Female Friendships: Keeping Me Afloat in the Sea of Testosterone

I love my husband.  I love my teenaged boys.  Thank goodness for my female friendships. These were my thoughts as I drove home from book club this evening.

Endless Summer Hydrangea

In my rather unscientific study of the subject of the differences between men and women, undertaken while raising two boys and enjoying over 20 years of marriage to my husband, I have observed many stereotypical responses to situations that cause me to value things like “chick flick” nights with my girlfriends.  For example, as I sat with almost-hiccupping sobs toward the end of the movie “Marley and Me,” my then 10-year-old son was appalled, whispering to me to “please stop!” even while I heard the sniffles and sobs from throughout the theater.  We stopped by the restroom on our way out of the theater.  I told my son that plenty of other women were in the bathroom drying their tears, and he responded, “Well, no one in the boys’ bathroom was!”  I asked him how he could not have felt like crying, knowing what an animal lover he was.  Without pause, he answered, “It’s not like I knew Marley personally.”

As another example, on a family movie night at home, after I endured the movie selected by the males in the viewing audience — some “Dumb and Dumber”-type movie — I chose “Eat Pray Love” for my selection of the double feature.  The boys wandered off and I had to put up with a running commentary from my husband that included comments like, “Well, I can certainly see why she ended up alone.”  I invited him to find something else to do for the remainder of the movie.  (Thankfully, we do all enjoy a good historical drama or espionage-style thriller, and whether they admit it or not, they enjoy watching “Glee” with me!)

“Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.”~Katharine Hepburn

(I couldn’t resist this quote — I adore Katharine Hepburn, and I know that my husband and boys certainly also have had this thought cross their mind while living with me!)

Stargazer Lily

I cannot recall where I read this, but in a recent discussion concerning the “balance” between family and work,  one writer used the term “blend” instead.  The term struck me as the perfect description of the journey many of us are on, trying to artfully, responsibly blend the different aspects of our lives.  As is often said, you can’t have it all . . .at least not all at the same time.  Words so true.  Reflecting back on the past 20 years of this journey since law school, I am reminded of the important role my female mentors and friends, who were sometimes one and the same, have played in helping me maintain perspective, grow and mature as a parent and spouse, develop as a professional, and find time to be a friend.

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

My female friendships include a kindred spirit going back to 5th grade.  We always remind each other “a friend is a friend till the end.”  Despite miles and often years separating us, the flame of friendship burns on, rekindled whenever we have a chance to connect.  I know we will always be there for each other.

New friendships are precious, as well.  While we have finite emotional capacity, as well as limited time, I have found that one should never say she does not have room for another friend in her life.  At different stages of life, time may be limited to cultivate new friendships and it sometimes becomes difficult to maintain old friendships.  And, as troubling and sad as it can be, sometimes friends are not meant to be forever, but rather we are there for a certain time or certain need in each others’ lives.

Phlox

Book club is something I have made a commitment to making time for, even as life’s other demands are full.  For a few hours every couple of months, I have enjoyed the company of  old friends and made new ones.  I learn from the perspectives of women who have walked many miles ahead of me in life, as well as those who have walked the same number of miles but on a different path.  I am reminded that we all have burdens, we all have blessings.  I am amazed at the diversity of interests, talents and insights shared around the table, as we sometimes even spend time discussing the book we read (or ran out of time to read, or gave up reading . . . ).  Some discussions require more than one glass of wine!

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Purple Coneflower

The various relationships we have in our lives are important for different reasons.  I love my husband.  I love my boys.  And I am so grateful for my female friends.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~ Marcel Proust

Ciao! ~ Kat