Happy weekend everybody! I’m having a lovely time – I hope you all are too.
Today is my wedding anniversary and – as I sit looking at some very pretty gerberas and a delightful card – I am reminded of time and all the people that pass through ours. In my marriage, time seems to act as an emulsifier. We know each other better, we share as much of each other’s interests as can reasonably be termed healthy and we’ve mastered the intricate choreography necessary to live successfully in the limited space afforded by a two bedroom terraced house.
However, I haven’t just been a nauseating Nigella wannabe, thank you. I’ve also spent time with my other family: my girlfriends. It started inauspiciously enough – I had Friday afternoon off in order to prepare for my guests and then became a victim of the awful weather…..which seems ironic when you consider that all the activity planned was indoorsy. In a 10 minute walk to and from the train station to pick up Janet (and some ingredients, en route), we both got soaked and ended up towel drying our hair and radiator drying our woollies in the kitchen. In the summer. Then Kathy and Leila were delayed and arrived (surprise) soaked by the rain. We were four drowned rats sat round a dinner table.
Thus began our regular Friday night (delete as appropriate) dinner / coven / therapy session. Then I served homemade lemonade. It’s an unorthodox family recipe – two of the most important ingredients are champagne (well, cava) and vodka. You just would not believe how much sunnier four friends could become – we created our own micro-climate in Mossley Hill. We came together as friends, wives, fiancés, mothers, professionals – you name it, we’ve got one in our number. We left as relaxed individuals – having discussed the merits of Ben Stiller vs. Adam Sandler and talked every stress away. I felt comfortable enough in this company to give up on the idea of cooking and serve takeaway using kitchen towel as napkins. What more can I ask of them?
Now, I am – sadly – without much immediate family. However, the family that I have are (for the most part) female and I would count them amongst my dearest friends. I’m as proud of my cousin’s baby as I could be of an immediate niece and I’m as grateful for my Aunt’s warmth, kindness and advice as I could be for my own mother’s. With my girlfriends this is extended – we live thru’ each other’s nightmares and joys. We look at babies, engagement rings or promotion letters with joy – that these things make their mothers, their glowing recipients or their well-deserving appointees happy, makes us happy. We truly are joyful for them. And proud – very, very proud.
I hope that, when we get together on wet or cold or miserable nights, we manage to lighten any dark moods. Or give useful advice – or comforting solace, at least. If times are good, we can (and love to) laugh and smile. If times are tiring or miserable, we listen and give as much insight as we have. Either way, we’re there to support and celebrate each other.
Then we can move on – to the Stiller vs. Sandler debate, for instance. Or ‘why have we started to like boys’ films, at all?’. If any of you have a handle on that one, feel free to contribute: it’s still a mystery after much discussion. The conversation varies wildly – we covered babies, politics, neurology, mysticism….among other subjects – but there’s never any argument. We accept that we won’t agree with each other all the time but we have a strict, unspoken etiquette that means that everyone gets their time to speak and no-one ever has to shout. We listen with open minds and we try (and generally manage) to get a little out of each other’s experiences and wisdom.
And this, it seems to me, is what sisterhood means. I’m not lucky enough to have any immediate sisters but I have the loveliest Aunt, cousins and friends anyone could wish for – they’re warm, intelligent, natural, beautiful women. I love each and every one of them.
But, on my wedding anniversary, I can honestly say that – at the top of the list of the wonderful people in my life – comes my husband. He’s the only person I would give up all those dear friends for. Not that he’d ever make me – and that is why he’s so special. Today, I feel truly blessed.
Now, inspired by something I’ve been reading in a rather fancy-schmancy Sunday publication, my next post’s subject will be make-up. Is it war paint or social courtesy? I trust, dear readers, that you will detect a tone of wry sarcasm in that question. If not, the post may fall spectacularly flat….
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Please read this again