“We’ll be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet. “Even longer,” Pooh answered.
I spent the weekend at my dear friend Denee’s cabin in Arnold. It wasn’t just she and I. It was our regular group of girls that get together two to three times per year. Normally we are at the cabin for a long weekend sometime in August without kids or significant others, but Denee thought it would be fun to gather over Veteran’s weekend and include the kids for a day cooking; ravioli from scratch using Tami’s (Giovanni) family recipe.
These are my home girls. These are the girls I have known almost my entire life. Teri and I started first grade together at Holy Rosary Catholic School and then she married my first cousin, Jay. I did not introduce them. He is several years older than us, but somewhere along the way, they found each other and Teri became an Anello. Even while my name was Smith for many years, she had my name. Now I have mine back and we are the Anello girls.
Sharon arrived at Holy Rosary in third grade and we have been friends since that first day of school. Half my childhood was spent at her house. When I think of significant childhood events, whether traumatic or otherwise, Sharon was there. She was by my side when my brother fell out of a tree, in the car when I had that accident at 16-years old, and it was her high school boyfriend that introduced me to the father of my son.
The rest of us girls met in Jr. High. Denee, Lori, Sue, Tami, and Candy. Cyndee had to cancel at the last minute because she was sick, but her presence was felt as she arranged our Bunco game from afar, complete with prizes that she sent up with one of the other girls.
It is difficult to put into words what these women mean to me. We have something very special. I know that we aren’t the only ones who share lifelong friendships, but I also know that what we have isn’t typical. We have been through a hell of a lot. Sometimes together, sometimes apart, but always we are there for each other. I always walk away from our time together feeling replenished; as if I went to a well for a good, long drink. We laugh, we cry, we eat, we drink, we love. We wonder how we managed to survive some of the stuff we used to do (material for another blog if they would let me). Most importantly, we ground each other.
We all have lives away from each other. We all have other friendships within the circles in which we live. Some of us don’t talk on a regular basis, but there are group emails going back and forth. Some of us talk regularly or see each on occasion away from the group. We all have our own stuff going on. Some have husbands, kids at home, jobs and some of us live further away, but we don’t let go of what we have. We have history. We shared a place and a time in our lives that was ours and ours alone. We value it and we hold on to it.
So the idea for this weekend was to make it a girl’s weekend and include the kids, the kids being girls. They range in age from nine to 29. Though I didn’t have a daughter like all the rest of my friends, there were more than enough girls to go around. We had a blast. As the snow fell softly offering amazing views from every window, we rolled the pasta dough, cooked the filling, made marinara from scratch and then put it all together for an amazing feast. We played in the snow, we played games, we talked non-stop, and more than once we paused, we raised our glasses and acknowledged how blessed we were to all be there together.