I used to be so close to all my girlfriends. We’d talk every day, hang out several times a week or at least every weekend.
But now we’re all so busy. And most of them have gone to marry and start families. Then there’s conflicting work schedules, and of course distance too. We still care about each other, but just can’t keep up with the details the way we did as younger women.
And although I miss that closeness, my life has changed to replace it with something even more precious: a better relationship with my step-mother.
I find myself calling my girlfriends less often, and turning step-mother instead. And I’m never disappointed.
She used to be the last person I’d ask for advice. I didn’t think she understood me– and for many years, she didn’t. But I have to give her this: she is an excellent listener. And so logical, so good at organizing and knowing how to use space more efficiently. This year in particular, we’ve gotten much more close. I feel that I can tell her anything, because I know she’ll keep my secrets. And if she sees someone who has treated me badly, or who ins’t my friend anymore, she treats them like she would anyone else– because she has class. She’s not gossipy. She always looks put-together and had an impressive professional career. She is thoughtful, great at giving gifts. She keeps in touch with our family– remembers to send cards, makes regular phone calls and visits.
Her Catholic faith, her Italian/Irish family, and an impeccable work ethic are the bedrock of her life. She’s worked largely as a mangaer and executive in her professional life, because she’s diplomatic enough to get along with all kinds of people. She isn’t effusive with praise– but it’s always sincere when she gives it. She does not flatter. Her way of showing love is more quiet. She’s very generous with her time, and performs acts of service without expecting praise and without an agenda. She gives to other people because she believes it’s the right thing to do, and that’s how she communicates her appreciation and love. She’s modest, conservative– a lady. She has strong opinions, and doesn’t apologize for who she is. But when she does apologize, it’s always from the heart.
I’m more creative and organizing doesn’t come naturally to me– I have to work at it. But she accepts me as I am, and tells me all the time about the positives of any difficult situation I might be going through. She is a very calm, patient woman. And being around her more, turning to her for advice more often, I find that her demeanor is changing me as well.
I’m calmer. I’m more confident. More logical. Things don’t bother me the way they did when I was younger. I ignore negativity and let go of people who don’t appreciate me easier. She helps me to realize that I’m more capable than I give myself credit for– and that she doesn’t expect me to be exactly like her. That she’s proud of me for who I am, right now. I’m so lucky that she’s not one of those mothers who pressures her daughter to get married, to have children. She doesn’t. She just wants me to be happy, and she supports the choices I make– although she is honest if she thinks I’m being foolish. And I appreciate her for that, too.
My step-mother Diane is a wonderful role model as woman. She’s getting older, and that worries me. Luckily, she takes great care of herself.
I hope she’s with me a long time, because she’s becoming my best friend.