A smile is the least expensive accessory you can wear, and yet, the most valuable…

You can go to Dr. Wexler and get a perfect facial buffing peel and some Botox to smooth out those bothersome forehead lines,  you can go to Sally Hershberger for the perfect hair cut and Chris McMillan for the perfect highlights, you can go to Anastasia for perfectly sculpted & shaped & flattering face-framing brows, you can go to Dr. Fisher for luscious bee stung lips, you can go to Dr. Daniels for the perfect breast implants, you can buy Frette sheets and Bottega Veneta handbags from Italy, and insist that you only wear 7 For All Mankind jeans, BUT… if you’re not nice, if you lack empathy, if you begrudge the joy of others, if your heart is cold and you harshly judge people, or worse, you can’t differentiate between to, two, and too, or bare/bear, what good is it to be pretty?

I spent the day yesterday with eight women, women who have been friends for a LONG time; some who have been on vacations together, some have held each other over heartaches, some have rocked and comforted each others babies, some have wiped each others tears while they buried their mothers, they have deeply meaningful relationships among their group, and I was included for the day in their tribe.  It was a gift for which I am profoundly appreciative.  I’ve often written of my two ‘best friends,’ but in no way does that diminish the significance of the friendships I’ve formed during these adult years of my life.  While it’s true that my first friend from 1st grade is my longest running relationship, and my other friend from 9th grade gym class is my second longest running relationship, I realized last night while I was driving home, full on wine & laughter, that each of those eight women, while not as close to me as some other friends, I bet, if I called, or emailed, or texted any one of those women during a crisis, I felt strongly that they would “be there” or “do something” or “step up” if I asked for help, or needed them…and I hoped that they felt that same way about me.

It’s not always easy to make grown-up-friends.  We might become acquainted with our neighbors or our coworkers, or maybe the wives of our partner’s friends, but not all women easily make friends on their own once they are women, and perhaps it is that way for men as well, but how would I know?  I know what it is like to be a little girl; you admire the rainbow handlebar streamers on your new neighbor’s bike and suddenly you have somebody to play Barbies with, or go on adventures with, and BOOM, there is your new friend!  But I also know what it is like to be a woman, in a new state, knowing nobody, starting a new job, knowing nobody, and feeling terrified that when you walk in the door there are going to be people there who are, from first glance, going to like you or not.  Going to a new gym after years of neglecting your body and ignoring your increasing weight, going to a new salon after years of letting yourself fall into a category that can only be described  as “low maintenance,” going to a bar or a club or an event after the end of a decades long relationship and being ‘single’ again…all of these things are when you feel a little bit scared and a whole lot of vulnerable, and you want to be well received…you want to feel that some other woman “gets” you…

Our rented limo, for which we all pitched in our equal share, held a diversity to be applauded…smart & funny singletons, divorced, long-time marrieds, childless by choice, grandparent, and kids ranging in age from 7 to 30…some of us struggling to make our monthly bills and some of us planning our next vacation, some of us trying to consolidate debt and some of us trying to diversify our mutual funds, some of us who like to buy our purses from TJMaxx and some of us who prefer Bloomingdales…none of it mattered.  Some of us just in need of wine and laughter and frolicking, and a desire to be out of the house, away from work, away from laundry, away from loved ones and their needs…to just be free for a day…I can only write for myself, but am willing to bet that not one of us thought of one negative thing yesterday, not one bad thought of some issue looming over our heads…it was truly a day of freedom and bliss.

As we emptied another bottle of wine on our two-hour journey home we blasted an iphone & sang 80’s songs and we laughed with no inhibitions.  I think each one of us at any  time during the ride home felt as peaceful and invincible as we did at 14, with not a care in the world…that’s some good medicine.  Not once yesterday did I wonder if my Spanx were making my butt and thighs smooth enough in my skirt, I did not think twice about having another piece of cheese or shortbread, “more wine?”  ‘sure!’  it was like a great date, where you just have total confidence and unlimited joy, and we all were smiling all day long.  I felt so fulfilled when I got in my truck to go home, and I suspect that each of the women with whom I spent the day, felt exactly the same…life might some days be hard, some days it might be very complicated, some days it might be terribly scary, but hey, I’ve got a limo filled with women who’d have my back in a heartbeat.

 

 

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