Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Girl time with Lois

I remember having sleepovers with my 3 best friends when I was a child. They would usually come out to the farm where the rules were lax to nonexistent and we could sneak out at night to ride in the dark, or lie in our sleeping bags under the stars and giggle till dawn. Those were great times, sharing secrets and hopes and dreams.

Then I grew up, had children, became ‘responsible’ and the girl time became more sparse but increasingly precious. There have always been friends though. Friends who were there when I needed them.
Karen Kay (author of many wonderful Native American romance novels) once agreed to mount a horse (I didn’t know she was allergic…really…didn’t even know a nose could get that red) so that we could take a picture, then alter the pic so it looked as if we were on a camel to promote our upcoming coast to coast tour. She was more than a trooper. I try to be the same when my friends are in need.
A couple years ago, one of them called out of the blue after several months of silence to ask for help in leaving her husband. She was going to her house to collect stuff and needed a lookout. Knowing her husband, Duke, (No kidding. That was his name.) I asked if he had a gun. Her assurance that he was legally prohibited from owning a firearm didn’t make me feel much better. But I there for her. She gathered her things and never looked back. Gritty girl time, maybe, but girl time just the same.

On the receiving end, my daughter was born in May 18 years ago. I had endured a long Minnesota winter compounded by a somewhat worrisome pregnancy and by the time I brought baby home I was desperately in need of a friend and fresh air. So I called Mary. She was there in a heartbeat, brushing horses, talking a mile a minute. Maybe she wasn’t aware that I planned to bring baby with me on our ride, but when she saw 5 day old Tara snuggled into my little front carrier, she swallowed her objections and saddled up. Unfortunately, the steady mount I’d been riding for more than 10 years decided to take that particular day to lie down in the middle of the trail for no good reason. Everything turned out fine, but at that point even Mary had had enough and sensibly insisted that I ‘take that baby home right now.’ Still she was there for me. Willing, game, supportive.

I can’t even remember all the times I complained to her about my mounting literary rejections, my sleepless nights as a new mother, my myriad worries. But she always listened. While we allowed our horses to meander down the local park trails, we’d take turns talking. She would vent for twenty minutes about boyfriends and work, and I’d do the same about my problems. It was wonderful. Therapeutic. Unforgettable. Then my kids grew older, needed more of my attention, and I lost touch with many of my girlfriends.
But now, as the house empties, I find I have time for them again. Recently Colleen, an old friend with whom I’ve reconnected, agreed to ride in tandem bareback classes with me. It’s a ridiculous event involving one horse, two riders and identical costumes…and we’re having a ball.

It’s funny, although I write ‘relationship’ books and wax romantic about bulging biceps and sardonic grins, I find I generally prefer the company of women. They’re fun and empathetic, and you don’t need to use bowls when you eat ice cream.

So how about you? Do you have memories of girl time that warms your heart and lightens your mood? Or is hanging with the boys more your idea of a good time?

12 comments:

Helen Brenna said...

Lois, I could probably be a lesbian. Well, except for the whole sex part. LOL!!

I don't know what I'd do without my girl time, writing and non-writing friends alike.

And, like you, as my kids get older, look forward to reconnecting with some friends I've lost touch with over the years.

With good friends, years can seem like days.

MsHellion said...

I ditto this blog and Helen's first sentence. *LOL* I love sexy, sardonic grins and broad shoulders as much as the next girl, but girl time is just...so much more satisfying.

Oh, dear.

Which is probably why dating is such a PITA for me.

lois greiman said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah!! I'm with ya.
Oh...and I just figured out what PITA means. LOL

Betina Krahn said...

When I was 11 years old "girlfriends" were the bane of my existence. There is an icky competitive stage girls go through during puberty that can mark you for life.

But now that I'm (ahem) older and wiser, girlfriends and sisters and daughters-in-law are so important to me. . . can't get along without them! Guys-- not nearly as much. Except for my boys-- I do love them and we talk and talk.

Maybe we need a little "same" and a little "opposite" to have healthy balance.

Michele Hauf said...

Hmm, I seem to recall very recently a girlfriend of mine suggesting we should hop in the car (dark out already), drive almost an hour, and surprise a friend (who was already in bed, sleeping) after we got some good news. The night was sultry and the bugs were freakin' huge! And yet the three of us sat there on the porch, under the light that attracted the legions of insects, and congratulated ourselves on a job well done.
ANd then we hi-tailed it out of there before the bugs ate us alive.

Yep, I have a few precious girlfriends that I hope I will have forever. Heck, I have one girlfriend I've known since birth (Yep, we have baby pics together.) Sometimes I think it's good we live 400 miles away from each other; that's how our friendship has lasted so long. We might drive each other nuts if we were any closer.

Debra Dixon said...

One of the blessings of being a writer was the friendship it nurtured with some women who have become my best and dearest friends.

I also have a non-writing best friend (she shows dogs) and we're both there to support each other. She's a member of the family now really.

And I'm also blessed with a cool mom and sister.

lois greiman said...

The bugs were rather large, I admit.:)

lois greiman said...

Sisters!!

Excellent point. Sisters are beyond price. I still feel guilty for not giving my daughter a sister.

Christie Ridgway said...

Girl time!! I've just had two wonderful doses. Yesterday, the Holy First Day of School Luncheon. We attendees all met when our kids were in kindergarten and they're now 15! We had so much fun. (This time it wasn't on the first day of school, not that it mattered.) We're there for each other and love all the kids no matter their foibles.

On Sunday, I was in the San Francisco Bay Area visiting my mom and my buddy Barbara Freethy arranged several of us to get together for lunch and brainstorming. What a blast. Barbara, Carol Grace, Candice Hern, Tracy Grant, Bella Andre, and Monica McCarty, as well as my mom and me. My mom loved the writer talk and I loved the girl time!

Syrie said...

Funny you should mention "Girl Time"; I was just discussing that very subject tonight... ironically, with my two adult sons, who happening to be sharing some precious "Mom Time" with me. I admitted that I've been so busy, for so many years, juggling my writing schedule with being a wife and mom, that I haven't allowed myself any real social time... in a long time... especially with girlfriends. Girlfriends used to be the biggest part of my life, and I miss that! My New Year's resolution (today is, after all, Rosh Hashanah--the Jewish New Year) is to go out of my way to MAKE TIME for Girl Time, and to join groups that will introduce me to all you wonderful sister-writers and readers out there. My first step was to re-join RWA (after a long absence.) I hope to be meeting you all soon! (Posted by Syrie James)

Playground Monitor said...

Girl time is great! I have my writing friends on the Writing Playground, plus my other friends in my RWA chapter. I'm also a member of the Red Hat Society (we're doing lunch at Macaroni Grille today as a matter of fact) and love my Red Hat sisters to death. And my real sister and I take a trip or two together each year in lieu of exchanging Christmas gifts. We leave for a cruise to Cozumel in 49 days. I can't wait!

And... after raising two boys and feeling like the minority in a fraternity, I now have a granddaughter to spoil. I can't wait until she and I can take girl trips together.

Marilyn

Betina Krahn said...

Let's hear it for granddaughters! Ditto the desire to take trips with the grandgirls, Marilyn!

Of course, if I didn't have one, I'd just grab the grandboys and go. Maybe I will anyway!