Saturday, December 26, 2009

Girl Friends.

About a year ago I had this stunning realization.

I had had very few real girl friends in my life. VERY few.

Diana and Jenny - friends during preschool.

Then Sarah - elementary, middle school, and some of high school. We used to pretend we were boys - Josh and Rick. I was Josh. She was Rick. We played football and watched Penn State games and rarely did anything remotely girly. Now she's an out lesbian and I'm well...I'm me. We haven't really connected in years. I found her on facebook a few months ago and we've exchanged a few words, but I admit to being afraid to find her and hang out. It's been such a long time... I don't know what I would say.

Jess - she was one of my only girlfriends in high school. I tried hard to have others, but we sort of drifted apart. Jess and I are actually still friends. She's one of those motivating people. I never opened up and bared my soul really with her - by that time I had developed some sort of random fear of other women - but she taught me a lot and helped me get through some tough times in my life by cheering me on in all things.





A gaggle of former students I now see as sisters...

It was only very recently that I realized girl friends were important.

I was having this fairly good week - I went through a long period of depression from which I'm only now recovering - and I remember it was this great day... I had been going through this horrid identity crisis after I quit teaching and decided to stay home with my kids - I felt worthless - I didn't know who I was...

I remembered that Kat had said she wanted to sign her son up for swimming lessons. I remember that today was the last day to register - so I called her and told her about it. Both of us had moved to the area from elsewhere and both of us were fairly new moms - but I was less new. She was nervous about going to the sign ups so I offered to drive her there and help her out. This anxiety was something I understood, and I didn't have to worry because I had already been through the process. Helping someone out felt good. And the other thing was - hanging out with her one on one felt good too. I felt renewed when I got home. I had helped someone and I had worked on establishing a new sort of relationship with someone. I had something to offer.

That night, Summer called and asked if I wanted to go and see Sex and the City - the movie - with her.

I wasn't into the shows - I didn't have HBO and I wasn't motivated enough to rent the DVDs and we didn't have Netflix then, but I agreed to go.

This was the first time I would have ever been to the movies with just another girl.

I tried once with Jess, but my best friend at the time, Adam (a guy, shock of shocks) sort of followed us there and hung out with us. We went to see Romeo + Juliet. I think I may have called him and told him we would be there. I was trying to hook him up with Jess - but I was also terrified of being one on one with another girl. I don't know why. I don't know why to this day - but it still carries a lot of anxiety for me. Maybe someday a shrink will explain all of this, but I'm trying for the time being to stay out of therapy...

Anyway, Summer called and invited me to go and see this movie and I said I would go.

I felt sort of guilty because I was leaving Michael at home, but he assured me that he would be fine and I should just go with my friend.

It was one of the most fun experiences of my life.

I know that sounds sort of ridiculous - but going to see that movie that night and sharing that sort of female-female bonding - I'm not sure I had ever let myself do that before - not in forever. Not really.

And the movie was one of my favorites. I didn't know a lot about the story except from hearsay from others, but that movie taught me about girlfriends. What that relationship means. What you talk about - where you go - how you function as friends. I know it's just a movie, but it opened my eyes to this whole world that I was missing out on - one that I NEEDED.

I taped the ticket stub for the movie on my wall upstairs.

Everyone in my family has a wall - well, a part of one, covered with plywood. We can use that space to tape up whatever we want - reflections of ourselves.

Mine is covered with photographs of my children and of my husband and of former students and extended family and poetry and cards and news articles and this ticket stub.

Recently I added a picture of Jenny and me, one of my best friends from preschool and kindergarten. We are wearing pigtails and holding those water balloon things with a hole in the center you get at the fair. Sort of Slinkys made of liquid and latex. We're holding them up like noses and smiling.

It helps me remember that first innocent friendship.

I've had some scars along the way. Girls I thought were friends trying to steal my boyfriend. Girls who were mean to me and stole my lunch money and untied my dresses and pulled my hair in ninth grade. Girls who told me straight to my face that I was "ugly". But that ticket stub and that picture - no matter what happens - will serve to remind me the value of girl friends. Bumpy road or not - we need each other.

Kat and I have grown apart since college when we were roommates and shared everything. She will be moving to New York soon. Right now she lives diagonally across the street. We don't hang out like we thought we would when she and her family first moved here, but she is there for me when I need her, and I am there for her.

I remember my mom being here while I was essentially in labor for three weeks with my daughter and Kat called and asked if I could run over to her house and take a pie out of the oven. This was such a fluid occurrence that I didn't even think about it. Of course I would. My mom was sort of baffled, "I wish I had friend like that," she said, "someone I could just call if I had pies in the oven."

I didn't know quite what to say.

I've learned that having girl friends is like that.


Anonymous said...

Hi Miss. The best thing about our friendship is no matter how much time passes I feel like we can talk like it was just a day. :o) LOVE your blogs!!!

Anonymous said...

oh and lol, Adam seemed to follow us a lot back then!

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