Tag Archives: friendship

The Other F Word

25 Feb

This morning, bright and early, I received the following text message from my friend M. who lives in New York:

Oh what a FUN WEEKEND I had!!!! ūüôā¬†

M. is in the process of getting divorced and she is admittedly devoting herself almost exclusively to the pursuit of pleasure: dating, going to lots of parties, dressing up in wild costumes, taking burlesque dance classes, etc.  I know from her emails from last week that this weekend she attended a huge dance party on a boat, and I saw photos of her decked out in amazing false eyelashes and glittery mask.

Needless to say, M.’s life and my life could scarcely be more different right now. ¬†Her main “down time” to send me long gushy emails is when she’s bored during her day job as a paralegal. ¬†Mine is in the middle of the night when I’m pumping milk for Lucy. ¬†We try to find times to chat on the phone, but I am always tiptoeing around during one naptime or another, and she is always on the go to another event. ¬†We’re lifelong friends, so we are trying hard to navigate our friendship despite not only the many miles that separate us geographically, but the vast differences between our current day-to-day existences. ¬†I’ve known M. since I was seven years old, so I’m sure we’ll figure it out, but it may take some doing.

I admit that whenever I receive these effusive messages from M. (which, these days, is very frequently), I am struck with competing emotions.  On the one hand I am genuinely happy for M. because she really does seem to be doing well and having a grand time.  On the other hand, it always leaves me with a glimmer of doubt:  am I not having enough fun?  When was the last time I sent someone a text message crowing about my uber-FUN (with a capital F) weekend?

Then I think maybe that’s not the correct criterion for my life. ¬†Every day I look at Hubs and Lucy and I am full of love for my family. ¬†Every day I am grateful. ¬†Every day I am content. ¬†We do have fun: Lucy makes us laugh and makes us smile and sends my oxytocin levels through the roof, but it’s still a quieter happiness. ¬†More steady enjoyment, less exclamation points. ¬†When Hubs and I heard Lucy in her bassinet at 2:00 this morning and found her smiling up at us ready to be fed, even my bleary-eyed self could appreciate my happy baby, but still wouldn’t necessarily say it was “fun.”

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In a few minutes I’ll sit down and write M. a long-overdue email. ¬†I’ll tell her how Lucy rolled over for the first time two weeks ago, and started making lots of funny and cute sounds. ¬†I’ll tell her how sweet my mom and dad are with Lucy when they babysit. ¬†I’ll tell her how my favorite part of the day is when Lucy smiles up at me from her crib. ¬†I’ll tell her that Hubs and I have reestablished our date nights and how nice it is to enjoy a good meal and a glass of wine and really focus on each other. ¬†I’ll tell her about seeing several of my best girlfriends this weekend and catching up on each others’ lives. ¬†

I probably won’t use lots of exclamation points or emoticons. ¬†I will stop trying to compare my life to hers. ¬†And I will try to work my way back closer to M. — and to myself — by just being me.

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The Old Girls’ Club

20 Feb

It’s no accident that shows like¬†Sex and the City¬†and¬†Girls are so popular. ¬†(Ok, maybe I’m a little bit obsessed with¬†Girls right now, sue me.) ¬†I’m a die-hard SATC fan (even movie 1, but not movie 2 — shudder — except for one part I’ll get to in a moment), and I love¬†Girls. ¬†There is great writing in both shows, yes, and they are both risk-taking and include lots of sex, but what I personally adore about both shows is their focus on female friendships. ¬†

These shows celebrate what all women know: there is simply nothing like great girlfriends. ¬†In SATC movie 1, the part that gets me to cry every single time is when Carrie rushes to Miranda’s house in the snow in New Year’s Eve so that she won’t be alone. ¬†Carrie went through many men (and, though I love Chris Noth, I was never a fan of Mr. Big), ¬†but it always came back to the four women. ¬†In the second movie, which I highly recommend avoiding, Charlotte and Miranda have a late-night tipsy conversation that is the only moment in the movie that does not reek of frivolity and excess. ¬†They commiserate about how motherhood is hard — OK, just watch the clip. ¬†And in¬†Girls¬†(spoiler alert!) Jessa comes over to Hannah’s house to take a bath and drown her sorrows. ¬†(I can’t say I’ve ever gotten to the level of bathing with my girlfriends, but to each her own.) ¬†And when there are conflicts with girlfriends they can be as difficult and heart-wrenching as any fight with a significant other — think about Carrie and Miranda’s falling out in movie 1, or Hannah and Marnie’s blowout at the end of season 1 of¬†Girls. ¬†As I wrote about previously, Susannah Sonnenberg’s memoir¬†She Matters¬†explores the passion and friction in her female friendships in a very interesting way.

When I got married, in her toast my friend M. said something to the effect of “Men come and go, but girlfriends are forever.” ¬†Setting aside the fact that statement may not have been entirely appropriate for a wedding toast, I do appreciate the sentiment. ¬†I hope and expect that Hubs and I will be together forever, but because we met a little later in life our relationship will still never be as long as my friendships with my girlfriends. ¬†And while Hubs knows all my ins and outs and I can talk to him about anything, there are some things that are just better understood by a girlfriend.

For example, since Lucy was born, I feel like I have some strange kinship with other moms. ¬†Not just my close friends, who I love trading war stories with, but also casual acquaintances. ¬† A friend of a friend, who I used to see regularly for dinner with our mutual friend but hadn’t in a long time, had a baby this month. ¬†Suddenly after I had Lucy I became very sympathetic to her and bought her a baby gift and made plans to see her. ¬†I also feel compelled to regale pregnant friends with advice (since I am such a veteran – HA!), which I hope they don’t feel too annoyed about.

As I’m trying to write about other things I keep coming back ¬†over and over again in my mind to this theme of female friendships. ¬†Although I worry a little bit about tackling this and seeming too derivative of the shows I talked about in this post, I wonder whether this is speaking to me for a reason and perhaps I need to just go with it and see where it takes me.