Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sanity = good girl friends

I have found over the years that my mental health is directly proportionate to my good girl friend quotient or GGF. I love my husband and I literally tell him everything but this can not replace the GGF. I am not talking about a quantity thing; this is not about "lots of friends". This is a quality thing. In fact, if a woman has one real GGF in her life than I consider them a lucky person.

How does it happen? Organically. So many adult relationships seem to be comprised of adjacency; kids around the same age, living nearby, commute or working together, hobbies and interests in common. Our lives are busy; it all has to make sense. GGFs are no different.

I remember I was freshly pregnant with Shea, just a couple of months, barely showing but feeling sick and excited. I decided I had to start walking and getting some exercise. One of the downsides of my beautiful little island that I am lucky enough to live on is I do a lot of driving. Long gone are those days of walking to the grocery store and to do neighborhood errands. That went away when we left the big city and came to our little rural oasis.

The long and the short; I was really getting out of shape. And, now I was pregnant at 39 to top it all off. That frightening reality got me out the door and I started walking in the morning after I dropped my daughter off at Kindergarten. I walked alone for a month or two; spontaneously ran into another mom here and there but didn't really have a walking buddy.

I remember I was hanging out waiting to pick up Molly and a woman said to me, "I see you out there walking. Good for you." I sincerely asked her if she would like to join me. As luck would have it, she was quitting her job to be around more for her Kindergartner who happened to be in Molly's class. We commented on the obvious adorableness on each others children and she took me up on that walk.

We walked every morning all through my pregnancy. And, you know, that exercise did help to get the old body back even after a C-section.

5 years later, we still walk almost everyday. But let me be clear; this is not just exercise. This is therapy. This is a bull session, coffee clatch, stitch and bitch all rolled into one. This is about girl time to kvetch, whine, ask advise, get pats on the back. This is sanity, pure and simple. I miss it physically and mentally when we don't walk. And, as our endurance has increased, we puff and moan less as we climb hills; an honest to goodness friendship has grown.

We were lucky, our politics and and interests coincided nicely. Of similar age, going though many of the same things; we filled the walks with stories and comparisons, sagas and tributes. I respected her mind, accomplishments and perspective. Let's just state it simply; it was a good fit and now I can't imagine her not part of my life.

Time goes on; even more quickly now. Our kindergartners are in 5th grade now, getting ready for middle-school (gulp). Yet we have no problem filling our walk time with plenty of new comment and conjecture. And, yes; we ask others to join us. We try to share this little piece of magic we have developed together.

So, hats of to the GGF! What would we do without them? If you are lacking, then cast about, she is out there; waiting for you to extend a hand. You never know who will become indispensable in your life.

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