The little town with the lake house sits sandwiched between the suburbs where we all live and a resort town in the state next door. We are invited up for the day with our kids. No husbands, please. Our hostess tells me it’s a celebration of sorts to mark the culmination of that period between school ending and camp beginning. I call this period “purgatory,” as I’m not sure whether to relish or lament the lack of schedule. It depends on the day, the hour, the minute. But this day we’ve had on the calendar for a while, and I’ve been looking forward to spending time with some of my oldest and dearest friends.
My guess is in high school, some people saw us as a clique. We ate lunch together. We congregated together in that intimidating, insecure way teenagers congregate. We always ended up together on the weekends, even if we started the night separately. We took photographs together with our dates before school dances. For graduation, we organized a big dinner with our families; then stayed up all night, driving around, going to a diner, not wanting that time in our life to end.
Back in the days of pep rallies and proms, our group was almost double in size. During college and the years beyond, we morphed into the posse we are today. Most of us now live with our families in the area where we grew up. A couple of us live out of town. I wish there were more of us. Five and a half years ago, we lost our friend. We remember her always and feel her presence when we gather. She loved laughter, and so we continue to laugh together, even amidst the tears.
During this little day-cation at the lake, we’re laughing as we exchange stories on talking to our children about sex. We leave those children with babysitters, and steal a few minutes away for some girl time in the boat. We’re not gone long, but somehow we manage to cover a lot of ground. The conversation meanders from our desire to have a dinner party together, to what it means to be turning 40 this year, to Botox. It’s the kind of talk that is in some ways frivolous, in other ways profound. Because even when the subject at hand may not be layered, our relationships are rooted in such deep history, it’s almost impossible for anything we discuss to have just one meaning.
Lifelong friendships don’t come easily. There’s disagreements, hurt feelings, misunderstandings along the way. Like a good marriage, they take work. But in the end, the dividends are invaluable. There’s something about friendship at 40 that feels like a big exhale. Everyone is more comfortable in her own skin, and that translates to group dynamics being more relaxed, more open, more honest. Unlike in high school, when we had cliques within our clique, we are now one unit. As we enter this murky middle phase of life, we don’t know what lies ahead. But we do know we can count on each other.
No one today could look at us and think that we’re a clique.
Cliques fade. Our bond is everlasting.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “When It Comes to Cliques…” Hosted by: Kristi Campbell, at http://www.findingninee.com; and co-hosted this week by: Jill from http://rippedjeansandbifocals.com/ and Michelle from http://crumpetsandbollocks.com/