A few weeks ago I met with two writers, Jackie Pilossoph and Kathleen Kolze at … (I know, wild guess, right?) Starbucks. So by now you know I live there. That’s where I write — I practically have my own “reserved” corner. In fact, my husband jokingly calls our house, my Second Home. But this tale is not about coffee, it’s about Giving: Girl Giving.
Yes, it exists … big time.
I know that I write and other parents write in about those hard subjects that affect us — Mama Drama, Girl Drama, Parenting, Marriage, Divorce, Sex issues, etc. but sometimes it feels good to step back and discuss what feels really good. Simply good.
Like Jackie, Kathleen and Me meeting for the first time. We were all “fixed up” by my sister-in-law — “You’re a writer, she’s a writer, and so is she — Meet.” As so many women know, our lives are crazy. It took no less than 15 emails to get a basic one-hour coffee date together. Canceled thrice, but we did it.
Now writers can be a funny breed. If you are a freelance journalist, say, it’s tough to get gigs — lots of pitches, lots of waiting time, lots of competition. If you are a new author, it’s all about the sell. Many writers become very competitive and protective of their sources (and resources), but when you come across those “Giving Writers” there is nothing like it. We laughed, we talked, we compared, and we sought-out creative ways to help one another. I suggested they each write for my blog (they did … you will see their pieces in the next few weeks). And they both planned to return the favor (I recently had something posted in Jackie’s blog). We all planned to read each other’s books. It was a wonderful first meet — and we promised to do it again.
I walked away feeling great, and not alone (writing can be a very solitary business – just you and your computer, and the relationship can be volatile). Today, I awoke to an early morning text from Jackie — I can’t put your book down. It made my day. And I thought about all those things that women do for one another on a constant basis that make our day.
Of course, there’s The Talking & The Listening. That’s the biggie. We need to be heard. And if you find the right friend, say, my sister Beth (who is my Best Friend), I can tell her the same story all week-long in a slightly different formation and she acts as though she’s heard it for the very first time, each and every time.
Women (unlike men) love to dissect the details; we eat minutiae for lunch (with our salad).
If I’m stuck at a train and it almost 3 p.m. (junior high pick-up), there are a few Go-To Moms I can tap into and say, “I’m running late, my daughter is not answering her phone (as usual). Can you pick her up and I’ll get her from you?” If you don’t have that kind of Mom in your black book, we (at GIRLilla Warfare) will work on getting you one. I have an upcoming blog (that’s still formulating in my head) about Moms “Dating” Moms.
Then there is the “Non-Counting Friend” (hands-down, top-of-the-list). It doesn’t matter how many times your kid is at her house (she, like you, is happy that the kids are hanging — there is no quid-pro-quo. Whatever works – works).
I have been a Full-Time Working Mommy — and I am very sensitive to those Moms who work. I always offer FTWMs anything I can do (driving especially), always remembering how much I, too, needed the extra help, and how wiped out I was from a full day of work but wanted to make sure that my girls didn’t miss out on all those things Stay-at-Home Mommies were able to offer. Word to the Wise: Always give extra leeway to the Working Mom who is trying to make it ALL work. It is a harder feat than climbing Kilimanjaro, believe me.
Oh, and That Girl Thing especially comes in handy if you are having a fight with your husband/boyfriend. Girls are never more giving and receptive than in this “I-can-totally-relate” area — always reminding you that you are right, he is wrong (even if he is right, you are wrong).
That Girl Thing, especially in suburbia, never seems as close as when you are driving, and you see two Moms speed-walking the ‘hood together. I always have this feeling like, Wow, I wish I were with them. They look so animated in their conversation, and I’m stuck doing errands. Having had my own share of walks/talks — I know that is hands-down when That Girl Thing is its most extraordinary. EVERYTHING in your life is accomplished in that one-hour walk. Problems with your kids, problems with your spouse, problems with work, or wondering with your newfound free time, what do you do now? Walk and talk with your favorite confidante — and I guarantee you will always get results.
Having been a reporter in the Middle East, I always think, if only they had two women speed-walking and talking — there would have been peace in the Middle East long ago. We don’t waste time, we get down to it. Tackle a subject, solve it, and move on. In those special Girl Moments, the giving is never greater. My problem, your problem, my advice, your advice. It’s a tennis match that always ends up Love-Love. Every girl walks away from the Walk/Talk feeling satisfied.
I’ve always been a best-friend kind of girl. That small posse of Lifetime Girlfriends who get the real me, love me for me, and I love them back, get them back. Yes, it’s the case of the girl who tells you which dress really is prettier on you, and means it. That’s my girl. Straight-up, no bull-shit. And when it’s really important, she will tell me that I’m wrong, and how I can right the situation. She’s got my back. I got hers.
When That Girl Thing is good … it comes down to one thing only: Acceptance. In her eyes, you accept all of your own “faults” because of what is being mirrored back to you: THAT GIRL loves you despite your faults and loves you because of your faults. In her eyes, You Are Enough. She knows it, you feel it.
If this sounds like a chain letter — it kinda is. Because it’s the one thing you never want to let go. When That Girl Thing has no Drama, no Agenda, just Me-4-U and U-4-Me … there simply is nothing better.
Except, perhaps one thing. My own girls…
Two out of the three take off for overnight camp today. My third one leaves Wednesday (and I’m sure I will be a mess … and I’m sure YOU will hear about it). But as they dump their carry-on bags in my arms, and run off to greet their camp friends, hugging, screaming and laughing with Remember Whens… all I can think about as they get ready to leave me (and their cell phones) behind in the ‘burbs, are all those incredible Girl Things that await them.
It’s their turn now.