While reading “OhThe Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss, he sagely explains that even though you’ll be surrounded by people, you’ll still be alone quite a lot. We are, after all, completely alone in our experience of this life. This feeling of isolation in our heads can exist even in the midst of families, BFFs of middle and high school, college roommates, marriage, and, of course, parenthood. All these lives and spirits are so physically close yet altogether separated.
On of the best things I have ever done that combatted this sense of “aloneness” was to commit to my friends on Saturday mornings. When we started this weekly get-together, we were almost tentative as we told our husbands. We even felt the need to justify this time by combining it with exercise (ie. walking, in-line skating). After a few weeks, my friend’s husband asked, with some trepidation, “Is this going to be every Saturday?” She responded an unequivocal “yes”. Neither one of us thought they would accept this. It was too luxurious, too selfish, too much of a special event to happen on a weekly basis. Yet, we risked their disagreement, and it has become a weekly ritual. We have continued meeting through new babies, soccer season, financial upheavals, moving, etc. What we’ve gained from these friendships is an understanding that we’re not alone. Spending time together and deepening our relationships have really opened up the floodgates of sharing all of our lives with each other. There is no topic that can’t be broached. There is no judgement, except when necessary to get us on the right track.
Some topics of conversation come up repeatedly. We need to number them to be able to refer to the details more efficiently. Frustrating in-laws, moody husbands, children’s behaviors, and financial management are the most commonly occurring. We often think that so many women are just putting on a happy face even though they are frustrated and at the end of their ropes. Not that we believe you should go through life complaining and negative, but that we, as women should be real and sincere with each other. We love our husbands, our children, and our families, but they drive us crazy. The support we receive from our friends will help us maintain our perspective and our priorities. Life is so short, we can lighten each other’s loads just by sharing our daily struggles. We can’t always offer solutions, but listening and being reassured that we are not the only ones going through a particular trial can help us to smile and continue moving forward. For this, we need to turn to our girlfriends.