My eyes caught a brief, painful glimpse of sunlight as I lazily rolled to my side. I lifted my achy neck just enough to catch the time on my clock…7:37am. I can do this. I had been telling myself the previous day that I’ll actually get up early this Saturday and do my shopping before everyone gets up. When times are dim as they have been as of late, earlier productive mornings are fewer and further between. I climbed out of bed, grabbed a pair of crumpled jeans from the floor, threw on necessary undergarments, slipped on my flip-flops and headed downstairs. As I swept my hair up into an elastic it occurred to me that the boys were still asleep and would just love to wake up to donuts this morning. Good idea! I let our little furry visitor out for a pee break (we’re doggy sitting this week) then headed to Kroger for an awesome, frosted, cream-filled assortment of the bakery’s best donuts. The more colorful the better as far as the boys are concerned. After dropping the confections off on our countertop I headed back out for our weekly groceries followed by a stop at Old Navy for a few last-minute Easter apparel necessities.
It was quite chilly outside…but the sun was bright. My eyes had fully adjusted and I could actually feel the sun seeping through my skin, energizing my soul. It never ceases to amaze me…the effect the sun has on my mood, my body, my spirit. I could feel the corners of my mouth submitting to a subtle smile. I do have a lot to smile about, you know. I forget these things all too often as many of us do. Depression has a way of stealing those instances of satisfying realization, hiding them away, only to be found in random moments of emotional lucidity. Somehow the rays of heat from the sun reassure me that I can indeed be content, even if for only a brief moment. As I drove the desolate Saturday morning highway to the store, I remembered how much I love driving on a sunny day…a good road trip ranks right up there with time at the beach. Feeling more lifted than I had in recent days, my thoughts drifted to the dinner planned this evening…a girl’s night with some ladies I’ve not seen in quite some time. Not only am I looking forward to a dinner amongst adults, I NEED girl-time like I need sunshine. Which made me think…
If you ask me who I tend to befriend more easily…girls or boys…I would tell you in a heartbeat that I get along much better with boys. Boys make for simple, easy to read, straight-shooting, get-what-ya-see kinda friends. Not nearly as much drama, judgment, back-stabbing or neediness. I can shoot the shit with my guy friends without feeling like I’m in a perpetual pissing contest…you know those girls, right? Picture this character played by Kristen Wiig below…yeah. That girl.
But as I inventory who I truly consider great friends…I realize that 99% of them are in fact women. Caring, genuine, supportive, good-hearted, humorous women. How lucky am I to have surrounded myself with some amazing ladies over the years…who have stuck around to deal with my bullshit, have been there for me when I’m in deep, to make me laugh when I’m down, to celebrate with me when life is grand. I have friends to this day that have known me at every stage in my life…girls from grade school, high school, college, jobs, neighborhoods, you name it. And they’ve all stuck around. They haven’t abandoned me. So why on earth do I have a knee-jerk male preference when it comes to friendship? Why do I struggle to trust women? I just do. Every familial relationship I’ve had with women has been guarded, arms-length, as far from nurturing as one can get. A legacy I fight every day to avoid with my daughter. I wish it came naturally but it takes a concerted effort on a daily basis. I mother very naturally with my boys…but relating with my daughter is like attempting a conversation in a foreign language with electronic translator in hand. It shouldn’t be that way. I am determined to turn that damned table upside down and inside out…I will be different with her than my mother was with me…and her mother was with her. Not the variety of inheritance I prefer.
Within a matter of minutes this morning, I realized how very little credit I give to the girls who fill and lift my spirit each and every day…and they do it so gracefully and without expectation that it is seamless and transparent. My assumption was so very wrong. While I do still cherish the friendships I have with the boys in my life…the gentleman included…I am thriving today because of my girls. My daughter, my sister, my neighbors, my coworkers, my classmates, and now I can include my virtual friends who have recently graced my world through this blogging venture. I can’t think of one instance with any of you when I felt judged, criticized, shunned, abandoned…but can I say the same about myself? Have I been equally gracious to all of you? I already know the answer to that. I have not.
Admittedly I struggle not only in my motherly relationship with my daughter but also with my sisters and my girlfriends. But I’m learning. And you all are teaching me. It’s never too late to improve…to be better…to love, support and nurture, right? A very wise Goddess once suggested that sending an actual greeting card to people was a step toward being a little more intimate with our friends, moving away from our virtual nature. I’ve started that….and it is amazing the response I’ve gotten. It makes me feel good knowing that I’m surprising someone with a friendly greeting in a space we’ve become accustomed to only receiving requests for our money. I don’t do it for an immediate response…it’s impossible with snail mail. We need to push ourselves to do things that don’t illicit a payoff, rather a payout. What is the worth of making someone smile? Of making them feel worthy of actually buying a stamp to put on an envelope when you could easily send the same message with the click of a keyboard? It’s priceless. So thank you, Goddess for inspiring me take a step a little closer to being a better woman, friend, confidante. If I open my eyes wide enough I can glean just as many nurturing tips from the women that I take for granted every day...
You check in daily to see how I’m doing.
You help me with my children when you know I need a break.
When we get together you always ask about me and my family before we talk about anything else.
You send me cards.
You tell me you’re proud of me.
You hug me even when I’m prickly and pissed off.You are willing to be mischievous when the time calls for it.
You spend your drive home on the phone with me when you’d rather be singing at the top of your lungs.
You let me bitch about meaningless, petty things without judgment.You laugh at my stupid jokes.
You encourage me through the last quarter mile of my run.
You tell me I’m a good singer when I’m killing your eardrums with my own rendition of Lady Antebellum.You reassure me when I need it most.
This list is by no means, exhaustive…merely the tip of the iceberg. Thank you all for showing me how to be a better friend, sister, wife, mother, niece, aunt, coworker. You’re investment in me has not gone unnoticed. I’m a work in progress.