Sunday, February 27, 2011
of girl parties and girlfriends
I love this photo. Unabashed giggles at my daughter's seventh birthday party. The theme was "spa party" that year — I vividly recall the time and effort involved in giving 12 girls manicures and pedicures after they frolicked in our candlelit jacuzzi spa. Add party games, dinner, birthday cake, cleanup, bad pop music, and unending girl screaming, and I'm ready to be carried off to the nearest insane asylum. Of course, they always wanted a slumber party, but it never failed — just when I'd gotten them all quiet in their sleeping bags at some ungodly hour, there'd be at least one girl who decided she was homesick and needed mom or dad to pick her up. But it's all been totally worth it.
My girl turned fifteen this week and we just put a cap on her most recent birthday bash. Many of the same girls from those early years were in attendance, along with some darling new acquaintances. And although the guests are now texting boys from their cell phones and socializing on facebook during the festivities, things really aren't too different than the birthday bashes of old. A similar cast of characters enjoyed a hilarious afternoon of bowling followed by a video contest, pizza dinner, gourmet cupcakes, groovin' to whatever the kids are listening to these days at full blast, screaming, and chattering into the night. And a first: No one went home early!
Over the years the guest list has been altered. Those who've proven to be kind and supportive have kept coming year after year. My girl seems to have an innate radar for selecting friends who are genuine and unselfish and build her up rather than tear her down. I'd go so far as to say these friendships will serve as the building blocks for every tough situation she'll encounter in life.
I don't know if her mother has provided her with the best example in this area. I made the grave error of replacing my girlfriends with whatever boy or man happened to be in my life at the time. This began in my teenage years and lasted until after my divorce when some wonderful, selfless women came out of the woodwork to rescue me. I thought I had friends when I was married, but I didn't fully realize that maintaining these friendships meant constantly working on them — scheduling lunches and girls nights out or simply picking up the phone to ask "how are you?" Never did it. I was waiting for them to call me. They did, sometimes, but for the most part, I depended on the poor man in my life as the outlet for all my girl-motions. Yeah, that went over really well. Point is, we girls need to vent, and we need to vent to each other. If we're lucky enough to be blessed with girlfriends who are, as my grandmother put it, "old shoes," the love and support we receive from them will be genuine, constant, and beyond measure.
As girls — and women — all is right with the world when we feel loved and supported by our fellow girlfriends. And we are happy to oblige when a true friend needs us. I cannot stress enough the importance of this concept to my daughter. Good supportive girlfriends, along with strong faith in her higher power, will carry her through each and every life mishap. She'll be well-equipped for the journey.