To All My Girl friends A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting her Mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, about the responsibilities of life and the obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter. Don't forget your girlfriends," she advised, swirling the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass. "They'll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you'll have, you are still going to need girlfriends. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them. And remember that "girlfriends" are not only your friends, but your sisters, your daughters, and other relatives too. You'll need other women. Women always do. What a funny piece of advice,' the young woman thought. 'Haven't I just gotten married? Haven't I just joined the couple-world? I'm now a married woman, for goodness sake, a grownup, not a young girl who needs girlfriends! Surely my husband and the family we'll start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!' But she listened to her Mother; she kept contact with her girlfriends and made more each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her Mom really knew what she was talking about. As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, girlfriends are the mainstays of her life. After 50 years of living in this world, here is what I know about girlfriends: Girlfriends bring you chicken curry when you need help. Girlfriends keep your children and keep your secrets. Girlfriends give advice when you ask for it. Sometimes you take it, sometimes you don't. Girlfriends don't always tell you that you're right, but they're usually honest. Girlfriends still love you, even when they don't agree with your choices. Girlfriends laugh with you, and you don't need canned jokes to start the laughter. Girlfriends pull you out of jams. Girlfriends help you get out of bad relationships. Girlfriends help you look for a new apartment, help you pack, and help you move. Girlfriends will give a party for your son or daughter when they get married or have a baby, in whichever order that comes! Girlfriends are there for you, in an instant and when the hard times come. Girlfriends listen when you lose a job or a friend. Girlfriends listen when your children break your heart. Girlfriends listen when your parents' minds and bodies fail. Girlfriends support you when the men in your life let you down. Girlfriends help you pick up the pieces when men pack up and go. Girlfriends rejoice at what makes you happy, and are ready to go out and kill what makes you unhappy. Times passes. Life happens. Distance separates. Children grow up. Love waxes and wanes. Hearts break. Careers end. Jobs come and go. Parents die. Colleagues forget favours. Men don't call when they say they will. BUT girlfriends are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girlfriend is never farther away than needing her can reach. Pass this on to all the women who help to make your life work.