I just got back from a play date. I haven’t had a chance to hang out with my friends since I got back from Mom and Dad’s so I made plans with one of my friends at church. Since we couldn’t work our schedules so that the dads would have the kids, we decided to let the kids have a “play date” so we could spend some time together. The kids thought it was all about them, but really, they just got to tag along on our play date. We sat on couches across from each other in my friend’s living room and interviewed each other for a couple of hours. We talked and listened and reconnected.
I have three really good friends here. I know more people than that, but I’ve only made tight connections with three. Quite honestly, that’s more than I’d expected to have this year. We moved here towards the end of June last year and will move again some time in June this year. We aren’t in the witness protection program, we move because of my husband’s job, but sometimes it feels like we are. Every so often we re-invent our lives and start over somewhere new.
Every time we move I have to make a conscious decision to make new friends. Sometimes I feel like it would be easier to just maintain long distance relationships with the friends I already have. Why invest in new people when I’m going to be leaving before I get to put down roots? Why make the next move any harder than it has to be? But I’ve realized that this is my life. It’s the only one I’ll have. I’d rather do this life thing with friends by my side than “lone ranger” it on my own. I don’t want to miss out on a single relationship that will make me stronger, make me better, make me more authentically the “me” that I really am.
I could Pollyanna Sunshine this story and tell you how truly wonderful it is that we get to live in such amazing places and have incredible experiences. That would be true. We’ve lived in places that people pay big bucks to vacation. And we’ve grown friendships in the different places we’ve lived that we try to continue to cultivate. But quite honestly, it’s a lot of work. But as 40 breathes down my neck with its old-lady-bad-breath, I realize that with age comes wisdom, at least some of the time. Something that I now know for certain is that women need friends. Some of us need more friends than others. Some only need one best friend or soul mate. The number may not be important but the connection is. And we need to have other women in our lives. Sure my husband is my friend, but he’s not a wife. He’s not a mom. He tries to empathize, but he can’t replace my girl friends.
I’m sure you’ve read books, or if you’re a mom, magazine articles (Who gets a chance to read chapter books with babies in the house?) about how women are the more relational of the genders. I think one reason may be that women love good stories. Have you seen the Lifetime Channel, for crying out loud? We like to know people’s stories about who they are and what they do and what they think and say. Why else would I invest time from my day to read blogs written by women I’ve never met about their lives and thoughts and wishes and dreams? I think it’s not only the stories that we appreciate, but we love it when people are transparent and let us see them for who they really are.
So who am I today? I’m a girl who feels so blessed to have some amazing women in my life. Whether they’ve been in my life long enough to know where the bodies are buried or they’re so new that they don’t even know whether I like Coke or Pepsi (definitely only Coke), I’m grateful to have them and believe with all my heart that they’re worth the effort it takes to keep them in my life.
Scheduled any play dates for yourself lately?