Monday, December 17, 2012
Every year at Christmastime, my mother, who was an executive in her company, hosted a Christmas party at our home. It was always a great event, something that we all looked forward to and enjoyed because her party usually marked the real start of our Christmas and we knew that very soon, the Big Day would be arriving. Our home was ready, our plans were made and both of my parents had a very, very nice time at the party.
In addition to all of the festivities, there was another big part of this party that I grew to enjoy. My mother, despite the fact that she was the "boss" to many of them, had a host of wonderful girlfriends at her place of work and it never was it as evident that they enjoyed each other's company as it was on the day of the Christmas party. I grew up with such an appreciation for girl friends, just by watching my mom and hers. She loved them and they, her. Rarely was there a week that would go by that would not include several good times spent with good friends. Bowling clubs, church dances, coffee and cake get-togethers, you name it, it happened and it was always a good time.
As the years went by, my parents had fewer friends. Folks moved away. Friends retired. Illness and eventually, deaths, one by one, broke up their friendships until, at the end of my mother's life, there were no more. My father has outlived all of his friends and now has only memories and even those, he selectively recalls. It must be a mechanism employed by the very old - they screen out memories and drop from their thoughts all that are too painful. It's hard to believe that my father, who once shared so many of those good times with my mother, is totally alone now.
I love my friends. I've always had a great number of them. I inherited that from my mother and have also enjoyed many good times with great people. I have categories of friends, old and new, here and there. My oldest friends have been with me through every phase of my life. I call them my own Cemetery Club. In fact, we've been together since before we were all in the fourth grade. We've shared milestone birthdays, weddings, births, divorces, deaths......just about everything thus far. It's a sad reality that one of us will be the first to die. We never discuss that but we do discuss other things and we laugh a lot, a lot.
Yesterday, my first born granddaughter was in her dance school's production of the Nutcracker Suite.. It is always a joyous event for the family, a rather new ritual. After all, she is only six years old. We love watching her and are always in awe as we think back to her babyhood and realize that it has passed and she is growing into a little girl, no longer a baby. She has a life that, each day, becomes more her own. She makes decisions, has opinions, and now has her own little friends. Her friends who came to see her perform yesterday. Her friends who, hopefully will go through life with her just as mine and her mother's and her great grandmother's. It was a great joy seeing Lucy with her friends, three beautiful girls, bursting at the seams with love for each other. I hope and pray that they will have the opportunity to stay together.