I have this friend, Jodi, we will call her Jodi because that is actually her name. When I write I try to take out the names and “depersonalize” things a bit, for several reasons. One being, I don’t want to offend anyone. But, it turns out Jodi was only offended that I did NOT use her name.
Jodi is a relatively new friend, our children dance together and we work together. She is also not called Jodi in our house. She is referred to as Jodeen…which is said in a long drawn out, lazy way as though we are from the south and headed over to her house for a glass of iced tea with a side of okra and grits. She is called this because it is her birth name, and once she had to write me a check for something, and when my husband went to deposit it, he happened to catch her name, her birth name, and it stuck.
In life, I have had some good friends. My grandmother used to quote Truman Capote as saying, (and this will be paraphrased per my memory) “I am lucky in life. I have had three really good friends,” in answer to a question from a reporter that implied he must have many, many friends. I always thought my grandmother was trying to tell me that really true friends are few and far between. That being said, I guess I don’t know how many friends I have, but I do have a lot of great people in my life. I have figured out that without great people in your life it is a little harder to cope. Many of these great people are my girlfriends. The girls, well ladies...well women now...that have come into my life and made a difference.
Several months ago I headed off to a reunion with my sorority sisters from college. Most of these girls I hadn’t seen in over twenty years. Based on the emails flying back and forth before the event, it promised to be a great time, and it was. I shared a room with the same girls I shared a room with twenty years ago. It was exactly the same. We laughed at the same things, we got ready the same way, and if that damn mirror in the bathroom hadn’t been there to tell me otherwise, I would have assumed I was twenty again. My favorite pictures from the trip are not all the ones we posed for throughout the “dressed up” events we had, but instead the ones people snapped in the morning while we were having coffee and late at night when everyone was chatting and talking in bed.
My best friend from high school is still with me. Over the years the friendship has changed, grown, laid at rest only to wake back up again when we need each other. She is one of my Truman Capote friends. She was on my doorstep on 9/11, she was my first phone call when I had cancer, and she is my “go to” girl when I need a drink. Blessed am I to have had this girl in my life at fifteen and woman now, at forty two. My favorite picture of her is when I had my first child. She came in those first few days and she is laying down holding my oldest on her tummy. There is also a series of pictures of us from one year in the 90’s when, after an episode of Oprah on “How to Take Your Best Picture!” was aired we have our chins lifted so high we look like giraffes. This was before the instant digital checking we can do now, so it wasn’t discovered until a year’s worth of pictures were finally developed. She “gets me” in a way no other does and we have thirty years of shared history.
As my children grow and make friends I find a few keepers in their parents. Yesterday I had coffee with the mother of my oldest child’s best friend as we discussed plans for an upcoming prom (this will be a writing all by itself!). She is delightful, fun and always on the same page as me when it comes to parenting a teenager. The mother of my second child’s best friend is my summer and swim team companion…our hours together at the pool are something I look forward to each year as spring wraps up and summer looms ahead. We have several children the same age so there are shared experiences and some shared family traditions that have set in that I enjoy and look forward to.
My family is my first priority, it is my strength, it is my main focus in life, but these girlfriends are my support. My moments of calm and funny when all else around me is crazy and demanding. I cherish them and all that they bring to the table.