Aren’t they absolutely beautiful? My girls.

One of them is my daughter. The other two are her best friends, and my “other” daughters. I never, ever, imagined that I would be a mother when I was younger. We didn’t have a flower girl or a ring bearer in our wedding because, to be brutally honest, I didn’t want any little kids, boys or girls, in our wedding. As W.C. Fields said, “Never work with children or animals.” But marriage changed my mind about children, and six years later we had Wubby, followed by Baby Girl four years after that.

Girls can be very cruel to each other. (Reference: “Mean Girls”) Growing up, I knew all too well just how cruel girls can be to each other, without justification or reason; just because. And the absolute worst thing was to put three girls together. Two of  them would inevitably gang up on the third and the torture ensued in earnest. But my girl, despite the genetics she inherited from her mom, has always been a magnet that pulls girls together. She’s very unassuming, usually quiet (but gradually finding her voice as she grows up), always looking for a way to keep the peace. When she was in third grade her teacher told us, “You know, she doesn’t say much. But every day, the other girls will argue over who gets to play with her at recess. They all want to be around her, and they vie for the chance to be closest to her on any given day.” Hubby and I looked at each other, then at the teacher, and asked, “Are you sure you’re talking about OUR daughter?” We were then reassured that, indeed, yes, she was the glue that held the girls together.

I was thinking about this last night, about my daughter, and about the other girls that frequent our house on a very regular basis. The girls that call me “mom” and my hubby “dad”. We are an anomaly in their world: parents that have remained married to each other for 27 years, no divorce, no step-parents, no deadbeat mom or dad. We took all three girls to be beach last month. One of them came to the local air show with us last weekend. It is indeed a rare occasion that we go on some minor adventure or other and don’t have at least one extra “child” with us.

So what?

Well, this is what. Last night I was also thinking about how many times my family moved from the time I started school through my junior year of high school. During those eleven years I attended 10 different schools. Girlfriends were something I had a great deal of experience with, although not much of that experience lasted. I can name every girl I was “girlfriends” with from first grade through high school:

  •  Mary
  • Sharon
  • Debra
  • CG
  • Diane
  • Cindy
  • Martha
  • Sandra
  • Cheryl
  • Elizabeth
  • College: Chrissy, aka ‘Prissy’. I never did find out  how she got that nickname, because the one thing she WASN’T was prissy.
Fifteen years; eleven girls. And all these years later, I know where four of them are, and am in contact on a regular basis with one of them. Proof that, at least for me, having girlfriends was by and large an isolated, and very short-lived, experience. By the time eighth grade rolled around, I had lost so many girlfriends to moves that I gave up trying to make new ones because chances were good that something would change and I’d lose another one. And that was a pain I was tired of experiencing, so I consciously decided to protect myself from it by remaining an island, unreachable. I became invisible.

When I was younger, I had dreams of living an extraordinary life. The concert stage was where I wanted to be. The problem was the cost. Not so much the cost in dollars, but more so the cost of the incredible amount of time spent at the  keyboard, aiming for a perfection of performance that would never be. A choice had to be made: a relationship with a piano, or relationships with people. I made my choice.

Today I watch my girls as they play in the shallows at the beach, pretending to be fashionistas, or canter the long side of the ring, or walk a few feet ahead of me at the mall, their heads together as they giggle over who-knows-what. I see the evidence of their love for each other, and I pray that their friendship holds through the difficult times they are each having now in their individual life situations. I pray that their friendship will grow and develop as they enter young adulthood. They will need each other.

I didn’t do a very good job with the girlfriend thing for myself. But, for my girls, I think that maybe, just maybe, I’ve helped them to get it right.

One response to “girls

  1. Pingback: relationships, part 2 | My Own Little Chair

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