I wasn’t a Girl Scout growing up. My mom wouldn’t let me. Yet another example of my deprived childhood. That door had been closed by two of my older sisters. While away on a troop camping trip and desperate to come home (because they had been split up), they rolled in poison ivy. It worked; they were sent home and dismissed from the troop. There would be no more Girl Scouts in our home. Truthfully, I never really wanted to join, but even if I had, that’s the story I was told.
It wasn’t until my older daughter was in the 4th grade that I thought about the “opportunities” available through Girl Scouts. She joined, and her younger sister became a Brownie. I became a troop leader. Though short-lived, ours was a good experience. All two years of it. No poison ivy rolling, but then again, I was with C when she went to camp. One thing I did take away from our weekend camping trip was the “Friendship Song”–or whatever it’s called. It’s a song about friends, new friends and old friends. One is silver, the other is gold. Great lesson in that song–get out there and make new friends, but value those that are already dear. One I’ve tried to stress to my kids.
However, sometimes in the busyness of life, I can forget to do the same. I hold up in my little cocoon barely making time to pop out and visit with my Ya-Ya’s. Let’s face it, all relationships need nurturing to grow. Without attention, marriages grow stale, children get pissy, and friendships wither. But with only so many hours in a day, an invitation to coffee with a new friend is easily declined. And, declined invitations can mean missed opportunities for growth and laughter.
Growing friendships is much like dating. There are awkward moments and probing questions. There are bridges built and similarities and differences explored. This past month I’ve intentionally opened my schedule to add some silver to my collection of gold. It’s meant that I’ve had to shave time here and squeeze my schedule there. It’s meant that I’ve said no to some invitations and let go of other obligations. But, it’s also meant that I said “yes” to the invitations of 3 really neat women, giving me the chance to get to know each better: one I’ve known casually for 4 or 5 years, another I met through our town’s Japanese sister city/host family program, and the third I met just a few weeks ago when she gave a talk about “finding purpose.” I share commonalities with each, and each offers me unique gifts in who they are.
Additionally, through my month-long 2BloWriMo and my new Transitioning Mom Facebook page, I’ve gotten to know some of my fellow bloggers and “cyber-friends” even better, bonding over similar interests, frustrations, and offering mutual support in writing, motherhood, and life. When I started writing this blog, I never imagined the relationships I would make in the cyber-world. And, now they are as much a part of my treasure as the three new friends I sat with face-to-face in the last few weeks.
I believe the most magical aspect of friendship is that, with proper nurturing, silver turns to gold. A casual coffee chat often plants the seed that grows into the tree that offers me shelter during the storms, a place to play in the sun, and a safe place to store fears, tears, and laughter. It takes effort to make room for friendships, especially new friendships. Schedules often need to be tweaked and squeezed to meet all my current obligations, and I’m often too tired to put on my best “date face” to make a new friend. But, this past month I was reminded to always make room for more treasure in my life.
Are you making room to add some silver to your gold?
©2011 Mary Lanzavecchia/Transitioning Mom