We came from the north and west. We left behind 20 children with husbands or grandparents. We didn’t let a broken foot stop us. We had it on our calendar – in pen – for months. Some of us didn’t make it. And they were sorely missed.
What was the big event? It was a night away with my college girlfriends. No boys – or kids – allowed.
As a parent, this sort of get-together can be close to impossible to orchestrate. With seven women fleeing 20 children ranging in age from 10 months to 13 years, you can imagine the obstacles we overcame, the deals we brokered with our husbands, the sports games we missed, the notes with instructions that we left behind, to get there.
The bond with these girlfriends began at Villanova University in 1989. Two of us were randomly paired together as roommates from the very first day. Others lived in the same dorm, or joined the same sorority. Others were added later on by happenstance. Others didn’t even go to Villanova, but we still refer to them as our college girlfriends.
As I drove the 90 miles to our rendezvous point, I thought about why we keep getting together two decades after we graduated. (Did I really just write two decades?!) Part of the answer is that we knew each other first before husbands, kids, mortgages and careers. We are not friends because we have children who are the same age or because we happen to live on the same street. We are friends because we want to be friends with each other. We can’t and don’t have to hide who we are.
That’s because we have literally seen each other at our worst. Back in the day, we did a lot of dumb things (thankfully with no Youtube or Facebook record of the events). We helped each other survive broken hearts. We “sometimes” drank a few too many beers together. Later, and more seriously, we have seen some of our group experience the loss of a job, the loss of a parent and the loss of a baby.
Likewise, we have shared some of our best moments. We have been to each other’s weddings. We have thrown bridal showers, baby showers and barbecues. We have furthered our careers or changed them altogether. We don’t hold grudges, we don’t even fight. We are ever optimistic, encouraging one another and building each other up. We look forward to better times. We are all still searching for the perfect Mr. Rights for those of us who haven’t married. (If you have anyone in mind, please message me!)
We share a bond and a love that I have no doubt will last for my lifetime. When I get together with them, I can’t believe that it’s been 23 years since it all began. When we look around the table at each other, we believe we all look the same as when we met. (Please don’t tell me the truth, I don’t want to know!)
How does all this relate to parenting? I think that the hell or high water I will go through to make it to a get-together with my college girlfriends is teaching my kids about commitment, loyalty and friendship. It has and will continue to take a lot of effort and mileage to maintain these friendships for many years to come. I can only pray that each of my children is lucky enough to find even one good lifetime friend as I have found with this group. I hope my kids learn that the effort is worth much more than I can describe in 600 words.