I ran into you the other day at the grocery store. We both had buggies full of food and kids, lists of items needed crossed off on crumpled paper lists, and the usual distraction of being in public and having to behave as such. We both excitedly scooted over to the side of an aisle and chatted for a few minutes about family (the kids are getting so tall!), work (yeah, everything is great!) and husbands (he is good, just busy).
Then we closed with the same line we used six months ago: “We need to get together sometime!” But we never do.
We never get together anymore. We used to, all the time. But I miss you, and I miss having friends that meet up and talk about real life, not just the weather in the produce aisle. You used to know that I hide Reese’s peanut butter cups in the back of the fridge behind the yogurt and I used to know that your child was dealing with nightmares. Now I cannot remember the last time it was just us, girlfriends since school days, sharing moments of every day life, inside jokes that no one else understood, and eating carbs like we were teenagers.
I asked my mom a while back about this season of life, the season that I call “the taxicab years,” the season where we spend more time in a moving vehicle than in a stationary building. The kids are all in school, involved in extracurriculars, and I am getting my oil changed way more than the manual says it customary. “You are too busy” she replied. “We didn’t do half of the stuff you mothers do these days.”
Are we too busy to spend time, quality time, with other women? Do we remember how vital that is to every day life?
When I was growing up, my grandparents had a set of friends from their former life in North Carolina named The Lewises. I don’t know if I ever knew their actual first names, but I did know that if Mr. and Mrs. Lewis came from North Carolina to Tennessee to visit Gran and Papa, their calendar was clear, the house was clean, and there was a full tank of gas in the Crown Victoria. We all knew that their time with Mr. and Mrs. Lewis was sacred, and they picked up like they never left off.
So when the opportunity presented itself to meet up with a college roommate this weekend, I took advantage of it. We had spent the day at an amusement park, so I was damp, had dirty hair, and didn’t smell like spring, that’s for certain. There were plenty of reasons for both of us to say no, but we went, and I am so thankful. After meeting up for supper in Market Square, our sets of children participated in these random impromptu break dancing lessons in the middle of Market Square while we caught up. The calendar was full, my house is a mess, and we had to get gas on the way home. But we made it work. And I may not see her for another year or so. But we did it and it felt like a small victory for female friendship.
We have husbands, we have kids, we have jobs, we have homework, we have dance class. We have messy homes and pets that die, and a fridge that leaks, church service, and a supper that no one wants to eat but you spent forever making. We prioritize everything but each other. But if we all have these things in common, we need each other to survive them.