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You’ve Been Initiated: The Sisterhood of Grown Women

Nuggets of wisdom can come from interesting places and random people that you wouldn’t normally expect sometimes.

If you’re smart, you’ll recognize the gems and you’ll perk your ears up and take notice.

A simple conversation with an older co-worker about her daughter in her 20s being held hostage as a maid of honor for a bride she isn’t that cool with anymore but bound by a promise made as teenagers, led to an insightful discussion about girlfriend breakups.

It’s no secret I’ve been going through changes with some of my former close girlfriends, so what my co-worker had to say was quite refreshing.

I joked her daughter was being initiated into womanhood, by having to come face-to-face with the reality that her relationship with this old friend will probably end or be totally different after the wedding. This is her last act of kindness and devotion as a BFF.

My co-worker laughed. She recalled the love and bitter ending of a dear friendship, and boy did it sound a lot like what I’d been going through. Very recently she saw this friend and decided to drop her a Christmas card. She didn’t want to be as close to the person anymore, but she wanted to at least leave a place for cordial exchange.

The friend saw her Christmas card and raised her a long letter, outlining all of her feelings she ever had toward my co-worker at the urging of her shrink.

My co-worker threw up her hands and gave up.

She refused to get back on that merry-go-round. She suggested that I don’t either, and that for every friend I’ve lost this year, just find some new ones.

I think I already have a great circle, although I am open to new folks to hang out with. I have noticed that I’m open to hanging out with friends that I don’t usually see much because they live in…Virginia (I hate driving to Virginia) because I have more time on my hands, and I really do want the good company.

I’ve also come to enjoy the company of older women who I consider friends and mentors and mother figures.

Not sure if I appreciate them more because of my own difficult relationship with my mom, or just because I love women, I love our collective strength and power mixed with our ability to nurture (when we aren’t acting stupid, emotional or selfish). They have a totally different take on the things you are going through in comparison to the girlfriends who are your age and just as clueless and frazzled as you are. I like having girlfriends in the trenches with me, but I can also appreciate the bird’s-eye view of my mentors in womanhood, because they are living proof I’ll come out on the other side a lot wiser.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve enjoyed lunches or dinners, or even sitting at their dining room tables discussing balancing life, work, family and men.

These older women tend to be excellent listeners. So much so, I’m scared I’ve talked too much and I’m rambling and seeming immature and silly in their eyes.

But when they speak, there is insight. There is sympathy, because they too have experienced what you are going through. They warn, and because they aren’t family, they tend not to be as judgemental. They even share and laugh about their own mistakes. They know you’ll make your own. They are honest and will reveal things about themselves in such an easy self-assured way.

Maybe that’s the reason I’m loving reading “The Legs Are Last to Go” by Diahann Carroll. It’s like sitting across a dining room table with one of the most fabulous women of all time. She’s got stories, she’s got issues and she’s so transparent about it.

I hope one day to be that kind of mentor to another young woman someday.

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