Here’s To The Girlfriends

Do you remember the time when you’re friends were simply vital to your existence?  You rushed out every summer morning to meet them, the day shimmering with possibilities.  My girlfriends and I would dance in our bedrooms with window sheer hair dressings and ice cream scoop microphones to the steady beat of “Philadelphia Freedom” blaring on my record player.  We would grab flashlights and play “Ghost, Ghost in the Graveyard” in the empty lot across the street, giddy with the freedom of being out after dark.  We would break up over hopscotch and make up over a PB and J later in the afternoon.  Our Barbies fell in love with Ken or G.I. Joe, or became Miss America, or lost their little high heels while riding in the pink wicker baskets on the front of our Schwinns. 

Then we grew up.  The girlfriends took second place to the boyfriends, then the husbands and kids and jobs and in-laws and sitters.  Our biggest connection to another woman was chatting up the goalie’s mom on the sidelines while we waited for the next soccer game to finally end.  We still had friends, of course, but generally we would shoot of a quick e-mail or steal a few minutes on the phone while chauffeuring our kids to their next event.

Late last week I was working at my desk when two of my friends came around the corner to drag me away for lunch.  We pulled up a menu online and chattered like magpies discussing the cons of calories versus the big pro of a chocolate banana shake.  (The shake won.)  I walked down the hallway after lunch and it suddenly occurred to me – I had discovered the value of girlfriends all over again.

They are our secret keepers, our obsession sharers, our strongest allies and our goofiest partners in crime.  If you find a good one, she knows the companionship of silence and the distraction of chatter, and she’ll know which one is needed at that moment.  She’ll applaud your purse choices, “ooh” and “aahh” over your new pair of sandals, and look at every single picture you snapped of your five year old’s birthday party.  She’ll take your keys when you’ve had one too many, find the nearest chick flick and make a date with you, and teach you how to make up a new poker game on the spot.

So, here’s to the girlfriends.  I once thought it was nonsense that psychologists said women are the more social of the sexes.  I understand that now.  Whether you’re ten or you’re eighty, you need the balance of a few good girlfriends in your life.  Ask the soccer mom standing next to you or the new lady one cube over out to lunch one day.  It might just be the start of a great friendship.

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