50 Thoughts: Girl Power

Originally published September 21, 2018

I’m running way late tonight, but I have a good reason.

Nothing beats a night out with girlfriends.

It was a last-minute thing, a casual invite to the high school football game. It’s Homecoming weekend, after all. Four hours and three girlfriends later, I’m finally in front of the computer. The timing’s off, but I wouldn’t trade it for more time to write.

If there’s one thing outside of family that I am regularly grateful for, it’s the steadfast network of friends I’ve established since graduating from college. Way, way back in the day, I had a weekly movie date with another girlfriend, so that we could catch all the Oscar buzzworthy movies we knew our significant others would not be interested in seeing. When the kids were young, my BFF lived two doors down, and I don’t know how many nights we spent at each other’s houses, either watching cheesy TV or serving up cheap pizza with a bottle of wine. That village that helps you raise your toddler is your village for life.

As the kids grew and we traded one town for another, I found sisters in the stands, watching countless hockey games. And baseball. And basketball. And soccer. And because my daughter pretty much grew up where we live now, I’ve been blessed with friends found in those preschool and early elementary days. In fact, two out of the three girlfriends tonight were her Girl Scout troop leaders, and the third another sister from the stands — swimming leaves a lot of downtime to chat it up with other parents and form lasting friendships.

I am so lucky to have some of the brightest, funniest, persistent, strong women as friends. I’m not a guy, so I can’t speak to male friendship. The context isn’t there for me. So without that perspective, I’m sure you could argue the validity of what I am about to say, but I really do believe there’s a bond between women that supersedes anything comparable on a male trajectory.

We are the caretakers, so we take care of each other. We listen, we support, we understand. I always knew if my kids were at one of my friends’ houses, they would be as safe as if they were in their own home. For me, it’s innate — a support system that runs on auto-pilot. If a friend needs me, I am there. If I need them, it’s as easy as picking up the phone. These are the shoulders I have leaned on through tough times, and the faces I wanted there to celebrate the good ones.

Scanning the crowd tonight, watching high school girls be high school girls, I was taken back to those days and those friends, for which I will always be grateful for as well, though they’re no longer an everyday occurrence in my life. I am forever fond of them and thrilled when I can see them, because for those few years together, those friendships were as important then as the ones I have now.

I watch my daughter with her friends and am in awe of that circle’s poise; their resilience. Her group of friends is strong, close-knit and rarely gets their collective feathers ruffled. It’s my hope that because these friendships have essentially been lifelong for her, she’ll be able to carry these forward into adulthood, What a gift that would be.

Regardless, whether it’s five minutes and a last-minute invite or 15 years from now and an entirely new set of faces, you can count on the sisterhood to lift you up. Women will always have your back. Those are the friendships that last forever.

Today’s recommendation: Going with a girl theme, though somewhat unrelated – Girls by Emma Cline. Pretty trippy.

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