Friday, June 8, 2012

This One's for the Girls

On Tuesday night I went out to dinner with my Bible study girls. My girls nights these days are too far and definitely too few between, and the settings in which I find myself on such occasions have changed dramatically over the past few years. Loud bars have become quiet corner booths and an extra round of shots has become an extra round of garlic bread. My personal dress code changed from “show it off” to “cover it up,” and 9:30pm went from "time to head out" to "time to head home." I’m not even sure I remember what there was to talk about before I had children. Some of Tuesday’s conversation topics included toddler vomit, diaper blowouts, rashes, fevers, and a very creative use for disposable nursing pads. (Don’t worry, Holly. I won’t tell the story). By the way, only a table full of moms can talk about toddler vomit and diaper blowouts during dinner without anyone wincing in disgust.

Ok, so it’s undeniable that motherhood brought some drastic changes to my social life, and possibly the biggest one is that I actually have to put in some real effort to maintain it. I quickly realized how easy it is to give up on that part of life after having children. I find it so much easier to stay home every night. After a long day of cooking, cleaning, and chasing a toddler, a hot shower, a good book, and an early bedtime are often my only interests. I seem to have much less time for my girlfriends these days, and I’ve seen many of my old friendships fade over the past two years. Luckily, last year I got connected with a few other moms like me and I’ve rediscovered the important role friends play in personal growth and sanity maintenance. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a group of girl friends in the same stage of life to share fears, triumphs, struggles, and laughs. Words cannot express how blessed I feel to have these ladies in my life.

Possibly the best part of our little circle is that each of us is so wonderfully imperfect. We share our weaknesses with candor and humor and we welcome the comfort that comes along with someone else jumping in to say, “I do that too!” We also share our strengths with a passion that inspires each of us to be proud of who we are and at the same time encourages us to be more like each other. Each of these women fuels my constant desire to become the best wife and mother I can be. Sometimes I wonder if they are even aware of their individual contributions to my life...

Everyone needs a friend like Kristin, whose commitment to a healthy lifestyle inspires me to exercise more, take better care of myself, and treat my body like a temple of God. I read food labels more carefully and Reese eats a more balanced diet because Kristin is my friend. Everyone needs a friend like Holly, whose passion for serving others inspires me to reach out to those in need. I volunteer my time more freely and donate more generously because Holly is my friend. Everyone needs a friend like Sarah, whose sense of humor inspires me to see that every situation is an opportunity for fun. I laugh at myself more frequently and find enjoyment in difficult moments because Sarah is my friend.

My journey through motherhood would be infinitely tougher without a circle of friends with whom I could share all of the ups and downs. If you have friends like these, I hope you fully realize what an enormous blessing it is. If you need friends like these, I hope you take steps to make those connections. Join a play group or Bible study; hang out at the park; reconnect with a forgotten friend. Most importantly, if you have never told your friends how they inspire you, take a minute to thank them for the very important roles they play in your life.

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

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