By Julia Connolly
It was bad. I’d been in bed for three days, depressed, crawling out to handle only the most necessary of motherly duties. On the third day Stacy messaged me suggesting a late lunch, which sounded like a good excuse to take a shower.
We met at an outdoor cafe and sat in the sun. She was having a bad day too, filled with foreboding about a presentation she was to give that night.
We talked about those twin devils, anxiety and depression. We shared tales of fear, envy, loss. In time, the conversation took a turn. We began to share stories of parents who raised us to be creative, how proud we are of our kids, how much we love our husbands—the things that make us happiest.
By the end of lunch we were laughing, hugging, celebrating our friendship and general good fortune. In two hours, we had rescued each other from our demons.
My time with Stacy was golden, a singular example of girlfriend lifesaving that has happened countless times throughout my life and the life of every woman I know.
It’s a bond we share as the caregivers, the fixers, the compassionate ones. We understand broken hearts, marriages put asunder, the terrible twos, mean bosses, no longer fitting into skinny jeans, and three-in-the-morning phone calls that can only bring the worst of news. We get it. Because we’ve lived those things too.
I used to think I was missing the girlfriend gene. I had plenty of female pals, but we never did the things women friends did on TV or in the movies. No shoe-shopping with mimosas afterward, no mani/pedi afternoons, no girls-only three-day cruises. I was sure I was the only one not wanting to live that fabulous life.
The truth is that few people want that. What we want, what we need, is a sister-friend who knows that reaching out is considerably more restorative than a new pair of Jimmy Choos. Sometimes that means a long chat over a glass of Chardonnay. Sometimes it’s a drive-by cup of coffee. And sometimes it’s just a text that says “Men suck.”
Life is hard. Joyous, yes. But hard. For all of our progress, women are still the cooks, the jugglers, the diaper changers. We are wise to remember that sisterhood is powerful, whether its sentiments are shouted on high in fist-raised rebellion or whispered in the ear of a friend at her lowest point.