I used to feel like I missed something. Sometimes after reading books like The Ya Ya Sisterhood or The traveling pants or some other girlfriend centric chick lit like that, I felt like the bus pulled out of the garage without me. I'd start to thinking how awesome it would be to have this large circle of women who have known me forever and accept me for who I am and who will always be there for me.
Don't get me wrong. I have wonderful friends that I love beyond words. But I became friendly with most, if not all, after my twenties. There are only a couple that I can trace back to my teens. Few of my friends know that I once thought I could talk to animals or that I had a crush on Sean Cassidy. It kind of starts to annoy me when I read those books. The women bond instantly as toddlers and are still the bosomest of buddies five decades later.
Quite recently however, I realized something. I had completely overlooked something every time I started my little pity party over poor friendless me. Or, I should say, I overlooked someones. I actually do have a big circle of girlfriends, who date back to my infancy even, who rally around me when needed and who know me better than I know myself. My sisters. Duh! I am lucky enough to have five incredible sisters. These women have seen me through every awkward stage and loved me in spite of myself. We called each other names, pulled each other's hair, and borrowed each other's clothes without asking. And yet, through it all, they have been there for me.
We tease each other over disastrous prom do's and bad haircuts. We help each other get through tough times with small gestures that mean more than we know. One of my sisters sent me postcards throughout my college freshman year because she knew getting mail was a daymaker. One of my sisters showed up at my door with bags and bags of groceries when she heard through the grapevine that we were all down with the swine flu. When Sam was hospitalized with pneumonia one of my sisters arrived at the hospital, scooped up my baby for the weekend so that I could focus on my sick little guy. I missed my baby but never gave a second thought to her well being. I knew she was in the best of hands. We don't always get along and may bicker amongst each other at times but when one of us is down and out, the others come through with love, support, humor, food and yes, when appropriate, wine. They boost me up when I'm feeling down, take my kids when I need a break, commiserate with me when I need to vent, and always always leave me laughing.
We've discussed love, kids, husbands, tv shows, politics and every other topic in between, around someone's kitchen table...first my Mother's and over the years everyone's. They've taught me all I needed to know about parenthood and marriage while sitting around a kitchen table.
They've pushed me to embark on adventures I was reluctant to begin. They've taught me about sewing, knitting, running, cooking, basketball, travel and teaching. Some of these have been successful ventures and others, well let's just say they are best left alone. We've collaborated on projects and poked and prodded each other into making sure we see them all through to completion. We've celebrated each other's achievements and accomplishments together.
My sisters quietly give me space when I need it and let me know they are there if I need them.
I am blessed beyond words. I belong to a circle of women who are funny, loving, generous and who love me as fiercely as I love each of them. My sisters. My girlfriends.
I am lucky indeed.