Lisa Gioia-Acres

And the Honor Goes to My Girlfriends

Women who love women are so lucky.  I don’t mean “love” in the sexual sense,not that there’s anything wrong with that (anyone watch Seinfeld?); it’s just what I mean is women that love and appreciate other woman for their friendship and female qualities are the luckiest people on the planet.  This isn’t starting out the way I want it to.  Perhaps if I begin by sharing why I’ve come to this way of thinking I can express myself better.

I just had a nearly 3-hour lunch with a new friend, Barbara.  Barb and I met a few months back at a dinner but didn’t get to know one another one-on-one until another, more casual get-together.  After that evening, we began to email one another and share websites and ideas.  Soon a lunch was planned.  As expected, both of us talked the other’s ear off and we found we had so many wonderful things in common.  I can’t wait for another opportunity to chit-chat with Barb and get to know her even better.

This was not the first time I’ve been blessed with finding a new friend I can talk and laugh with.  I have been so lucky to have had a lifetime of bonding with females.

It just happens, too, when you least expect it.  Linda has become a very close and dear friend, and we just happened to meet a year ago.  She sat next to me during my first attendance at a local writer’s group meeting and the connection was immediate.  We found so many things in common during that short introduction and much, much more when we met over beers and wings not long after. 

Everywhere I go, no matter what the circumstances, venue, or moment in my life, I have bonded with women that have become lifelong friends I would do anything for.

There’s Nancy, who sat next to me in 4th grade and didn’t judge my inability to get the math lessons, but helped me with my homework.  She has been by my side for every major event, crisis, and turning point – everyone should be so lucky to have someone like that in their lives.

Kathy, my former sister-in-law whom I asked if I could call just “sister” has been a part of my family since before I started my own; our kids grew up together.

Sue is my international friend, married to that big lug, Joe who is like another one of my brothers.  Sue and I love to share tea, wine, or spiked coffee together, even if it is only in spirit.

There was Nancy Naples, who was my best friend in junior high when I was in major geek phase, who lovingly called me “Streisand Nose” and who died just out of high school, giving me my first real experience in grief and loss.

Patty, who went through the Exotic Animal Training and Management program with me, who had babies along with me and whose philosophy in life has taught me so much.

Celeste, my sister animal lover whose first meeting with me was when she peered through the window of our yet-to-be-opened pet store; from that first introduction we have laughed, cried, and said goodbye to animals too numerous to mention, and become grandmas together.

Sweet Angela, my twenty-something girlfriend who I am so proud to call friend, even if I’m the same age as her mom (and she my own daughters)!  Why she wants to spend time with me is a mystery, but I am glad she does.

When, at the age of 47 years old I spent time as an archaeologist with women 15 years my junior whose physical stamina far outshined me, I realized that friendship knows no age.  I was accepted and encouraged into this elite club, even after hours where we socialized on a more even playing field.  I’ll never forget Steph saying to me after my first week in the rugged mountains, “I just want you to know that you kicked ass up there.”  Yep, women supporting women, nothing better than that.

I could never forget Diane, Laural, Lori, June, Chris, Amy, Maryann, and all those other friends from high school who I missed so much after we walked across that graduation stage.  It took me about 10 years before I could honestly say I was over that time in my life.  Thank goodness for Facebook because I am in touch with many of those wonderful women now, almost 35 years later and when each of us is facing the perils and trials of middle age and menopause.  Some, I am sad to say have already left this world but never my heart.

I know there are so many more women I could mention.  Some I have lost contact with and no amount of Googleing is getting me closer to finding them.  Some I haven’t spoken to in years.  But the foundation we once laid is strong and binding as evidenced by the time I contacted Cyndi after 9 years.  When we finally got the chance to see one another again, it was like no time had passed whatsoever – and no judgments made on one another for the long absence.

That’s what I’m talking about – female friendship is long-lasting and powerful.

I told my daughters that they must always forge and nurture their female relationships, that the women in their lives would save them time and time again.  I know they have done that for me.

I honor the women in my life.  I thank them for their unconditional love, their loyal friendship, their advice both harsh and understanding, their laughs and hugs, and especially for their individuality.  I have learned and gained something from each and every one of them.

I can’t wait to meet the newest friend; she is probably right around the corner.

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