On Girlfriendship

I have always been lucky to have amazing girlfriends. Some people define the stages in life by age or grade in school, I can define mine by the most significant friendship of the time.

These girls have made lasting impressions on my life – so much of who I am today and what I think about the world can be attributed to my friendships with them.

I’m thankful for my friends who don’t have kids yet, and are still perfectly content to accommodate mine so we can still spend time together. These are the women who can meet me for breakfast while my kids are in school. These are the ones who can stay up until all hours of the night talking and talking. They drop off presents at 11:00 at night, and I catch them and invite them in for pie. They can stay late for game night or are content to watch movies with me while the kids nap. I am exponentially grateful for you. You have made my life so much better. Your willingness to make room for me and my kids means so much more to me than I can ever say. And I promise that one day, when you’re in the young-kid-phase, I’ll come by at midnight with cookies and I’ll come hang out with you while your babies nap.

To my college besties. We have forged bonds over broken hearts and late night Commons cookies. You have let me be really angry and you’ve listened to me complain about it. You have allowed me to be confused and frustrated. And you have also shared joy and adventure and happiness and contentment with me. You have crashed on my couch countless times and neither of us is above napping together. You have taken my kids to the park so I could catch my breath. You have encouraged me when I felt like I was going nowhere. You have admired me when I was admiring you. You have given me insight into things I had never imagined. You have been just as content to explore new cities as to stay at my house and cuddle with my kids.  You are the surrogate aunts of my children. I have chosen you and you have chosen me and I depend on you. I love you and am so very grateful for you in ways I can’t even say.

And to my fellow mothers. You are irreplaceable. I love that our kids get along and we get along. I wish I could say that wasn’t a rare gift, but it is. And even if our kids don’t necessarily get along, I love and appreciate you and enjoy our friendship. I love you for your perspective and your advice and your ideas. I love that I have someone to turn to when I just don’t know how to navigate the world of family and parenting. Thank you for sharing your hearts and your lives with me. I love you.

And to my mentors. I tear up when I think about you. About how your lives of love, devotion and wisdom are such a beacon of hope to me. I get lost sometimes, wondering who I am and where I am going and then you pop into my mind. And I remember. Yes. It doesn’t matter if I don’t accomplish much if I am a friend like you are, if I love my family like you do, if I care for people as you care for them. I will count my life worthwhile if I can emulate you at all. I love you for showing me the way. For setting up roadsigns along the path, even when you didn’t know you were doing it. I love you for loving me in my immaturity and childish delusions, and for still being nice to me as I try to grow up and figure things out.

My sisters and my mother. My first girlfriends. You fit into the other categories, but deserve a special one, too. I love you because we will always be family, because we will always have each other’s backs. Because no matter what happens, you are the ones I would give anything for. You are the ones who love me and my children in ways no one else can. The haven of your love made it possible for me to go out and seek far off adventures, knowing you would be home when I came back.

And even to you, perfect strangers who have offered a helping hand or a package of cookies when it was clear we were having a bad day, thank you. Your friendship, your willingness to suspend judgement and react in kindness to an unknown situation – these things overwhelm me. You are the greatest example of the sisterhood of womankind – that if we let go of all the nonsense that can get in our way, we will find such joy and comfort in our camaraderie. Thank you for being a beacon of hope on a cloudy day.

To you, my friends, you wonderful women who inspire me so much. Thank you. We don’t always agree or see things the same way, but there is a bond between us that runs deeper than any of that. It is like our souls are connected through time and space and politics and jobs and locations. There is something that will always connect us, and I’m so thankful for that. I’m thankful that you have loved me when I couldn’t love myself. That you have forgiven me for my mistakes, and you have let me be who I am.

One of my greatest hopes for my daughters is that their whole lives they are blessed with friendships like these. That these friendships will be an anchor is stormy weather. They will be the first ray of dawn on dark nights. And they will be a palm tree of shade in beautiful sun.

I love you, I love you, I love you. You mean the world to me.

3 thoughts on “On Girlfriendship

  1. Michelle, many of your posts have touched my heart, but this one triggered a few tears. “The sisterhood of womankind.” Living internationally has convinced me of that simple truth. When hearts touch, a bond is forged. These days height, width, skin color, fashion, hijab or niqab all seems irrelevant. Sisters come in packages as unique their fingerprints. And how glorious a gift is each.

    1. “How glorious a gift is each” – perfectly put. It is such a joy to know women from so many places who come with different traits, each of which makes them invaluably different, yet at our core we are all sisters.

  2. This is beautifully written. I too am grateful for my female friendships. You were one of the first women I ever really opened up to and can continue to open up to. Something about your ability to listen compassionately and nonjudgementally while simultaneously offering some “get your shit together” advice is really astounding to me. I feel safe with you always and I feel lucky to have been included in this post. I can’t wait to see you my dear friend. Thank you for giving me a safe space to run to when it feels like my world is falling apart! <3

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