Chosen Sisters

Girlfriends

Girlfriends

I could almost be a lesbian. All except for the sex, that is. That’s a deal breaker for me. But other than that, I could totally be one.

You might be wondering where I’m going with this, so I’ll explain.

I have discovered, as I age, just how important girlfriends are in my life. I would not be who I am today without them. They have helped form me into the person whose words you’re reading. (So if you don’t like me, or my words, blame my girlfriends.)

Sharon, me, Patty, Karen and Kim

Sharon, me, Patty, Karen and Kim

Thinking about it recently, I realized some of my most intimate relationships have been with women. These gals have been there for just about every memorable moment in my life.

Kim, Sue and me

Kim, Sue and me

We share our stories, laugh and cry together and are there for one another. No matter what. I’ve known some of them over 40 years. These are my chosen sisters.

Me, Sharon, Pam and Sue

Me, Sharon, Pam and Sue

Mandy

Mandy

Take Mandy, for instance. We met in junior high, went to high school together and eventually became traveling buddies. She and I have camped on remote islands off British Columbia, kayaked alongside Orca whales, watched a hyena sleeping against our tent (while we were in it!) on a Tanzanian camping safari and trekked through Amsterdam together.

Sue on our weekend horseback trip

Sue on our weekend horseback trip

I met Sue in high school only because we had our lockers next to each other. Our last names began with ‘D’ so fate put us together. Had my last name been Hollingshead, we might have never met. She’s the only person I know who talks as much as I do. And let me tell you, that’s quite a feat.

Celebrating our birthdays

Celebrating our birthdays

Since high school, Sue and I have shared almost every significant moment in each others lives: weddings (both of ours), funerals (my parents, her dad), summer vacations in Tahoe, adventures in Hawaii and Spain. I’m also godmother to her son, Eric.

Sharon

Sharon

Sharon and I grew up on the same street. She’s a rare and special soul; Sharon feels like home to me. We were roomies in our 20s and Maid of Honor in each others weddings. I’m also godmother to her son, Martin.

Sharon is nurturing and always present. She makes you feel like you’re the only one in the room even when it’s crowded with others. She has the uncanny ability to offer her complete attention. I don’t know many people like that, do you?

Pam

Pam

Pam is my exercise buddy. She’s incredible. At age 56, she’s in better shape than most 20-year-olds. Pam runs 2 half-marathons a week (often in the hills), then swims, bikes, hikes and lifts weights the other days. Why? Good question. Apparently, she loves a challenge. All I know is she puts me to shame. Pammy has one speed: GO. She’s definitely my motivator.

Biking through Cape Cod

Biking through Cape Cod

The two of us enjoy sharing many activities that involve sweating: sprint triathlons, running Bay to Breakers, numerous bike events, including biking around Lake Tahoe and a tour through New England. Without her I’d probably be a couch potato.

Together we’ve explored Italy, Mexico, Hawaii and various other U.S. states. She’s easy to be with and cracks me up. You should see her Steve Martin impression from his SNL “wild and crazy guys” routine.

Sheila

Sheila

Pam’s sister, Sheila, is another traveling buddy. She’s our comic relief and always up for fun. With Sheila around, it’s a sure bet you’ll be laughing either with her or at her antics.

Patty

Patty

Sisters, Patty and Karen, are the life of the party. Whenever they arrive, the decibel level increases exponentially; I love it. Side note: if you bruise easily, be careful when standing near Patty, as she has a habit of hitting your arm and exclaiming, “Son of a bitch!” when a story takes an interesting turn. She’s also game for anything; we’ve skydived together and lived to tell.

Karen

Karen

I don’t believe it’s possible for Patty’s sister, Karen, not to have a smile on her face. She simply radiates kindness and is truly a giving, loving person. I swear, she’s like a junior Mother Teresa. (But she’ll deny it.)

Joan

Joan

Then there’s Joan. Joan has more friends than Justin Bieber has twitter followers. And her singing voice will give you chills, it’s so beautiful. Being with her, you totally get why everyone loves her.

Kimmy

Kimmy

And then there’s Kim. She’s the head-turner in the group; tall, thin, blond. You get the picture. Just beautiful inside and out (even though she doesn’t recognize it).

Now don’t get me wrong; my friends aren’t around only for the good times. When my parents died 3 weeks apart, these gals arranged a surprise sunset ceremony in a field near the bay in gorgeous Tiburon. We released balloons that held personal messages to my folks, while Sharon read a touching letter she wrote about them.

During the early days of my divorce, this group of friends showed up on my doorstep one morning and whisked me away on a wonderful hike and picnic lunch. They didn’t ask if I wanted to go. They knew what I needed before I did.

What a privilege to have these gals in my life.

Having just one true girlfriend who loves you in spite of yourself is wondrous, yet I have a whole gang of them. How lucky am I?

So no, I’m not actually a lesbian, by definition. But I couldn’t feel any closer to my girlfriends.

I suppose that’s because I share with them what I know to be truly intimate – my heart.

Chosen sisters

Chosen sisters

5 thoughts on “Chosen Sisters

  1. You are sooooo lucky to have such great friends. I envy you! You are such a great person. That is why you have such wonderful friends.

  2. Janet, I loved reading about all of our friends! We sure do have some memories together, don’t we? I should say though, that so often you are the glue that holds us together. I want to say who know that a softball team thrown together would turn into ” Lifelong” friendships, but I believe God had a hand in putting us together on that team, He knew our friendships would thrive and last forever! I Love my California friends and you so much.
    Miss you all too,
    Sharon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s