Take Time to Remember Your Girlfriends (7/17/13)

Holiday honors those who stay with us throughout life

August 1st is National Girlfriends Day. While the origins of the annual celebration are unknown, I’m guessing the folks at Hallmark probably had a hand in adding the date to the calendar—but, I’m not letting that dilute the day.

Girlfriends deserve a day dedicated to celebrating their cherished contributions. Have you ever wondered what your life would be like without them, without the female cheerleaders and confidants in your corner?

I write a lot about my kids and family, and just as I can’t imagine my life without them, I can’t imagine where I would be without my girlfriends, my chosen family.

Maybe you met her playing hopscotch on your elementary school playground or watching soccer practice on your son’s elementary school field, but you felt the intangible thread that would eventually weave your lives together.

Girlfriends are so much more than their dictionary definition: a female friend. I think Merriam-Webster’s simple description of a girlfriend better defines an acquaintance. Acquaintances and girlfriends do not share the same camaraderie—it’s the difference between Real Housewives friendships and Sex and the City friendships.

Acquaintances compliment you on your mom jeans. Girlfriends truthfully tell you how you look.

Acquaintances ask how you are doing. Girlfriends wait for your reply.

Acquaintances offer to help. Girlfriends take action.

Acquaintances touch your hand. Girlfriends touch your heart.

Girlfriends always have your back. Acquaintances may talk behind it.

I’m fortunate to treasure a diverse and fun-loving group of girlfriends with wide-ranging interests. We go to movies, spas, shops, gyms, restaurants, casinos, book groups, school events, board meetings and even embark on weekend excursions.

If we’re lucky, we have girlfriends who play different roles in our lives and each enriches our spirit.

A few months ago, when my son signed the lease for his first apartment, I asked some of my girlfriends to keep their eyes open for deals on used furniture.

One girlfriend, taking her early morning weekend walk, sent a picture of a couch at a garage sale in her neighborhood and had the seller hold it. Another girlfriend, ditching her current dining room table for a contemporary set, offered to donate it to the apartment, noting when the leaf is added it’s the perfect size for beer pong, and yet another girlfriend, who was cleaning out her garage, provided a pristine pair of dressers.

When my son moves into his apartment in two weeks it’s almost fully furnished due to the generosity of my girlfriends.

I have girlfriends I’ve known for years and girlfriends I’ve recently met, and they are equally essential.

I have known my oldest girlfriend since age two. She knows where the skeletons are buried, but won’t unearth them. We have private jokes that date back to black-and-white television and vinyl records. We’ve been through graduations, promotions, marriages, divorces, births, deaths, firings, hirings, moves and more.

Technically, I took my first road trip with her at age seven. We ran away together, after our moms helped us pack, to meet The Monkees. We almost made it to the bus stop. Years later we’d perfect the road trip and make more trips to Las Vegas than I care to recall.

Moving to San Clemente almost 15 years ago I didn’t know a soul. Through my sons’ schools, sports and some of my own pursuits, I feel fortunate to have forged friendships with a variety of inspiring and fabulous women.

I can’t imagine getting through the day without a text, email or call to a girlfriend for a laugh, advice or conversation.

We need our girlfriends every day not just on August 1st. Whether you’ve recently met or share a storied history, celebrate the girlfriends in your life on National Girlfriends Day, because where would you be without them?

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