Two years ago this day my Dad threw a surprise party for my Mum's 60th birthday party. He gathered her friends at the golf clubhouse, arranged for some entertainment by a close friend's singing group, and had a wonderful spread of food. My sister-in-law flew up from L.A. to be there. All my Mum's closest friends (that hadn't already flown south for the winter) were there.
My Mum has some wonderful friends. She forms these fabulous friendships with fantastic ladies. The support, love, and laughter they offer each other is inspiring. They come from different places. Some are my father's colleagues' wives, some are golf team members, some from church.
About 9 years ago, her closest friend moved from Calgary to Ontario, and I remember her heartbreak. The two of them were so close, and I wondered what would happen to Mum after V left. She's a pretty friendly person, deeply spiritual, and, I think, a very classy lady. But fairly private too. Another blow came 4 years ago when my Godfather's wife passed from cancer. J was such a light in all our lives, and such a good friend to my Mum.
Then my Dad started edging closer to retirement. Less hours in the office meant more time for golf in the summer and travel in the winter. A few years ago they bought a timeshare in southern California, a place frequented by Calgarians. Their friends. There's always another couple there, everyone overlaps their time. Trips to Las Vegas for concerts, to B.C. and northern Canada for adventure.
There's C, a rector with a wickedly smart sense of humour. There's K, who lost her husband to cancer and subsequently found love with a widower. And T, a real estate agent who has become a favourite walking partner. M was a nurse, and is an avid shopper. And then there was P, a housewife and doting grandmother who made everyone feel like family. We lost her to cancer last spring.
I watch these women as I move further into adult- and motherhood. Along with my mum, they are all an inspiration to me. In their relationships with each other, their partners, and individually.
I find myself thinking of my girlfriends. There are the gals I danced with. We share a bond that's so hard to describe. My dear co-worker who shares my passion for food, inspires me in photography, and gets my sense of humour. My sisters-in-law who are all different from each other, and from me, but we have come together as only the brothers' wives can. My co-worker's wife, the one who was able to put up with his antics and dish it out as well as she could take it.
Some of us are married, some are single, some divorced. Some of us have children, some are pregnant, some have no desire to procreate. None of us are in the same place in life at the same time. However, I can still see those support networks strengthening as we move through life, dealing with all it throws at us.