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This one’s for the girls

By Abigail Cukier, The Amazing Adventures of Wonder(ing) Woman

In August, my 10-year-old niece had an amazing thing happen to her, which I blogged about here. She was picked to sing onstage with Bruce Springsteen in Toronto. Afterward, she was all over the national news for at least a week.

If you watch the footage from when CTV News filmed her in her home, her best friend is there too.

It struck me that in the midst of all of this excitement and attention, Halle wanted her friend to be there too.

It made me remember being 10 and 12 and 14. Your best girlfriend was everything. It didn’t happen unless she was there.
You did everything together, went everywhere together and shared all of your secrets.

Somewhere along the way, this changes.

If you’re lucky, you still have great friends who make you laugh and share your troubles, but life gets in the way. There’s marriage or dating. There’s work and kids and soccer practice. There’s laundry and grocery shopping.

And often, at the end of the day, when you finally have a chance to sit down for a few minutes, a DVRed episode of Grey’s Anatomy wins out over a phone call to a friend.

Sometimes, a couple of weeks will go by and I’ll realize I haven’t spoken to a friend and I’ll feel lonely. Or, I’ll feel like a really crappy friend.

But recently I read Anna Quindlen’s book Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. I previously read Quindlen’s book Loud and Clear and identified with her musings on being a mom and writer. Now 60, her thoughts in this book represent a different viewpoint.

She talks about how she speaks to one friend every single morning and how, with her kids now out of the house, she has ample time to spend with friends.
But in the book, she also remembers being a harried mom and owing someone a card here and someone else a phone call there.

It made me realize that I’m not the only one. And that life is full of chapters. And while right now, it’s sometimes a marathon to even get out the door, it will change.

But that doesn’t mean it’s OK to neglect the girls who love you for the best (and worst) of who you are.

I happen to live in a different city than all but a couple of my true girlfriends. This makes it harder. We can’t just meet up on a Tuesday night for coffee. It means it takes a little extra work. A few of us try to get together at least every two to three months. In fact, three of my best girls came to visit me last weekend. We ate, we talked, we laughed, we ate some more.

Whenever I leave these girls’ nights, I feel happy and connected.  They are food for the soul (and I don’t mean the chocolate that is – without fail – always involved).

Our girlfriends help us to feel not so alone. They make us laugh. They help work out our problems. They sympathize and empathize and tell it like it is.

Even though this chapter revolves heavily around family (and did I mention laundry?), we need to make time for our friends. Even if it’s a quick call or a short e-mail. And we need to make plans – and keep them.

It is sometimes hard, but it is always worth it.

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