Sunday, 21 April 2013

It Takes a Village and Then Some

I have had a slow week as far as interesting things that have happened.  I have gone to the gym and fell over at yoga.  Some weeks are just more interesting than others, so I have decided to write about people instead of events.  At the risk of being called sexist, I am going to talk about my women.  Nothing slanderous or catty, that is not my style. I am not sure why it is anyone's style.  As women we can get a bad rap as far as working against each other, or with ulterior motives.  There is all that talk about Cat Fights.  My experience is more like Pillow Fights.

Recently I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with a friend.  We have  "run in the same circles" and have for many years.   We were able to catch up on our lives, our families and the lives of our mutual friends.   It was in recounting the current happenings of all these women, their children and the men in their lives, that I think we were both touched by our good fortune.  We have a Village in Orangeville.  These are the people with whom I laugh and with whom I cry.

Many years ago, when I had the sticky kids underfoot, we were women who were to a certain degree, overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising our children and keeping our homes as happy and somewhat organized.  Some of us worked "outside the home".  Some of us had supportive husbands.  Some of us had family close by and some of us didn't.  It just seemed that among the women I "found" at that time, we supported each other, mostly without judgement.  What some of us had at that time was the luxury of time to form friendships that were more than casual or superficial. This was possible through the relationships our children had with each other.  We made grilled cheese and pots of macaroni and cheese.   We went to the park.We changed diapers and wiped noses and bums.  I remember these times fondly, though I may have glamorized them to a certain degree. I also recall many times I waited impatiently for nap time and the point where "Captain Fun" would return, as I was running out of patience for questions like Bridget's famous " which is bigger, a house or dinosaur poo"?
Captain Fun

I have been blessed to continue to have a  continuing relationship with some of these women, I refer to as "My Village".  While childhood friendships of our kids have drifted, we have maintained relationships even as the luxury of time has changed.  Our attentions are divided.  We can add to our experiences the abundance of life lessons learned by our friends. To do so, we have realized the importance of honestly sharing our experiences.   The important part of these relationships is that we try not to paint a rosy picture.  Painting a rosy picture just serves to make our own lives that much more overwhelming.  We have gone from the mantra of "You Go Girl" to "Suck it up Sister" to now "Everyone has Sh...t".

I think this says it all

Now these relationships are then supported by  "long distance" friends.  These are the women and men with whom we share a different history.  A history before marriage.  We share memories of lives spent without children.  It was over the past week, while I was passing an "uneventful" week, that I had the luxury of  "catching up" with some friends. We know each other's children, some with whom we share the esteemed status of "Godparents". We remember pregnancies and labour stories and our sticky kids before we had a Village.  These are the people that travel for happy occasions and sad occasions.  These are the people with whom long distance calls are never strained.

I am not yet going to touch on the relationship with have with childhood friends.  That will be next week, after brunch with the women who know me even more differently.  We remember a different side of each other.  We remember each other when our lives were much less complicated.  When we had not yet had the life experiences from which our glimpses of wisdom have been grown.

Bridget, Christine, Diane and Janet
 I look forward to this.  I really want to realize the women these girls have become.  No one really wants to be remembered for who they were in high school.  I look forward to the chance to redeem myself.

Another group of women I wish to acknowledge are those who have experience beyond those of "mid-life" women.  These are the women who share stories of things not yet experienced.  These are things I look forward to with anticipation.  There are also lessons I dread.  They are a glimpse of what is yet to come.  For me, these include my mother and my many aunts. They have shared their experiences with my cousins as well, helping them to develop into the women they have become.

2 Lovely Ladies, My Mom and Aunt Arden
Today I have been spending time with my most supportive women.  These are my lovely sisters.  They know way too much about me and accept me regardless.  We too, share our sh...t and we learn from each other's experiences.  They are all the friendships of which I speak, rolled into 3.
Camera-shy Karen, Terry, Julie, Janet

We know each other now. We remember each other's sticky kids and the ever famous stories of their births. We remember each other before motherhood, before our husbands, before our crazy youth in Richmond Hill.  Each of us were the other's first friends. It is probably for these 3 women, that I am the most grateful.

This afternoon we are experiencing Reflexology at Julie's home in Toronto.  We are also drinking wine.  We are celebrating Julie's belated birthday. She is really quite old now. She has thrown herself this Reflexology party as a purchase from a Silent Auction organized by my niece Natalie, to benefit the United Way.  

Pauline Jennett, Reflexologist and camera-shy Karen

We share. We commiserate.  We accept without "too much" judgement.  We encourage each other. Mostly  we Eat Sit Talk.  I expect I will be just that much wiser after tonight.  Such is a visit with the 3 other Wells girls.  Here is hoping we pass along our life lessons to our daughters and nieces and that they listen without "too much" judgement, at least to some.  

Thank you Pauline Jennett (The Interior Touch) for the chance to take a load off and relax with the women I love.

Karen, Terry, Julie, Janet

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