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Friends For Life

2 May 2010 8 Comments

I am in a book club. It isn’t as much of a book club as an “excuse to get out of the house without kids, drink wine and talk with your girlfriends” club. Sometimes we barely mention the book. I do love that it has reconnected me with a long lost love- reading books, but I love even more that it keeps me connected to women who stand taller than 3’5”.

I moved to my current town about 5 years ago from Chicago. In Chicago I had a strong group of women friends. Mostly moms from my church who fully believed in the concept that it takes a village. We were all in a huge city away from our families of origin and that can be extremely isolating. But we reached out and found each other and those women were a life line to me when I was a new mom. The prospect of moving away from them terrified me. How could I possibly do this mom thing without them?

The town I live in now is a wonderful place to raise a family and I am really happy here. But as anyone who moves here “from the outside” would probably tell you, it is a hard place to move. It isn’t that it is a small town by any means, but it can sometimes feel like it. A lot of people grow up and stay here. And by stay here I mean close to the same neighborhood, with the same childhood friends, and still go to their parents for Sunday dinner every week like the generation before them did. It is a bit difficult to find a place to fit.

So when I moved here I jumped in with two feet. I joined mom’s clubs and playgroups and bible studies. I basically threw all my spaghetti at the wall so I could see what stuck. My playgroup moms stuck. As our kids played together we began to forge tight bonds and a book club was formed. Three years later when it came time to send our kids to school many of us chose different schools. Some private, some public, some charter. Suddenly we didn’t have our kids to hold us together anymore. It got harder and harder to stay close as life became to be more about being a chauffeur and less about pushing our kids side by side on the swing.

It is fitting that our book club book this month is “The Girls From Ames- A Story of Women and a Forty- Year Friendship”. It is a book celebrating a group of women (who happened to grow up close where I grew up) who remained friends from elementary school until adulthood. I also learned that women with close friends are more healthy and physically fit then women who don’t. Even more than women with a fulfilling family life and many children. They will outlive those without many friends by 22 percent.

Friendships are hard work at times, but they can literally be life saving. Or at least life giving. So when being a mom and wife seem all consuming and throwing on some presentable clothes and trekking across town to talk about a book feel like the last thing on earth I want to do. I mean come on, the couch and a pair of pjs are calling my name. I go. Because I NEED these women in my lives. I need to laugh and cry and ask hard questions and talk about the most frivolous things on earth. It is good for my soul.

Jill Anderson is a mother, wife, and blogger. She is a member of the BornFree Mom Panel.

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