Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mom, girlfriends and God

Only a couple more days until Mother's day… and that window of sending something before its too late is quickly closing. I know I've got to get my package off 'express post' if I have any chance of honouring my mom this year. Why I always wait until the last minute, I have no idea. So, I'm working away today at a meaningful little gift for Mom this year, and I hope that she feels loved when she receives it.

I've come to recognize that my mom and I will never be best girlfriends, and although I'm OK with that, there are times like Mother's Day that I wish it were the case. Mom and I connect on some stuff, but not everything, and certainly not the heart level stuff that I share with a few of my other friends. Mom and I can talk about the weather and other people for hours (not gossip, but facts), but as soon as it becomes personal, well, the conversation lags.

Mom is a wonderful woman, a hard worker, a great cook and baker, a lifetime supporter of mothering, a loving grandmother, but she just isn't my girlfriend. Too many years of history are there between us for us to be light and fun and silly together, I guess. So, the visits can be tense without the humour nor the heart connection.

So, I have to love and accept my mom and our relationship for what it is and what it is not. And I have to be thankful that there are other women in my life, both young and old, that make my life rich and fun and liveable. I would be lost without them.

This morning I had the opportunity to sit with a young girlfriend of mine and just shoot the breeze over a cup of americano. We sat in the window of the coffee shop, looking out at life on the street, and talked about stuff like friends, and jobs and the economy. An hour later, we hadn't solved anything much, but we had talked about a lot. Then we headed off to whatever was next in our days.

Girlfriends are one of God's best inventions, I think. I know I'm not saying anything new in this, but girls just listen better and understand better than guys, and so I want to say another hurray for girlfriends, and daughters and mothers and sisters… and the times when these are combined.

My dear husband just isn't wired to give and take like a girlfriend would. He tries hard to listen and then he presents his solution and I always take offense to that approach. I know he wants me to be happy and wants to solve whatever it is that I'm trying to share with him that is making me unhappy. But, I just really want to talk, to vent… nothing more than that most days.

Girlfriends empathize better, their body language is better, their silences are better timed, and when they speak it's not about the solution. Often it's about their life and how they handled, or didn't handle, something similar. And so many times there's laughter involved… even if it's allowing me to laugh at myself for being way too serious. For whatever reason, I come away from these conversations feeling better. Nothing has changed in my life circumstances, but I feel like I'm part of a special forces unit that is somehow, together, able to take on the world. Wow, that's pretty amazing to feel like that.

In the words of one of my wise girlfriends, "The sooner we get that our husband isn't our girlfriend, the better off we will be!"

In a way, I think the same potential for healthy emotional living that comes from girlfriend time, also comes from the time I spend with God. I can share EVERYTHING that's going on inside me without any fear at all of being rejected, being fixed, being misunderstood, being the odd girl out. God can take it all from me, and he gets me even more than my husband or my girlfriend or my mother is ever capable of. But, I forget that, and settle for other relationships to make me feel better and even tend to become needy of those people sometimes when I start to feel cut off or lonely. The silly thing is, God is here with me ALL THE TIME… and I ignore him so often.

I'm going to get up from this computer, put on my walking shoes, and take a brisk walk with my dog and with God. I'm sure we'll have a great talk (not out loud or people might think I'm nuts), and when I get back home I know I'll have a new perspective on things. Only it won't be the perspective and feel good kind of thing that I already have after my morning girlfriend coffee, which already has me energized. It will be a fresh understanding that the God of the universe, my friend, has it all under control and that I can just relax in that knowledge for another day.

Peace, out!


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