An ode to girlfriends after a weekend with these beauties. I met Natasha as a toddler, then in 1983, we both met Teza, Alli, and Jill (not pictured) in middle school. We were twelve-year-old girls who didn’t yet know the words, “You can’t do that.” We have been there for each other ever since, making sure we never believe those words.
We were there when braces came off, when hearts were broken, when friends died, when others moved away. We were there, on the end of the phone line, to get the call that said, “I’m pregnant” and the call that said, “I lost the baby.” Now we are there for the ones that say “I’m scared!” and the ones that say, “I did it!”
We’ll call to talk about raising children. We wonder if our kids will grow to be kind, to know their worth, to fight for truth and love over all else. We brainstorm ways to manage screens and anxiety. We used to cry about how tough it was to never have alone time, to always be needed by little hands. Now we sigh that we’re no longer needed. We call for advice on how to grow our universe beyond our children and how to leap confidently into the next stage of life. The answer seems to be more girlfriends! Connect deeply right where we live. Having great girlfriends means that we never face a challenge alone.
We celebrate each other’s birthdays and accomplishments with wine, sometimes tequila. And we always make space for delicious food and adventure. Natasha, Teza, Alli, Jill, and I live in five different places, two different countries, and yet we rally for one another, take three flights just to be there in hard times and in good.
Our adventures together include nature and wildness. For years, as teenagers, when life felt too hemmed in, too sharp, too busy, we strapped a canoe to the top of the car and went calmly wild into the woods and waters. Over the years, we’ve gone kite-flying in Guatemala, sea-kayaking in Mexico, and surfing in the rain in British Columbia. During this recent reunion, we drove through winter weather to the ocean to watch the tides ebb and flow. Then we went on a midnight, ninja-like expedition to find firewood. Each time we set out into the unknown, Natasha drives, I navigate, Teza produces the adventure, and Alli is our safety and wellbeing advisor.
This weekend, during my treatments for a rare form of cancer, this group of warrior women came to cook for me, rub my feet, and say, “You’re stronger than you know.” With them at my side, I feel it. I always have.
My girlfriends are my secret superpower, my very own justice league. The way I overcome is because we overcome together.