10: A Cup of Friendship

10: A Cup of Friendship

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls

A Cup of Friendship

It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.

~Epicurus

The morning started with a bustle of lunches, shoe searches, backpack stuffing, and a swift run to two different bus stops. It was the first time both kids were in school every day, although the younger one only until 12:17 p.m. It was also the first school year of my pseudo single motherhood.

How does a person become a “pseudo” single parent? My husband had taken a job in a different state, two and a half hours from our home, in June of that year. It was unclear if this was going to be a long-term or short-term assignment. We decided as a couple that until it became more clear where this job was going, he would live away during the workweek and return on the weekends. Thus far, it had been a very long summer of entertaining and transporting our ten-year-old daughter and five-year-old son. The kids missed their dad during the week. They became annoyed with their nagging mother. It was not easy for my husband being away, but being the only parent five days a week was not exactly a walk in the park for me either. It was a challenging time for all of us.

The saving grace was that September was finally here. School was back in session. I would have from 8:30 a.m. until the kindergarten bus dropped my son off at 12:17 p.m. all to myself. Dizzy from the possibilities, and fully aware that general upkeep of the house needed to be factored in, I was pleased to have some “me time,” such a rare and valuable commodity.

The second Tuesday of the school year, my friend Julie, whom I had met in a mother’s group a few years prior, invited me to meet her for coffee. Julie had a regular standing coffee date with a group of women at a local coffee house. I had a list a mile long of things I needed to get done, but Julie said I would enjoy the break and the company. Since I was a free woman until 12:17 p.m., I agreed to meet for a quick cup of coffee. I figured it would be nice to talk with adults for a while, and the chance of them asking me to help them do math homework was pretty slim.

I arrived at the coffee house, parked, ordered my coffee, and joined the partially formed group of women at a large table. Julie said, “I think you have met some of these gals before.” Then introduced me to everyone with a quick biography.

What she did not mention was that this hour and a half every Tuesday was going to make a huge difference in my life. She never mentioned that each of these women seated around this table was going to touch my heart and become someone I couldn’t imagine not knowing or caring about. Coffee time is playfully described as “group therapy” by all of us. As a group, we have solved many of life’s problems. We have recommended doctors, plumbers, babysitters, and countless other services to each other. We have laughed at the silliness of kids, spouses, boyfriends, parents, and pets. We have cried, in public mind you, over heartbreak and other life events. We have also laughed so obnoxiously loud that the rest of the patrons in the coffee house have gone silent and stared.

Not since I was in college have I had such a wonderfully supportive group of friends. Somehow, after I got married, got a job, and had kids, in the hectic shuffle of juggling everything, I lost sight of the value of having girl friends. There was a void in my life that I was not fully aware of until I made time to connect with other women like me, over a cup of coffee. It is always good to know that Tuesday coffee is just a few days away to help get some input and perspective on life’s challenges.

The sincerity and honesty of my coffee ladies make them different from any female friends I have ever known. As a younger person, I was never secure enough to speak my mind. But through living and learning, I have found that true friendship is not based solely on good times, laughter, and making everyone feel good. True friendship is having someone to cry with, listen without judgment, offer wisdom, or just empathize when times get tough. It makes the good times even more joyful.

Sharing all of this over a simple cup of coffee is more precious than gold.

~Allison Potter

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