Young & newly married, I relaxed under a pecan tree on a hot Texas summer day, drinking iced tea & getting to know my new sister-in-law, Estelle. Not much older than I, but already the mother of three, Estelle seemed to be experienced & wise.

"Get yourself some girlfriends," she advised, clinking the ice cubes in her glass. "You are going to need girlfriends. Go places w/ them, do things with them."

What a funny piece of advice, I thought. Hadn't I just gotten married? Hadn't I just joined the couple-world? I was a married woman, for goodness sake, not a young girl who needed girlfriends. But I listened to this new sister-in-law. I got myself some girlfriends. As the years tumbled by, one after another, gradually I came to understand that Estelle knew what she was talking about.

Here is what I now know about girlfriends:
Girlfriends bring casseroles & scrub your bathroom when you are sick.
Girlfriends keep your children & keep your secrets.
Girlfriends give advice when you ask for it. Sometimes you take it, sometimes you don't.
Girlfriends don't always tell you that you're right, but they're usually honest.
Girlfriends still love you, even when they don't agree with your choices.
Girlfriends might send you a birthday card, but they might not. It does not matter.
Girlfriends laugh w/ you, & you don't need canned jokes to start the laughter.
Girlfriends pull you out of jams.
Girlfriends don't keep a calendar that lets them know who hosted the other last.
Girlfriends are there for you, in an instant and truly, when the hard times come.
Girlfriends listen when you lose a job or a husband.
Girlfriends listen when your children break your heart.
Girlfriends listen when your parents' minds & bodies fail.
Girlfriends bless our lives. Once we were young, with no idea of the
incredible joys or the incredible sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know
how much we would need each other. Get yourself some girlfriends. You are
going to need them.





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