By Tara Herberth
As the mother of four very active children and a stay-at-home husband, who I wanted to relieve when I arrived from my job outside the home, friends were a luxury I didn’t often afford myself. And at age 49, sitting in a room listening to the authors of Women I Want To Grow Old With, I realized how I was cheating myself. While my family filled a significant part of my heart and my social life, I was missing out on the connection close girlfriends provide. So I got to work.Luckily, several high school friends who I adored but connected with very infrequently still had interest in a relationship. I consciously carved out time to reconnect, to call, text, and email. I set up a Facebook page – something I had previously considered a bother – and specifically friended them to ensure I stayed current on their lives.
Five of us lived local and one across the country. With our friendships rekindled, we decided to schedule yearly trips to ensure we made each other a priority. And recently, the six of us spent a weekend in the mountains where we caught up, laughed, cried, commiserated, encouraged, and further strengthened the bonds of our friendship. Then replete and refreshed, we parted ways back to our varied lives.
As the group texts of love, appreciation and “let’s do it again next year,” followed, I reflected on what made us work. To those who are on the outside looking in, we can seem very different. While we share a common history built at Livermore High School in Northern California, overall our childhoods were not the same. Nor were our choices after high school. Some went off to college while others started their careers right away. While all of us have children, not all are still married. And while our children are of similar ages, they followed many different paths. Some of us are extroverts; some are introverts. And the differences go on. But when we get together it is magical – no one competes, judges, controls, or backstabs. We share confidences, and we keep confidences. It just works. And I am lucky to be a part of it.
Something the authors said in that room where they talked about the importance of friendship has always stuck with me. Women tend to live longer than men, and if we don’t invest in finding, making and keeping friends, we can end up alone. As I looked around that cabin at my wonderful, caring group of special friends, I knew that should my husband leave this world before me, I will never be alone. And today, even with him by my side, my life is enriched thanks to these friends. And for that, I am blessed.