Friday, October 3, 2014

Girl Friends



I've been mulling over the idea of this blog post in my brain for a few weeks now and I suppose the healthy thing is to sit down and actually write it.

I can remember back to being in Kindergarten and being "one of the boys". My two BFFs were Brent and Justin; we played ninja turtles all the time and we never strayed from each other at playtime. Most school days, in the midst of our awesome ninja play, I'd be interrupted by a girl (named Kendall, I believe) who would say "you're not a boy! You have to play mermaids with the girls." I never felt like I was out of place with Brent and Justin, I felt like I was where I belonged and I enjoyed playing "boy games" with them.

All throughout my childhood, I can think of my best friend at school.. always a boy. I started to have a few girlfriends but never enjoyed the sleepovers I was invited to or the girly chit chat. I think my first best girl friend was in junior high.. she came to my Catholic school and rocked our naive class of thirty two; she talked about sex and kissing (let's just say this girl had seen more than she ever should have for a thirteen year old). I didn't like that she always flaked on me to go make out with one or more of our boy classmates by the sheds where they kept the basketball equipment, I didn't like that I always turned in to a third wheel, nor did I like being her cover for her grandparents. I continued this friendship with her in to high school for a few years until she ended up moving up North (my mother was relieved to say the least).

My first day of high school, I walked in to my elected ceramics class and stumbled upon  a tight knit group of boys (they were childhood friends); I was immediately smitten with them all.. not in a crush worthy way, but they made me laugh and I loved them for it. My first two years of high school were spent laughing with them in all the classes we shared, hanging out as cool as can be at our designated lunch table, and when they graduated the other two years of my high school experience were spent going to their shows at the American Legion Hall and all the other dumpy places in the Valley that their bands played. These boys were my entire teenage world. I called the one I felt closest to every time I felt like I wanted to "die".. he was my saving grace for a lot of years and without his friendship, I don't know how I would've gotten through my self inflicted tragic high school years.

This group of boys have remained my friends.. the one I just mentioned above was one of my bridesmaids; these boys are still my family. They eventually brought girlfriends in to the group with them, sometimes I bonded, sometimes I didn't.. mostly I didn't want to bond with them. I had already formed an opinion about these girlfriends because I simply never had any girl friends and wasn't interested in having any; my boys were all I needed.

After I got married and the drinking and house parties stopped, I felt like I was being abandoned by my boys.. I couldn't see at the time that we just didn't enjoy doing the same things any more. Especially after Logan was born.. I was shocked and devastated that they didn't come visit us. In hindsight I can understand.. what guy even thinks "gee, let's go meet a new baby"? Maybe if I had wanted to have a big barbecue with beer and carne asada, they would've come. 
Something motherhood has taught me: boys are not mothers and they do not think like mothers nor do they have the compassion women do for new mothers. I know they love me, they love Rory, they love Logan.. they just are wired differently and that's when I started opening my heart to friendships with females.

Two years ago, if you asked me to name my best friends, I'd name a list of a dozen or so guys.. now, (though I still hold those guys super close to my heart) I name  girls. When I am feeling bad, I call my best girl friends. When I want to get together with another adult, I call my best girlfriends. When the rare occasion comes that I see this group of guys, I hang out with their wives.

I never valued the importance of having female relationships until I needed them; when I became a mom. It's so important to connect with someone who completely understands you because you're just made the same way.. you have similar emotions and expectations, you mature at the time same, you value things differently than your male friends. It's taken me twenty nine years to see how much I need girl friends and how much more I connect with a female now than before when I was single and close minded.

I cherish my girl friends, and I feel relieved to be at this point in life where I'm okay with the fact that I need them.

xo
-Ali

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