I miss girlfriends.

This is just a partial list of the gals in my life I wish I had time for: Susan, Jen, Jamie, Jamie, Gretchen, Rebecca, Violet, Megan, Brenda, Mia, Judy, Mindy, Lisa, Stacey, Janis, Marina, Alex, Karen, Teddy, Deb, Allyson, Jessica, Diana, Diane, Diane, Jane, Veronica, Anne, Lori, Amy, Debbie, Claudia, Dorian, Ellen, Jan, Jill, Kathy, Maggie, Noelle, Sara, Susan, Lourdes, Cindy, Julie, Tori, Pam, Margaret, Rhonda, Sandy, Andrea, Cari, Barb, Yolanda, and Carol.

Complex and vibrant women, each I could talk to for hours.

And the list above is not just longtime good friends but also women I want to get to know more. Ones I admire. We "click," sharing professional challenges, or maybe just a similar sense of humor.

In my youth, oh my god but my girlfriends saved my life. In high school, college, in my twenties, my thirties, they listened, encouraged, held my hand through career hopes, dreams, choices and carnage, lost and found love, identity reinvention, helped me find a therapist, cheered and wept with me.

But now? How often do I get quality time with any of them? Maybe once a month. IF I squeeze and wiggle my schedule just so...

But I am now I am in the thick of being the sandwich generation.

  • Teenage kids needing more attention, not less. (And boy, is that a surprise. I thought baby-toddler was the most time-intensive patch but I find I'm back in the trenches. Not bandaging skinned knees but helping heal bruised feelings. Not guiding them away from bad traffic but away from bad choices. Discouraging negative self-talk but encouraging strong work ethic and self-discipline. Sometimes I use humor. Patience is highly recommended. So is a smart spouse. Tough love with a sprinkling of off-the-cuff, casually sly suggestions, nagging, it is like fencing with a very skilled advisory that you adore. And you both are doing this on a tightrope. Above a pit of snarling alligators. Only you are the only one who sees the danger. They just want to win against Mom who keeps poking them!)
  • Then there are the parents. Damn but getting old is hard! Limitations encroaching on personality. It is a very rocky path, climbing the final mountain. And while you know the summit is there, ahead of the ones you love, it is shrouded in mist. Arrival time uncertain. I don't know how to help besides being patient and listening.
  • Work. Satisfying but demanding.
  • Oh, yeah, and I should work some time in for the marriage. Probably a good idea to do that.
  • Then maybe I should work out once in a while...oh shit! I forgot to walk the dog! Will that count?
  • Sleep.
  • Prepare everyone healthy and savory meals...which the past few years has meant buying healthy and savory frozen dinners. (Editor's Note: Lean Cuisine Flatbread Sandwiches are awesome!)

But back to my long time girlfriends. Who I never seem to see. And the fabulous women I know and want to know better but they too get bumped down the totem pole. In the To-Do List, ageing parents, offspring, marriage, and work do often trump a casual, relaxed evening to catch-up.

Oh, shut up, you young gals! "I'll ALWAYS make time for my friends! How can you call yourself a feminist if you make other women a low priority? I would never do that!"

Bite me, kid. Right now your mother is taking your call when she could be having lunch with a girlfriend.

I want to say to myself, "There is time." But I've been around for a bit and I know one
can hope for more time...but don't count on it. Maybe there isn't. Making friends, keeping friends, tending and nurturing takes being present and there are only so many minutes in a day.

I want 36 hours in a day. Or an extra two days a month just to catch up with friends.

I do know it is not just me. I try to arrange time with friends and they are juggling the same issues. How many times do we schedule weeks in advance and the last 12 hours, "something" comes up?

So, Susan, Jen, Jamie, Jamie, Gretchen, Rebecca, Violet, Megan, Brenda, Mia, Judy, Mindy, Lisa, Stacey, Janis, Marina, Alex, Karen, Teddy, Deb, Allyson, Jessica, Diana, Diane, Diane, Jane, Veronica, Anne, Lori, Amy, Debbie, Claudia, Dorian, Ellen, Jan, Jill, Kathy, Maggie, Noelle, Sara, Susan, Lourdes, Cindy, Julie, Tori, Pam, Margaret, Rhonda, Sandy, Andrea, Cari, Barb, Yolanda, and Carol, let's all just keep trying.

Yup. That's all I got. Let's keep trying.