Even if you didn't grow up with a sister, becoming a mom makes you part of a sisterhood. Sure, your women friends (sometimes other moms, but not always) may be there for good company, brightening your day or making an excursion with the kids more enjoyable — but having children also makes you appreciate them as someone to count on.
Who else will show up in the hospital as one of your first visitors when you've just had a baby, bringing a cute outfit and a willing ear to share your war story?
Or when your spouse is away on a business trip, and you're in the house with a sick child, who makes you sleep better simply by knowing that you can call them anytime in an emergency?
Who do you call first when you suspect your footloose toddler ran out of the house while you were in the bathroom, and is lost in a neighborhood filled with swimming pools and busy streets?
And that same person doesn't make you feel like an idiot when you find the kid hiding under his brother's bed, afraid to come out because he's been under there methodically breaking his brother's crayons. (Something he's been sternly warned before that he shouldn't do.)
In the case of a real problem, you'll find that the women who you've thought of primarily as mom-friends or good-time pals are really smart, and will use that intelligence on your behalf. You'll listen to the advice of people who have had other lives as business people, attorneys, nurses, artists, decorators...the list goes on.
And best of all, they hand out that advice with compassion and empathy, and don't treat you like you're crazy or foolish.
Hopefully, you like to feel you are paying back when you listen to and "counsel" (yes, and for no hourly fee!) a good friend who can tell your her out-there thoughts. And then tactfully forget that certain things were ever said, as they do with you.
And whose children did you love to babysit?
Some friends go way and above the call of duty, and you never forget. My older son was a preemie, rushed to a neonatal intensive care unit in Manhattan. My longtime friend from Roxbury drove up to where I was living in Orange County, N.Y., down to Cornell Medical Center, and then back to western Morris County. But first she spent hours sitting with me while I tried to get a sleepy five-pounder to drink sufficient liquid. That must have been as exciting as watching paint dry!
What special moments have you shared with your women friends? What has made you really thankful to have them in your life?
One of our bloggers, Jodi Ciampa, wrote last week about the different types of friends that we have in our lives.
What are some of the types of friends you've relied on — and have shared laughs and tears with?
This is one of our weeks to celebrate so many of you.
Please join the conversation and let us know what you're thinking in the comments section.