Sunday, 13 November 2011
Friends - and not the one with Joey & Chandler....NaBloPoMo Day 13!
Yesterday, myself and a group of my friends - 5 of us in total went on our yearly Christmas shopping excursion. There's usually 6 of us but one of the group couldn't get childcare. Anyway, this has been a tradition for about 7 years now since one of our group moved away from the rest of us. We all make the journey, which is less than an hour really, to her house and then onto a full days shopping extravaganza!
The 6 rag tag group of 40 somethings (of which I am the oldest), have known since secondary school. So in total roughly about 30 years, since we were 11/12 years old! We all sat at the same table in English class and I suppose we were a bit geekish at school! When we left school I lost touch with them all for a couple of years. I got married young and had my son. Losing touch was my fault rather than theirs. I was it love with husband no 1 and that kind of took over and everything else was forgotten, including friends. However, we met up again when one of my friends was getting married. Its been fun fun fun ever since!
Anyway, our yearly Christmas shopping expedition usually consists of quite a few 'pit stops' in local pubs and coffee shops! A rule we try to have is that out of all the presents we buy for family and friends, we buy at least one thing for ourselves! One of my friends is addicted to shoes so we can pretty much guarantee what she will come home with! More shoes than Imelda Marcus!
A fun day was generally had all round. Lots of laughing, lots of gossiping and lots of 'thank goodness we're having a child free day'! Don't get me wrong. We all love our children dearly but boy it was good to be away from them for the day! A day to leave the husbands in charge to manage runs to youth clubs, football matches etc. Mop up tears, poo and sick. And make sure the dogs were walked and the house and make sure school uniforms washed and ironed for Monday! Though, yesterday this didn't quite go to plan as we discovered when we called into a local pub for lunch only to be put beside a family with 2 screaming children at the next table. Not only did one of the children scream, she screamed so much that even her poor mother walked outside to get a bit of a breather from it all! I did feel for the poor woman as I know what that is like.
Our little group of friends has been through quite a lot over the years. Between us we've had a couple of divorces and remarriages (me & 1 other). We've had 2 cancers scares (not me). We've had horrible mothers making our lives a misery (me and 1 other). We've had 2 miscarriages (yes me again). We've had major career changes (errr yeah its me & 2 others) and we've had death within our wider families (all of us). So, over the years we've all had a variety of troubles along the way, but through it all our friendship has remained. Sometimes we could kill one another. But through it all we have all stayed and will always stay good friends. How we are all friends amazes me because each of us are so different in many ways with different personalites and completely different lifestyles. I suppose the biggest thing that separates me from my friends is that I'm the only one with a special needs child. Yes I have other friendship groups that include special needs children, but not this group. Has it made a difference? Sometimes yes, but often No.
My friends are very understanding and supportive of my caring role. One of them even looks after my daughter once a week after school. But I suppose its perhaps myself that creates that difference. I get jealous hearing them talk about their 'normal kids' doing 'normal kid' things. I get angry at them worrying about stupid things like maths tests or boyfriends/girlfriends of their children. But, I can recognise that the problem is mine and not theirs. Why shouldn't they talk about their children and worry about the same stuff other parents worry about. My worries are just different than theirs. My priorities are just different. Different doesn't mean wrong!
And so, our friendship endures. We have another year to look forward to of mad nights out. Madder nights in and girlie nights away! Another year of lunches out and laughing at each other in the gym as we desperately fight to make the middle age spread go away! We will always hopefully be as crazy as we were at school. We might be in our 40's but that doesn't stop us dancing like we were still 18 and drinking enough cocktails to put the Sex and The City girls to shame. It seems that our brains haven't quite worked out that we are suppose to be grown ups by this age. That, for us, does simply not compute! Who in their right mind wants to be a grown up? Not us, that's for sure! So, if on a night out you see a group of six friends sitting in a corner giggling until one of us wee's our pants a little (probably me) or we're pretending to be one of the kids from Fame (all of us but always me), then come over and say hello! Deep inside of all of us is a character from Sex and The City but we'll always have either a baby wipe, dummy, bits of Lego or tissue in our handbag alongside our pillar box red lippy and spare Superwoman knickers! Well, you never know what little adventure might come along!