Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships. There are those that bring you up and others that tear you down. Those that feel like coming home, and ones that feel like an exotic adventure. There are relationships that are productive – they are valuable for what they help me achieve. And there are relationships that are sacred, stable, and ever-present. There are people we’ve known forever and others that we’ve just met; relationships whose time has come and gone and others that are just taking shape.
If I can step outside myself I can almost see the eb and flow of energy between me and all of the people in my life. It’s like a web with threads of varying thickness, connections of different strengths.
Looking at it this way also forces me to choose exactly which relationships I want to invest in and how. It would be easy sit back and let each relationship passively evolve, assuming no responsibility for their strength or value, acting merely out of convenience or necessity. I could that. I have done that. (Please tell me it’s not just me. Haven’t we all done that?!) The alternative is to take active responsibility for at least as many as I can. Easier said than done, I know, but I’m an idealist so I’ll be damned if I don’t at least try.
Professionally, I suppose that’s always been the idea.
Personally, that raises the stakes.
Take my girlfriends for example. No longer confined by a common college, we’ve since spread far and wide (some farther and wider), and it’s now only when someone gets married or a baby is born or the stars align, that we are all together under one roof. In the past four years or so the party has grown to include spouses and babies and nearly a dozen dogs. It’s chaos. And I love it. This year my wedding was one of those events and while I loved every minute of it (more details to come) I also failed to enjoy the company of each and every guest. Weddings have a way of stretching you too thin while overfilling you with joy. They’re weird like that, but I’m digressing. That was just this July but lucky for me the crew reassembled to celebrate the soon-to-be-birth of another baby in the bunch and I could fully enjoy every moment. There were 11 of us, five dogs, and just one bed. We drank too much, talked to loud, laughed, cried and generally enjoyed one another’s (cramped) company.
It was glorious, and I want to scream from the roof tops how grateful I am to have good women in my life.
Having grown up a bit of a tomboy, I never saw myself surrounded by the impenetrable posse of women that I knew my mother to have. Her girlfriends had accumulated over the decades and the depth of camaraderie that she knew in them was mostly mythical to me. I had friends who were girls of course, but they were scattered mostly. And while still among some of my most treasured relationships, there was a synergy missing in each of those relationships because we were only two. When you have a group of women, on the other hand, a new dynamic unfolds that I find most extraordinary.
In just the past two years or so I’ve stumbled on that sort of sisterhood. Relationships from college matured, space was given, and closeness was resumed. Today, there is an honesty about the varying dynamics and a loyalty amongst the group. Expectations are high, but so is forgiveness. You look around the table now and wonder how we all ended up here together, bursting from the benches in the first place, looking nothing like one another. There is the designer and the environmentalist, the displaced Coloradan, the young mother, the new wife, the sports enthusiast, and the Midwestern tomboy. And then there’s the wine. Copious amounts of wine and belly aching laughter and we’re just us. She. Her. You. Me. Us.