A-woman

Girlfriends

"Don't forget your girlfriends"

This was sent to me from Susan A young wife sat on a porch in Waycross, Georgia on a summer day, drinking iced tea and visiting with her Mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, about the responsibilities and the obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter.

"Don't forget your girlfriends," she advised, swirling the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass.

"They'll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you'll have, you are still going to need girlfriends. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them. And remember that "girlfriends" are not only your friends, but your sisters, your daughters, and other relatives too. You'll need other women. Women always do."

'What a funny piece of advice,' the young woman thought. 'Haven't I just gotten married? Haven't I just joined the couple-world? I'm now a married woman, for goodness sake, a grownup, not a young girl who needs girlfriends! Surely my husband and the family we'll start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!'

But she listened to her Mother; she kept contact with her girlfriends and made more each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her Mom really knew what she was talking about. As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, girlfriends are the mainstays of her life. After 50 years of living in this world, here is what I know about girlfriends:

Girlfriends bring you casseroles and scrub your bathroom when you need help. Girlfriends keep your children and keep your secrets. Girlfriends give advice when you ask for it. Sometimes you take it, sometimes you don't. Girlfriends don't always tell you that you're right, but they're usually honest. Girlfriends still love you, even when they don't agree with your choices. Girlfriends laugh with you, and you don't need canned jokes to start the laughter. Girlfriends pull you out of jams. Girlfriends help you get out of bad relationships.

Girlfriends help you look for a new apartment, help you pack, and help you move. Girlfriends will give a party for your son or daughter when they get married or have a baby, in whichever order that comes!

Girlfriends are there for you, in an instant when the hard times come. Girlfriends will drive through blizzards, rainstorms, hail, heat, and the gloom of night to get to you when your hour of need is desperate. Girlfriends listen when you lose a job or a friend. Girlfriends listen when your children break your heart.

Girlfriends listen when your parents' minds and bodies fail. Girlfriends cry with you when someone you loved dies. Girlfriends support you when the men in your life let you down. Girlfriends help you pick up the pieces when men pack up and go. Girlfriends rejoice at what makes you happy, and are ready to go out and kill what makes you unhappy.

Times passes. Life happens. Distance separates. Children grow up. Marriages fail. Love waxes and wanes. Hearts break. Careers end. Jobs come and go. Parents die. Colleagues forget favors. Men don't call when they say they will. But girlfriends are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you.

A girlfriend is never farther away than needing her can reach. When you have to walk that lonesome valley, and you have to walk it for yourself, your girlfriends will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end. Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you. Or come in and carry you out.

My daughter, sister, sisters-in-law, mother-in-law, nieces, cousins, extended family, and friends bless my life! The world wouldn't be the same without them, and neither would I. When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other. Every day, we need each other still.

Pass this on to the women who help make your life work. I just did.

"Do all the good you can, for all of the people you can, while you can."


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