“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood”
–Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Philosopher
I truly feel that the girl friends I have at this point in my life do understand me, and for the most part I understand them as well. I am very fortunate in that I have a few girl friends who go all the way back to my childhood, many more that have known me for 15+ years, as well as a new handful that I have made in recent years. These women represent different phases of my life, with the knowledge of me that goes along with it. We have many shared experiences, as well as experiences that are unique to one or few.
I went through a period of time after having kids where I felt like I just couldn’t devote the attention to maintaining all of the friendships I had made over the years. I was scrambling around all day trying to tackle my endless to-do list, working full time, honoring family obligations, taking care of my growing children, staying connected with my husband, maintaining my house, keeping up with kid’s lessons and their social commitments. Who has time to hang out with girl friends? Similarly, many of them were having kids and struggling with the same issues I was. We would try to “schedule” outings, dinners, parties, etc. but inevitably a babysitter would fall through, the kids would get sick, some sort of catastrophe would happen and we would put it off another month, and then another.
I realized that I was starting to feel disconnected from them and the life I knew before I had kids, as well as the identity I had known for so long. I was so focused on trying to arrange these scheduled functions that I failed to realize that connecting with my girl friends didn’t mean I had to do anything other than reach out and touch base with them on a regular basis. I needed these women, and I needed to be there for them as well. I also realized that to better care for myself that I had to make sure that I made these friendships a priority, even if it was a quick lunch during the week, or a drink after work once in awhile.
These women have helped me grow as a person, become more confident and comfortable in my own skin, and given me the support I need to take on life’s challenges. My fellow mommy friends let me blow off steam about the stress and frustration of being expected to be the “perfect mom”, the pressures of trying to manage it all, and vent about how our husband’s seem so clueless about how hard this is. My non-mom friends pull me out of my comfort zone, remind me that there is more to life than kid activities, and make me feel more like I did before I was a wife and mother. My girlfriends that I grew up with know the crazy person that I was before I settled into this life, and have a complete context of where I came from. They know my history, my stories, and can read me without me having to say a word. My new girl friends who I have met through work, or through my kids are such a great sounding board for all of the day-to-day hassles that my life now involves, and help me navigate these new murky waters.
What all of these women have in common is that they are amazing, smart, beautiful, funny, supportive, loving, kind, patient, and immensely important to my mental, physical, and spiritual well-being, as well as my SANITY!! To all of my girlfriends…Thank you! Thank you for understanding me, and I hope that I make you feel “understood” as well.