Mona GEORGE -Taouil

Reflecting on the beaches of Aruba

As I supervise the schoolyard and observe kids playing-some in groups, some in pairs, triads, and some alone too, I wonder many things, but I wonder specifically …who amongst these groups of friends will keep in touch with one another throughout their lives? Who will manage to hold on to first elementary friendships, and who will make new ones and at which point? Who amongst them realizes the people they are playing a simple game of tag with now, may in fact, be their rock, their go-to support,  in life later on?

It causes me to reflect on my own path of friendships in my life. I’m fortunate (and I do consider it fortunate) to still maintain first friendships with girlfriends from my elementary school. One friend, in particular since the first day in SK. I came in crying. She was not. I think I was kinda jealolus she was not. She felt bad for me and let me play with her. We still lean on each other to this day when necessary. We don’t have to talk daily or see each other often, but when we do, our first connection from way back in Mrs P.’s SK class, keeps us close at heart, which is where it most matters.  I wish for this special connection for my own daughter and son and students.  I have other good solid friendships from grade school and honestly, I feel like these girls knew me when. Meaning, they knew the me that I was when I was born into this world, naturally; without the effects of life having changed me, before teenage growth and angst, before adulthood freedoms and burdens, and pre -working career successes and stresses, before having had children and dealing with adulting.

I wish for this special connection for my own daughter and sons and students.

The same can be said for friendships formed during high school. These friends and one in particular helps to keep me anchored today by reminding me of who I was to her, and for her, back then! It’s strange and a beautiful thing how at times others who are really close to you may know you better than you may even know yourself.  Especially at times when you feel you may be losing yourself.  Again, I consider my elementary and high school friendships a gift.  I don’t have a lot of friends in quantity, but for me a small group of quality humans are all the friends I need or want. Also, having grown up in a large ethnic family, my very first friends are and were my siblings and cousins anyway.  My siblings and cousins are family but yes also the bestest friends.  There is nothing like family,  but I know that when one is blessed with solid friendships, they too become family.  For me, making friendships isn’t the easiest thing. I may seem like I’m an extravert and enjoy being in the company of others, but there is also a larger side to me that prefers solitude too and reflects more of an introverted personality.  I really look forward to Netflix and my moo moo and blanket more and more now rather than a party or huge event!   I’m a blend of both and introvert and extravert.   I’m a mash up of personalities; I am a Gemini!  I am me.

There is nothing like family, but I know that when one is blessed with solid friendships, they too become family.

Truthfully, girlfriends are a gift to me now in my 40′ most especially. I find now at this point in life when our lives are most busy trying to make a life, we need our girlfriends to enjoy that journey with us!  A girl’s night dinner (and a glass of rosee!) to me, is the best kind of therapy. I work hard but laugh easily. I love to laugh more when friends are with me.

Of all my friendships from elementary to high school,  to friendships made during the course of my career and university life, these beautiful women all have one thing in common. They are grounded in their own goodness. They are good people.  And they support me in my own development and growth.  They support women in general. They are authentically happy and sad for me,  and for one another,  at all of our accomplishments and at our possible setbacks. If ever I suspected one was not, I don’t know that I could continue an authentic friendship with them.  I’m proud to say, my friends offer a great time, lots of support, laughs, and so much pride, and I hope, I really hope, I provide these same things for them.

For me personally, life in my 40’s is amazing and could be hard and super busy. It is a time to navigate through changes in my own self and body, and a time of growth into maturity and deeper love, with my husband and life partner. It is a time of absolute bewilderment and love and amazement at watching my babies of just yesterday, turn into adults before my eyes. It is a time of so much love and appreciation for my parents and their gift of birthing me into the most amazing family of deep love and laughter. It is a time of both exhaustion and exhilaration.  It is both euphoric and bittersweet. But,  it is that much more of everything and anything with the knowledge of having my best girls tribe at the tip of my texting finger.  I wish the same for all of you.

xo  Mona