Just yesterday, Saint Dominic Academy proudly hosted the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2017. It was a lovely event and, as I watched the young ladies smile, laugh and cry with their friends, I began to reflect on friendships, especially female friendships and how they manage to sustain us in life. I am aware of studies that have been done; looking into how social media has given rise to a greater number of casual friendships and how it allows those who might drift apart to at least stay in some sort of touch, even if it is only via the internet. And so, I am certain that the class of 2017 will remain much more connected to each other than I did with my graduating class back in 1995.
However, when I think about friendships amongst women, my own theory (and let’s keep in mind I am no scientist!) is that there are three friends who each of us really needs as we move into our adult lives. Now, at the age of 17-18 years old, most of us will not even be aware of these women because our need for them grows as we grow further into adulthood. However, young women should be on the lookout for these three friends as they come into your lives, because these are the friendships that will sustain you when you get to be my age and older.
The first is the female equivalent of one of those buddy movies- the Thelma to your Louise or perhaps something not quite as crazy. This is the friend with whom you have some of your best young adult memories; after college, you’re both working and yet you find time for madcap adventures. Road trips to D.C., private parties at the American Museum of Natural History, taking a 13 mile walk around New York City for no real reason; this is your go to girl for fun and laughter, for selfies and memories to last a lifetime. As you both get older and life becomes busy, the selfies may turn into group shots of your kids and the walks may be with strollers to the playground during a visit, but the friendship is still there and at the end of the day, nobody makes you laugh like this friend does!
And, as life becomes busy for women, the next friend each of us needs is the “Been There- Done That, Let Me Tell You What I Learned” friend. She does not have to be much older than you, but in many ways, she is wiser. This is the friend who has a child older than yours; who you can call at two am to ask about colic or who will tell you that you are doing an amazing job as a mother when your four year old stomps her foot and says she does not like you. This is the friend whose house you can go to in leggings and mom hair after a night of little sleep because your child has nightmares and she will speak the best words you will ever hear “ It gets easier; they grow out of it!” The experienced mom friend is a friend you will come to value as life moves along.
Finally, the third friend you will treasure is one you won’t make until your children become social themselves. It’s the “Mom Friend”. You strike up friendly chats at dance school or the soccer field, you might grab a coffee and set up an initial playdate with several other parents. And then, for whatever reason, your kids click and you click too. And this is the friend who is just like you, running from one thing to another, balancing laundry, ballet, communions and birthdays. This is the never ending text message that goes back and forth for eons, because you can just commiserate with each other on any topic at all. And 9 times out of 10, this is the friend who first hears about any type of frustration you have, regardless of the topic because she can relate. What would we do without the mom friend?
Of course, you’ll have many more friends than these three; cousins make excellent friends because they know the family history. Your sister in law eventually becomes your sister and friend, and of course, we know I am a firm believer in the statement “A girl’s best friend is her mother!” But these three friends, the “buddy”, the “experienced mom” and the “ friend mom”, they will get you through some tough days and they will become your sounding board and support for a lifetime. Keep your eyes peeled as they enter your life; you’ll be thankful for the rest of it that you have them!