Fate brought us together as youngsters. Fate separated us for a while after high school while each pursued her life's callings in marriage, family, and career. Fate brought us back together 20 years ago at a grade-school reunion, and we have locked into our connection ever since. While one of the group moved to a faraway place for some time, we kept in touch by calling her, or sending menus with notes, from the places where the other three of us met. While I became preoccupied with giving birth and raising two more children, we scheduled our visits around feeding and bedtimes. While two women's marriages dissolved, we supported them through their stress and pain, and then rejoiced with them in their happiness when love blossomed anew. When one woman lost her dear son in a tragic, unexpected death, we wept together in devastation and now hope for our friend's healing through her palpable grief.
Life goes on, and we will go on, together. During the years from grade school until now, we have grown individually and as a group. Middle age has brought us to a new place in our lives and a deeper connection in our friendship. Perhaps we look a bit different now, too. Together we marvel at the unwelcome changes that are happening to our bodies as we age. With humor, we marvel at the great shape we are fortunate to be in as middle agers, save for some aches, pains, and hormonal fluctuations. We are learning to accept this new phase in life by talking about it, laughing about it, and dealing with it. Apparently, there isn't a whole lot a girl can do to halt the aging process, so we take care of ourselves and make the best of what we have been given. By the looks of us (and once again, here's that vain bone), we are doing a fine job, individually and collectively.
I felt inspired to write about us girls today, after we spent last evening together. Our gathering was a typical and comfortable visit during which we got caught up on each person's news —adventurous, mundane and otherwise. We shared about our ups and downs, our hairstylists, our enjoyment of good food and a great martini, our jobs, our family tidbits, our opinion about the waiter/waitress (last night, he was very young, very tall, and very sarcastic, but cute), and we enjoyed our usual comedy while trying to figure the tab. Unfailingly and laughably, four intelligent women struggle to do the math when it comes time to tip, split, and pay the bill. Most likely the wine or the martinis are to blame. It never fails, too, that, at the end of our visit, we part ways feeling uplifted, even in times of difficulty; grateful, even in times of loss; energized, even in times of fatigue; loved, even in times of personal struggle; and always, happy for each other's successes in life and for our friendship.
The Grade School Girls are in it for the long haul. To us, I lift up a glass and say: Viva la GSG's!