A Loving Valentine to my Sisters

Yesterday I fell in love with thirteen amazing women. Warrior goddesses from the activist hills and the valley of sand.

Insanely strong and brilliant - shining - horsewomen, writers, elk hunters, philanthropists, travelers, mothers, wives, story tellers, readers, healers, art appreciators and culture lovers. World changing, life giving, generous beyond compare.

Yes, shoe loving, hot flashing, chocolate munching women.

This particular group had gathered for a life long friend on her fiftieth birthday. And while we celebrated our hostess with poetry and song, she celebrated us back with the stories that brought us to her side.

Held together in this vortex of loving friendship, each of us was honored to be in attendance. What I'm thinking about today is the friendship of women and the change in mandates from our younger days.

Donning the mantle of crone hood or "she-who-ensures-the-future", we accept a new assignment.  But we bring along our posse to help us do the job.

It made me think about the women in each of our inner circles and why the demarcation of fifty is so important. Our biology in a state of transition (some would quip complete meltdown), it may simply be that our priorities and energies are shifting to ensure that the world survives. And this sisterhood of women carries us forward.

Having reached a vista of self acceptance, at fifty we are more comfortable with who we are. The arc of personal triumph dimming, mortal finish line in sight, we simultaneously look back with the desire for legacy and forward to the sustainability of our creations. Imagining the future world that others will celebrate, we see clearly how our choices creates the foundation for tomorrow.

We've mostly ensured that our children are fed and can express some degree of self sufficiency, attained a modicum of professional stature, successfully explored and expressed our sexual natures and finally softened into our true selves - deepening  to access the broader equation with an urge to serve a greater cause.

If we have somehow been paying attention to what really matters, we've built a strong network of loving women to share the journey.

Some from high school or college, the maiden years, who held back our hair when we had one too many shots or listened endlessly to the same songs that summer until we knew all the words by heart. The ones who were there for our first cars, apartments, affairs and novels. The line of demarcation for me is those women who knew my first husband.  We're talking thirty years ago.

He's long gone. My sisters are still here.

The mother years, when the children came and blotted out the sun in a flurry of diapers and play dates, school mates and soccer practices. We relive the first 20 years of our lives as they grow up under our feet and then fly away.

They're grown and living their lives. My sisters are still here.

Or when the children don't come. And fertility and identity and stories of progeny become a line of demarcation as our paths run parallel, not divergently. The women who car pooled, coffee klatched, power walked, trained for a marathon, passed the tissues at the movies, helped us pick a graduate school or a divorce attorney.

If we're lucky or kind or paying attention to what matters most. Approaching the last third of our lives with their hands to hold. Someone to attend the children's weddings, announcements of the grandchildren, celebrate the long awaited cruises, witness the unbearable loss of the only man who was there in the waiting room for the surgery and recovery.

The faces of the women who have loved you. Who are loving you today. Those shining, giving, laughing, crying, advice giving, hugging, scolding, coming to the party and then cleaning up the messes together, some day to be little old ladies side by side, girl friends.

If you think about it, these might be the last faces you'll see before you head off to your next assignment.

Probably should call today and send a loving thought. Yes, they're very busy saving the world for the next generation, but you can always leave a message.

A personal favorite of mine when the time comes around, maybe sing "Happy Birthday?"