When you are a 14 year old girl, the most important thing in your life is your friends. Not those vague figures in the background who claim to be your family, but the people who really matter! Usually you spend all day with them at school, every possible minute with them outside school hours and any remaining time tying up the phone line! (Wish we had mobiles and texting and msn and stuff!)
If you are really lucky, these friendships survive adololesent spats (and then she said...) and the inevitable distance that comes when you leave the schoolyard and establish adult lives. If you are really, really lucky, you can treasure these relationships through adult life, like a secret link to your inner teenager. The things these women know! How could you risk not keeping them in your life??
My treasures are Karen, Jackie and Sue. Sue lived across the road from me and we bonded with Karen and Jackie at high school. That was over thirty years ago and just this weekend, we had lunch together. We try to do this at least four times a year, sort of around our birthdays-ish. Although we all live reasonably close by, we have our own networks and family and friends, so this precious touching base keeps the relationship alive.
We are a very special quartet: we all married in our early twenties. Three of our four partners were at school with us and the fourth was in the picture while we were still at school! The amazing part: four intact marriages, facing up toward siver anniversaries over the next couple of years! Various combinations of bridesmaids at four weddings, eight children among three of us (and the trauma of infertilty for one), parental divorce and loss - and sibling angst!
With the legacy of 70s an 80s pop music in the background - shared lust over Leif Garret, the Bay City Rollers and more, fashion faux pas and knowledge of Old Boyfriends, our teen years hug us gently and make us smile as our own babies have reached and survived teenhood! (And the exquisite knowledge we were so much badder than them!)
So, as we nudge middle age, menopause and the next thirty years, raise a glass of blackberry nip and lemonade in memory of growing up disgracefully and surviving!