I was thinking the other day about an essay contest I remember seeing that asked people to describe an important friendship in their life. I imagine the judges spent a lot of time reading about the “thick-and-thin” friendships that develop over decades or through life’s struggles. Not to dismiss the importance of those, but these days what is on my mind is the kind of friendship that emerges through life’s simple pleasures and positive moments and grows quickly to be a very valuable part of one’s life.
Not since probably the 2nd grade have I had the pleasure of what I have enjoyed the past couple of years. A great group of ladies started getting to know each other at the drop-off in front of a small school on a lovely corner in Lincoln Square. We grew more familiar through volunteer projects, kids’ sports teams and book club meetings (where the main topic is often just life) and began spending more and more time together at moms’ nights out, wine strolls, trunk shows, the nail salon and each other’s homes where we celebrated everything from bringing back extra bottles of wine from Napa to the Kentucky Derby. Second grade was probably the last time friendships were so simple.
It sounds so typical, doesn’t it? Here’s a bunch of ladies who become friends because their kids go to school together. They have a book club. They go out to eat together. They have cookie exchanges. But here’s why I think this group is special, as illustrated in a question my husband had for me a little while back, “How can a group of roughly 15 women get along so well? You guys never seem to fight or back-stab. I never hear you say anything about each other that you wouldn’t say in front of that person.”
My first response was, “We have a lot of Capricorn females.” (He’s a Capricorn, and I like to flatter him.) But, I think there is more to it than that. We value each other for who we are. Despite the fact that we have a lot in common, we do have our differences in lifestyle, life goals, family history and experience. We have ladies who run marathons (I’m talking the Boston Marathon and Ironman events), as well as those who joke, “Let them do it… means more margaritas for us!” Among us are stay-at-home moms, working moms and moms who work part-time. Some of us are fired up about almost everything and others are very laid back. We are honest about our choices but never critical of the choices of others. Possibly the most common element between us is respect.
Through this group of people I have learned the value of appreciating other people simply for who they are. Granted, within this larger group, there are people who are closer based on circumstances, common interest or disposition. But, this larger collection of friends works… really, really works. And even though they have not helped me struggle through a major life crisis, nor did they know me way back when, they have helped me in ways that I imagine I will forever be thankful. They have accepted me and respected me for who I am.
One of us is moving across the country this month, which has made me more reflective of this than I have been in the past couple of years. She keeps saying to us, “Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your group.” But, our group didn’t really exist in this way before she came along. She was as much a part of this than any of us. And, despite being 15-or-so strong, we will feel her loss.
P.S. The husbands are pretty cool too.