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June 7, 2022

The Girlfriend Tribe We All Can’t Live Without

Photo by Belle Co on Pexels.

“Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.”

Carrie Bradshaw

I shutter to think of how my life would have turned out without my tribe of girlfriends.

We humans seek out connection from a very early age. There is a mountain of research on the benefits of that sense of belonging. It enhances our sense of value by making us feel seen, heard and appreciated for who we are in our best and worst stages.

I personally don’t need all that research to tell me about it because me and my tribe of girlfriends are proof that connection is, if not a replacement for, definitely a necessary supplement to, years of the best therapy money can buy.

The universe introduced me to my first tribal member at the young, innocent age of 5. We were thrown into the backseat of a car together by our mothers, who needed to create a carpool situation to get us back and forth to kindergarten.

Even at such a young age we recognized each other as kindred spirits and formed a bond that has lasted a lifetime. We giggled at ourselves as we pretended to be sophisticated ladies, drinking tea out of wine glasses during my family’s “fancy” dinners. We listened to The Beatles and The Monkees during sleepovers as we contemplated the perfect husband. Her family gave me stability and Sunday dinners with a roast(which we for some reason always referred to as the “hairy” roast) and mash potatoes with gravy and dinner conversation about the Bible. Her mom taught us how to make our own clothes while her dad just grinned and shook his head at all our shenanigans.

My family showed us another side of life with dinners at supper clubs where waiters  with white tail coats attended our every need. On one memorable vacation to Florida my mom and step dad even let us go to an upscale restaurant alone where the menu had no prices and a violinist walked the tables providing romantic music. I had to leave her at the table and rush up to the hotel room to get more money- because, well- no prices! Together we learned to appreciate jazz and the arts while always keeping an eye out for the next big adventure.

We went to separate colleges but spoke almost daily. She was my maid of honor and is my daughter’s second mom. My grandsons know her as “Aunt grandma Sue Ann”.

Other friends came and went and I am blessed to still be in contact with some who graced my younger years but she is family. We hold each other’s dreams close to our hearts.

My tribe grew as I got older. My daughter had made a friend through a junior cheerleading team and they conspired to introduce their moms to each other. Somehow they new that we would be a perfect fit. Even though we had met through car windows at our daughters’ practice, our next encounter came from my poor choice of a New Year’s Eve date. He abandoned me in the middle of the celebration that her and her husband were also attending. The universe works in mysterious ways. They gave me a ride home, helped me find the humor in my embarrassing situation, supported me through my humiliation and didn’t abandon me through my rage. A forever friendship was born.

Soon after that I took a job at a local bar, immediately bonded with female coworker. Together, we were collectively christened the “twisted sisters” by our regular guests. Two more unforgettable ladies were soon embraced and the 5 of us took our little community by storm.

We line-danced, threw darts, and downed tequila shots together, creating a legend that is still talked about to this day. It wasn’t all about us though. We formed a Christmas charity event that supplied money and toys to needy families and a small scholarship for a graduating high school student that was funded by a fashion show that we produced.

Our biggest claim to fame was the party before the party. Even our serious endeavors were fun! We saw each other through divorces, troubled children and the deaths of loved ones. We hold each other’s secrets, vowing eternal loyalty. We have no other choice because we all know where the bodies are buried!

Sadly we lost one of our twisted sisters to Covid complications this year. It is a void that will never be filled.

Others have found their way into my circle – my National Park coworkers who became family when my own family was so far away- Cindy, my sister in all things travel, festival/concert related and co-venter of all things, sitting on her front porch stoop, drinking beer and solving all the worlds problems, along with Liz, Vivian, Susan, Laura, Jill, Trudi- nights filled with campfires and the shared love of the outdoors-so many amazing women that fill my life with joy; My Santa Barbara ladies who meet as often as possible under the guise of a book club, and while we do share a love of reading, we mostly get together to eat good food and  laugh and cry over the circumstances life has thrown at us; my pandemic lockdown savior whom I was blessed to share dinner with almost nightly in a beautiful rose garden surrounded by bunnies and birds and life stories that turned into a lifelong friendship.

And the story of my tribe would not be complete without including my inspiration, my confidant, my beautiful, priceless daughter. We have laughed and cried and fought our way through this crazy life and I am absolutely sure I would not be alive today if not for her unconditional love and acceptance.

I share this, my tribal memoir of sorts, with you in hopes that you will take a closer look at your friendships and all the wonderful women that make you feel safe, alive, and appreciated. This world can be a dark and lonely place without them. Don’t forget to tell them how much they mean to you. If you haven’t spoken to them in a while, give them a call- right now. Plan a gratitude party and have each of them share a favorite story and write those stories down. Give them a handmade gift that will comfort them when you all can’t be together. Hug them as much as possible.

And yes, there are important men in our lives and we need to give them credit-they are usually the reason we all need our girlfriends!

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