Saturday, May 14, 2011
Girlfriends are a Girl's Best Friend
Tucked inside scores of bills, catalogs and the junk... SCORE! A thick, buttery soft envelope, the color of mocha. It was from Julie. And I knew my day was about to improve.
I'm still the same girl that bounds to the mailbox in anticipation - although my steps today were slow, heavy ones. I adore snail mail, always have... and Julie knows it. I willed my children not to discover my absence for just 2 more minutes, and tore into the delicious envelope. My simmering tears, in search of their muse, sprang up. Inside the card was a faded newspaper clipping, carefully cut and showcased against floral stationary.
Because that's just how Julie rolls.
I smiled at the faded picture. It was one of Erma Bombeck's columns. Do you remember, At Wit's End? She's my hero - and Julie knows that, too.
She knows it because Julie's a true-blue friend, the kind that knows your Starbucks order and your labor stories by heart. She listens; she pays attention, she springs into action at precisely the right moments. Like the time I was summoned from Preschool to pick up my wee one with a head full of lice.
I was freaked out, of course... a scarlet "L" emblazened on my mommy rap sheet.
It had been a brutal morning, complete with a walk of shame to the pharmacy, a box of RID and a sheepish preschooler in tow. When she heard my plight, Julie dropped off lunch, a bottle of chardonnay, and a card (of course!) at my doorstep.
She ditched everything she had going at that moment because she knew my "baby" would be hungry after her sweet little lice-infested scalp had been scoured with an iron comb. She knew I'd need a drink by the time 5 p.m. rolled around - OK, maybe 4 p.m. - and mostly, she knew I needed to laugh. Good friends call and empathize. Girlfriends bring wine and insist you don't interrupt nit-picking to answer the door.
Back to the card. Let's just say it's been a tough week. Of course Julie knew that, and so she took the time from her own crazy life and scored some vintage Erma Bombeck for me. Who does that? Girlfriends do that. And a lot more. You probably already know that. And if you don't; better find some. Because you're going to need them.
Especially if you're married. But don't get me started!
I have feeling Erma had scores of girlfriends. Did you know that she was a wife and mother for more than 30 years before she hit the typewriter keys and recorded her legendary musings? Erma was way ahead of her time, snickering at domestic servitude and bucking the system... refusing to succumb to the pressures of the "girl watchers" and acknowledging the bittersweet side of motherhood. She rocked then, and she still inspires me now. Because for all our progress, things haven't changed all that much for mothers. Even pioneer mothers couldn't go to the outhouse without small hands knocking on the door.
And today, just when I needed it most, Julie channeled the Queen Mother herself and delivered me some serious TLC. And you want a girlfriend like her when you've had one of those weeks. Better, you want to be a girlfriend like Julie to a friend who's had one of those weeks. (You know, like when the lice brigades infiltrate the Preschool. Or when your husband... well, like I said. Nevermind.)
So thank you, Julie, again. And cheers to you, Erma... I hope your afterlife has been a bowl of cherries. Because you lifted a lot of girlfriends out of the pits.