Something else that I keep close to my heart is my friends. A few years ago, I read The Girls of Ames. This is a book about a group of 10 women who grew up together and still stay close after 20 years and living across the country. Girlfriends are so important, especially now as a mother. I realize that I need all sorts of women in my life. Close friends, acquaintances, mentors, mentees. I need them all. I need my childhood friends. I have two women that I formed an email "Mommy group" with when our first children were born within months of each other. I am not sure I would have made it through the first year without them. We were in the trenches together. We shared the good and the bad, asked questions, comforted each other and praised each other. I share my memories of high school with these women and that was a time in my life that I grew into myself and started becoming me. I know their families and they know mine. They hold a place in my heart that the women I meet now can't. But they do not live near by and we can not visit as often as I like. Technology and email keep us close. My college friends also hold that special place in my heart. They were with me the first time I was out on my own. This was the next step in becoming the adult I am now. College is a very unique and critical part of our lives. We had freedom to invent ourselves, find ourselves, grow into ourselves. The memories I have with these women will always be in a special place in my heart. I love staying in touch with them and hearing about the women they have become and the families that they have created.
I need women in my day to day life. To go out to dinner with, to laugh with, to share. These women have children my age and it forms a community. But it isn't all about our kids. We are close in age and sometimes we need to talk about things other than our children. Sometimes we need to be without our children. I need my GNOs (girls night out). It helps me be a better mother. I need women in my life who share my faith. I have noticed that I am now meeting families, not just individuals. I have watched my childhood and college friends fall in love, get married and start families. I am now meeting people already in established families and learning about them and how they became who they are now, not watching it happen. I love this new perspective. I need to be friends with stay at home mom and working moms. I learn so much from both. I learn from people different than me. I learn from people similar to me. We're all in it together.
I also need women in my life that don't have kids. A coworker has brought me back to reading again. I love reading books with her and forming an informal "club" to talk about what we are reading. Not everything is about work and kids. I hearing about their pets and things they do with their lives B.C. (before children). I loved those days. I need older women whose children are grown to lean on and ask questions and to hear that they got through it and I will too.
Thanks to all of you who are my friend!