together, struggled through parenting issues together, watched each others children grow up and supported each other in our marriages. Our husbands are friends. And, even though I now live 45 minutes away, the connection is still strong. I was on a weekend, birthday celebration with several of these women when my miscarriage began. These women surrounded me with love and held me as I cried; looking back I can see God’s had in orchestrating that time for me. I’m truly sorry it was a downer for my dear friend, celebrating her birthday, but I will forever be grateful that those women were there when it happened.
This past weekend me and four of those wonderful friends, stayed at a local hotel for a couple of days. It was just the break I needed. We reminisced, laughed, (oh, how we laughed, my face still hurts from laughing so much), shopped, broke bread together, watched a fabulous movie, went to mass, and just enjoyed being who we are, together. For about 45 hours, we took a break from 26 children collectively, husbands whom we love and adore and other obligations and responsibilities. We were just ourselves, the women, that God made us to be. We accepted and loved each other; we shared and learned from each other. But most of all we communed in a way that only women can, supporting each other, right where we are on this journey of life. I feel so blessed to have friends with whom I can be myself and have so much fun with. I hope to grow old in these friendships. My hope and prayer is that every woman finds what I have.
This video truly describes what I’m trying to say. To all my dear friends, I love you all! Words on Women and Strength by Kelly Corrigan