I miss my girlfriends.
I guess I am old enough to be considered old school, so I’ve never called them a tribe or a squad, although I am likin’ those names. I will roll them around in my mouth a little bit, speak them out loud every now and again and see what feels right. Mostly though, right now, in this season of my life, when it comes to girlfriends, tribes or squads, I just feel mute.
I have amazing women in my life. A sister, cousins, good, good friends. Friends who have run the gamut with me — they sat with me while my mother died and they’ve made me laugh so hard I wet my pants (which is another story for another time!). They strengthen and heal me, and I don’t feel like I get to spend enough time with any of them. We are all too busy. We have work to do, kids to taxi around, laundry to wash and bills to pay. We have games to watch, doctors to visit, houses to clean and miles to go before we sleep.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is already two days behind.
I believe with every fiber of my being that girlfriends should spend time with each other, laughing, crying, being silly. We don’t have to make a big production out of it and bond on tropical soil or fancy mountain towns (although I would sign up for that trip!). These soul-restoring exchanges can happen around our kitchen tables, in our back yards, at a table with some chips and salsa, or even by text. Or, old school, with a phone call. I almost just heard the youngsters audibly gasp. Back in the day, we used to have a female family get together about once a month. I lived out of town, so when we would visit the women would congregate to laugh, talk and catch up. But time has a way of slipping by. Our matriarchs passed leaving us with more family responsibility. Our kids are older and, since I moved back, there’s rarely a big event to rally for.
We are holding on for dear life and forging new traditions, but staying close is a conscious, willful act. We used to gather weekly with our friends for dinner. We all have to eat, so why not eat together? We would round-robin at each other’s homes. It didn’t matter if the house was clean, it didn’t matter if we used paper plates. Whoever could come, did. Whoever couldn’t stay, we’d fix plates and send them on their way. The kids were usually outside, the men in front of a TV, and the women gathered around a table. And we would laugh and talk and solve the world’s problems (or at least try to). But again, one family moved, our kids became active in different sports and we finally ran out of nights where we were free to gather. Some of my oldest girlfriends — we’re talking girls who shared Aqua Net and blue eyeshadow — and I recently tried to schedule a weekend together. We’ve put it off until 2017 because we can’t all be free on the same weekend.
Life is good. My family is well. I love my job. My home is happy. I know I am blessed. And I am oh, so grateful. But I miss my girlfriends.
‘Tis the season of contradictions. So many areas of my life are fruitful and flourishing, but time for my tribe is sparse and full of whispers. I won’t wish this season away; I only have my kids at home for five more years and the hands on that clock are spinning wildly. So, I will continue to make time for my gals in dribs and drabs, cherishing every ten minutes we get to spend with each other. Giggling at the wicked memes we share. Staying alert for the serious stuff. And looking forward to rebirth of the Season of the Squad.