My all-time favorite sitcom is the Golden Girls. You had to basically live your entire life under a rock to have not at least heard of this television show. It is about the day-to-day lives of four senior aged women living in Miami in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Do not be fooled though; these seasoned ladies get into some predicaments and have some comebacks that will make you literally laugh out loud. Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia have kept me up and cackling past my bedtime many nights over the years. These ladies are hilarious, clever, entertaining, and spunky, but to me, one of the best takeaways from the show is their example of true, genuine friendship.
Wouldn’t we, as women and mamas, all be so lucky if we were to encounter these kinds of friendship in our life? I like to think I am one of the lucky ones who has. Especially now, I am so grateful for them.
You see, I am what you might call a “friend” girl. In fact, the movie 27 Dresses could have starred little ol’ me as I’ve been in so many friends’ weddings or have had the honor of being a part of other special moments in their lives. These instances give me joy since I have always valued meaningful connections with like-minded women. Because of this, I have made some lasting friendships that I treasure very much. Different friends have filled different needs, but one thing is for sure: getting to experience life together has been the most special part.
In the scope of my friends, and keeping the Golden Girls in mind, I am reminded of how their various personalities have played a part in what their friendship means to me. When I think of my “Blanche” friends, I think of a couple of ladies who always encourage me to be fearless in the pursuit of what makes my soul happy. Blanche is confident and feminine, and like her, these friends are my cheerleaders, my encouragers, the ones who push me to do it even if the “it” terrifies me.
When I am second guessing myself and the weight of motherhood starts to weigh me down, these are the friends who constantly tell me that I am equipped with everything I need to raise the little boys that have been entrusted to me. They are the kind of friends who remind me that though I am a mother, I am a woman first. We have spent many times looking at old pictures and reminiscing about miniskirts, high heels, big hair, and how we used to strut our stuff before the leggings, bun hair, and diaper bags took over. I love that these friends are the ones who do not let me forget who I am or what I am capable of in all aspects. They encourage me to take time for self-care, for pampering, for romance, for me. They are my fight and my boldness, my spice and my fun.
My “Rose” friend is a good girlfriend I have known since college. She, like the character, is silly, random, lighthearted, free spirited and just a good person. However, unlike the character, this particular friend is not a mother, so her friendship gives me honesty from a perspective that is nothing like my own these days. With her, everything does not have to be about motherhood, so being able to have adult conversations that do not focus on diaper changes, bath time, or potty training can be quite refreshing. She is literal, supportive, has her stuff together, and a realist. This friend is slow and steady. She is a constant in my life, a much needed deep belly laugh, an inappropriate joke, and a sweet reminder of the lady I was before I become the woman I am.
Then there are my three “tried and trues,” my soul sisters, my “all-in-ones,” my dearest girlfriends. These are my “Dorothies” and at this season of my life, their friendship has been the solution to so many questions these days. We have gotten to experience so much life together: being carefree young women, experiencing heartbreak, coming into adulthood, graduating college, starting careers, relocations, job losses, engagements, weddings, promotions, entering motherhood, caring for sick parents, the loss of a parent and so many more of the other up and downs life entails. There is nothing like being able to be your authentic self without fear of judgment or negativity. These ladies let me vent, give sound advice, pray for me, tell me when I am wrong, and love my family like their own. I love that because our lives reflect each other right now, they know the struggles of trying to be a good wife, mama, and career woman. It can be extremely challenging excelling in all of these areas simultaneously, and it does my heart good to know that on those days when I am about to completely lose my marbles, they encourage and remind me of ways to keep it together. Right now, at this exact moment in life, particularly in 2020, my Dorothy friends are my most cherished.
Finally, on the sitcom, Sophia is Dorothy’s mom and her best friend, just how in my life, my mom is mine. She is my “Sophia.” We have always had a very close relationship, but I think the bond that develops between an adult daughter and her mother when she becomes a mom herself, is one of the most special bonds out there. In my experience, I think this is because when you become a mom yourself, you finally begin to understand the depths of your own mother’s love for you. Your relationship starts to evolve as you begin sharing encounters of motherhood. Though she is your mom and you look to her for guidance, she is also now your friend who you look to for a listening ear and companionship. With my mom, I can count on her to be completely honest with me; whether I am right or wrong, she is a helper, she is accepting, and most importantly she is always there. Her presence alone is therapeutic. There are times when she will call me and know, by the sound of my voice, that something is not right. The bond between a mother and child is so sacred, and for us, time has only strengthened this. I am so grateful for the best friend I have in my mom.
My core group of friends bring me so much joy, and while my family is everything, it is nice knowing my friends are also there. These are the ladies who have known me since I was beginning to know myself. They know me in all aspects: Amanda the mommy and Amanda the woman. The role they play in my life is immeasurable and I look forward to more memories being made as we become our own version of the Golden Girls.
Whether your best friends are from childhood, they are your constant friends or those you do not talk to for months, but pick right up where you left off, if they are your praying friends, your brutally honest friends, your inside joke having friends, your work friends, travel friends, brunch friends, church choir friends, more like family friends, new friends, or old friends, I encourage you to make sure they are your appreciated friends. A simple phone call, text, or visit can go a long way, especially when your friend is having a bad day and struggling through an issue, like so many of us have during this trying year. Just knowing someone is there and concerned with the needs of you and your family can mean so much. I know this has been the case in my life because “great friends make good times better and hard times easier.”