To My Girlfriends
To My Girlfriends,
On the first day of school I needed another pig-tailed girl with her My Little Ponies backpack to walk through the doors with. I needed a friend to sit next to during lunch, who could trade me a juice box for a fruit snack. I needed another girl to help me run away, but not very fast, from the boys in the game we insisted they play, boys catch the girls and kiss them.
I needed you in Grade 6. When girls have the sudden and terrifying ability to turn on one another, a new victim week after week as we all navigated the rough waters of pre-pubescent girl drama. Some of us stuck together, some of us drifted apart. But, we all learned how it felt to treat others badly, only to have the tables turned the next week when suddenly no one would answer your calls.
I needed you on the first day of high school. When the senior boys walked by and we squealed as soon as they were out of earshot and we made lists of who we had crushes on. When we learned about mean girls, why a 2 litre of Rockaberry cooler was cheap for a reason, mistakes and first times. I needed a friend for late night phone calls, confessions in the dark, and someone to cry on when I thought my life was over. For the third time that week.
In university friendship changed, and as we walked through the doors of our new classrooms, alone but with 500 people, I needed that friend to meet between classes to lament on our profs, or the know -it-alls, or the people who insist on running to the library after the very first class to sign out the important journals for the entire semester. I needed you for the all-important buddy system at the university bar, to hold my drink or my hair, or sometimes both. I needed you to call me, which you did, when you found yourself in a bathroom, in a bar, alone and incredibly intoxicated. I needed you to trust that I would find you and bring you home safe.
I needed you so much when it seemed like our worlds were so different. I needed you that day I found out I was having Ben. You were the first person I told, between hiccupping sobs and sputtering words. I needed you to take me to Dairy Queen and insist I order two blizzards, since I was eating for two.
When you left for Europe, and South America, and Thailand while I stayed back with my baby, I needed those emails, and updates about your lives. I read them with a smile as I got puked and pooped on. I needed you to make the effort to host a baby shower, and travel long distances to meet my baby, and to be excited for me despite not wanting to hold the baby in case he puked. Which he did. All. The. Time.
As our lives kept changing, I needed you and I needed the other beautiful girls brought into my life. I still needed to hear about your crazy life as a single city girl, but I needed my new girlfriends too. I needed to complain about husbands, and babies, and breastfeeding. I needed you to not look at me like a monster when I confessed I was thinking about throwing Ben out the window. I needed you to confide in me that you threatened to put your baby in her car seat and send her down the stairs. I needed that laugh and that honesty more than anyone could know. I needed you when this crazy RCMP life took us to an isolated place where I didn't know anyone, and admittedly, there was a bit of culture shock. I needed long walks by the river, longer talks by the fireplace, and to talk about religion, politics, child raising theories, recipes, and that night when we raided each other's closets. I needed to sit next to you on that old futon, snuggled up by an April fire while the northern lights danced in the sky.
I needed you to fly out after my third baby, and leave your husband and baby at home so you could take time off to help me out. I needed to talk to you when I knew you were so low, and so close to your breaking point to understand we’ve all been there. I needed you to talk to about my dreams, my ambitions, and how I was going to get there. I needed you to tell me to never, ever apply to law school because that would be the dumbest decision of my life.
I still need my girlfriends. For wine nights, and barn nights, and for nights when we bring wine to the barn. For laughing, having dance parties, and for those pockets of my life my husband just can’t understand. For the moments I feel weak, or strong, funny or sad I still need my girlfriends by my side.
Tonight I am on my way to pick up one of my oldest, dearest girls from the airport and the knowledge that as soon as she gets into my car, despite time and countries that now separate us, within an instant we will be back to the way we always have been. And she’ll go through a list of things she discovered in my manuscript.
And I’ll listen because she’s one of the most astute, intelligent people I know, and that’s exactly why I need her right now.
I am so truly, truly lucky to have such a group of eclectic, ridiculous, and yet amazing women in my life.