It’s 9:42 p.m. and I just got home from an enjoyable girls night out.
Girls night out it is defined as “a gender-exclusive activity where adult women–rather than underage girls–meet to engage in social activities, usually after a workday.” (Wikipedia.org)
Yep, it was definitely a girls night out this evening. I guess I decided to look it up because I typically think of young women dancing away the night at a club somewhere. When I hear “girls night out,” I first think young women. But, Wikipedia tells me it is exclusive to gender, not age.
Age brings wisdom, and wisdom changes perspective and practice. These days, a girls night out consists of quieter evenings, filled with meaningful conversation with people who are important to me. Tonight my night out was impromptu and wonderful. I got to spend time with one of my oldest and dearest friends, a friend who feels more like a sister.
Ginny and I have a long history. When we were school-aged girls, our mothers were in the school’s “Mothers’ Club” together. Our mothers became friends, first as club members and later as wives. My mom and dad’s closest friends were Ginny’s mom and dad. They stayed close for the rest of their lives. They are all gone now. I hope they are all together again.
Ginny is a year younger than I, but we’ve always been close. I spent hours upon hours at Ginny’s house. I loved being there. My dad was a grocer who owned his own store. Our family activities didn’t follow the typical fifties format. Ginny’s dad had an “office” job. He wore suits to work. The B’s had dinner every night as a family at the traditional dinner hour. Whenever I was at Ginny’s house during dinner time, it felt like I stepped onto the set of “The Donna Reed Show.” I loved it. It wasn’t that I didn’t love my life. It was more the romantic notion of it all. It was different. I liked different — in fact, I still do.
Ginny and I have lived many of the same experiences. Our first paying jobs were for the same employer, a small family-owned bakery. We married young. We divorced young. We remarried, me first and Ginny some years later. We both gave birth to sons. We share our Italian heritage. That means, we love our sons the way you might expect based on the stereotype you may have heard. We believe family is first, always.
Ginny lost her father at a young age to cancer; I lost my father at a young age to a massive coronary. We grew closer to our mothers as we watched them live as widows, never the same after losing the men they loved from the time they were young adults. When the needs of their aging illnesses demanded it, we were the caregivers for our mothers. We stayed by our mothers until the end. We mourned together, first Ginny and then me, when our moms were finally released from the ravages of their respective diseases.
There have been years when we haven’t spent much time together. Months and months can pass, but once we are together, it’s like we were never apart. Over the last few years, Ginny and I have become close again. It’s like when we were kids, except we are closer now than ever. We have traditions. We’ve traveled to New York City at Christmas time, a trip we’ve come to love. This year we didn’t go and we were disappointed. Tonight we talked about taking our annual New York trip some time this summer to visit Ellis Island and other sites we haven’t experienced together.
Our girls night out this evening was simple but fun. I was going to be in her neck of the woods to attend a home jewelry party. Late this morning I texted her to see if she wanted to join me for dinner and then go with me to the party. Lucky for me, she was available. I hadn’t seen her in over a month. It was good being together again. She brought me some home-made soup. I showed her the most recent pictures of my grandchildren. We laughed together over our dinner. We always find some way to reminisce and tonight was no exception. Later, we joined several other women who were guests at the jewelry party. We laughed some more. We had punch and a few snacks.
After the party, I drove Ginny back to her car. We said our goodbyes and talked about our upcoming plans. Hopefully we will be together again soon. In any case, our next planned visit is on Good Friday. Ginny will join my sister, Donna, and me at my house. We’ll spend the day making traditional Italian cheese pies for Easter. We’ll laugh again and share memories again. It will be wonderful. It always is.