I just got done reading The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. I loved this book. The friendships that the women were able to make starting on a park bench on Wednesday mornings while their kids played were truly remarkable. The book is set in the late 1960’s which offers a lot of perspective on how they were able to formulate these friendships.
They saw each other through births, miscarriages, deaths, infidelities, cancer…all the hardships we as women are faced with regularly. What tied these women together was their love for one another and their love for writing. I really enjoyed the book, but have some thoughts about it that have been bubbling around in my head. Before I spew my guts out, you have to promise not to feel sorry for me, judge me, or try to be my best friend. Deal? OK. Here goes:
The reason I am cynical about this book is that I just don’t think these types of friendships are possible anymore without a ton of work and effort. Things have changed, and part of the problem is that we are living in a very transient society. People come and people go in and out of our lives on a regular basis, with not many feeling settled in their homes or communities. We are either coming or going with no deep roots immersing us into a place for very long.
We have sealed up ourselves in our neat little houses in our neat little neighborhoods and close the door so no one ever comes in and no one ever goes out. There is one park in my community where I take the girls to play. There aren’t any benches. A lot of the moms sit in their cars on their cell phones while they watch their kids play.
When Belle and I play outside by our house on a school/work day, you can hear our voices echo in our street. It is so quiet, you can even hear the echo of the crickets chirping. I am the only mom on my block that stays home during the day, so there is literally no one around to spark a friendship with, let alone even have a conversation with. When the other moms on the block get home from working hard all day, they are tired and want to rest awhile before they have to do all the regular mom duties no one else did while they were working.
I don’t have a relative or sibling that lives close enough that I can just drop my kids off so I can go run an important errand, or just have a few hours to myself. I have to pay a babysitter almost every single time. I can’t go to church mid-week because all my babysitters are at church, and the mom’s in my network of friends are too tired from long days to take on 3 more kids.
I am not alone in all of this, I know. I don’t know many women who have it all figured out. The whole women/friendship thing has always baffled me. I just don’t see how women have the time or energy to pour into lifelong, deep, solid friendships. I think times have changed, and it is much harder to make friendships than it was 30 years ago. It’s not impossible, just a lot harder.