This tribute to an amazing group of women comes from some writing I am to produce by this coming Thursday. My topic is aging and my mind has been picking over ideas for a week and a half.
This morning I looked next to my desk at the picture of six women I have known for over half my life. While this writing does not help me fulfill my writing obligation for this week, it has allowed me to realize the sheer gift each of these amazing people have been to me.
So…Mindy, Lou, Trisha, Joanna, Julie and Nancy, this is for you:
We’ve been together in spirit for three-plus decades. Our motley girl crew first met and mingled in a small church in the Grant Park area of Atlanta in the early 80’s. For most it was pre-marriage, pre-coming out, and pre-kids (and grand kids).
No gray strands or crow’s feet at the time. No aching joints or health concerns. Our hair–worn short or long–shone with health. Complexions glowed. Nature was kind and our bodies moved with ease and energy. Oh, so much energy.
Two nurses, a landscaper and a teacher. A writer and two business women with sharp-as-a whip minds. Excellent cooks and and crazy funny humor. Avid readers all. Bright minds with plenty of questions, looking for answers and not satisfied until we thought things through.
Some more big-hearted than others (ok, than me), all generous and capable. Together, there seemed there was nothing we couldn’t do.
Our small congregation needed banners or costumes or programs, we whipped them up with ease. A few took on a 60-mile walk for cancer with far less ease and survived to regale the others about it. Meals for the sick. Gardens for planting. Wedding planning. Babysitting. Recipe swapping. Moral supporting.
We designed and built homes and (all but one or two) decorated with ease. And we opened our homes to friends old and new, serving meals for 5, 15 or 50. One formed a soup kitchen. Two women took on the city to preserve some wetlands. Others made friends with neighbor outcasts and brought new meaning to community. We shared book readings, plant seedlings, pulled together holiday picnics, marched in protest and camped for fun. Cross-country trips and all kind of tips. Our lives stayed intertwined and roots grew deep.
Small groups and intense sharing deepened our ties and made us stronger, healthier and closer.
For a few years, we forsook family and work for girl time in the Florida Keys. A solid week to turn off and slow down and laugh it up, leaving spouses and kids to their own devices. And while we sunned and sat, slept late and talked, our families survived. And we thrived.
Struggles came and went. Through relationship woes, babies and new roles, bad bosses, painful losses and a church community that couldn’t be mended our connections grew stronger.
Wrinkles appeared and aging spots, too. Breasts sagged and minor ailments began to plague us. Conversations now include various symptoms and effective solutions we have found.
Gray that first appeared in strands has mostly taken over our heads. Glasses have brought the world nearer and clearer. Our get-togethers, when they happen, have an earlier curfew.
Most of our babies have graduated college and are beginning families of their own. Now we’re matriarchs but deep inside it feels we are the same. The laughter, the tears, the craziness of all our years together make my life so very rich.
True lasting friendship. An irreplaceable kind of love. Human gifts to one another, even though we’ve moved on– many to new states, new countries, building fresh communities in each. More unshared friends and adventures.but still we feel the bonds of love.
Ladies if you see this, read this and know. I love you each with all my heart and miss you. Your presence in my life has given me so much — laughter, support, encouragement, strength, fun, nourishment and surprise.
Thanks for being my friends for lo these many years!