Saturday, February 28, 2009

Girlfriends We Need

by Suzanne Welsh
There's an e-mail that's been passed around for years that I periodically receive. It talks about the girlfriends we have in our lives and how they serve to help us through different stages and problems we encounter along life's journey. Every time this pops up in my e-mail, (often from my mom or one of those girlfriends), it always makes me smile, get a little teary-eyed and think of those women who have come to mean so much to me.

So, here's my list of women:

1) My mom. Yep, she's one special lady and I'm lucky enough to still have her in my life to talk, laugh and cry with. She taught me to read, to love books and wasn't the least surprised when I called long distance to say , "Hey, guess what? I'm writing a romance novel." Her reply? "I was wondering when you were going to do that." My mom has woo-woo's really kind of freaky. One of my kids will do something bad or dangerous or life altering...Poof Mom calls to say, "Is so-and-so okay? They've been on my mind all day." I won a writing contest. Poof, Mom calls and says, "Is something going on with your writing? It's been on my mind all week."

Mom is also a nurse. She's one of the two reasons I became one. The other was watching Hot-Lips Hoolihan pass instruments during surgery on M*A*S*H. I wanted to be that smart, confident, efficient and still compassionate person. The bonus? When the bad stuff hits the fan, I can always call and chat with mom about patients, doctors, ugly stuff. She understands. (Yep that's me, ready to go do surgery, just like Mom.)

2) My sister, Sam. Many of you may have several sisters, some none. But I was blessed with a younger sister who has the wickedest sense of humor and isn't afraid to say what she thinks. On top of that, she gets my mushy side and loves my kids. Cynical at times, irreverent at most, she was the person who taught my son to fish, play pranks on his sisters and sing to AC/DC songs as if every seven year old should know the lyrics! We've fought, laughed, cried and hugged through good times and bad.

3) My friend Marion. Hey Marion!! Waiving madly in case she's reading this. We met in first grade, but became really good friends in middle school. This was the friend I first talked about boys with. (I still talk about MEN with my friends, but she was the first.) She knew my crushes all through those teen years. We cruised High street together oogling all the OSU boys partying on a Friday or Saturday night. We learned to do all the cool dances in her bedroom before she forced me to watch horror movies. We've gone through weddings, babies, grandbabies, and family loss together. I know her strength, her heart...and we know all the blackmail stories about each other!

4) Nursing friends. This is a BIGGGGGGGG group, since I've been a nurse for nearly 30 years in 7 hospitals in 3 states. These are the women who've been in the trenches on busy nights, held me while I cried to release adrenaline in the cluster**** that just happened or the death of a baby. These are the women who get what it's like to eat chinese stirfry out of an emesis basin and think it's normal. They can laugh at raunchy jokes or find humor in the odd things humans will do to themselves at any given day or night. (Please ask me in a bar about the lady and the snuff!)

5) The Writer Foxes. These are my Texas writing friends. My CPs and those women who understand my passion for writing. These are those ladies I can get drunk with and they may not stop me from acting a fool...(Sandy Blair) but laugh with me later about it. They push me, teach me, support me. They are my sanity!

6) My daughters. Two totally different women I've been lucky to raise, know and love. I see in them the hope of the future. I've been priveledged to watch them find the loves of their lives. Artists and singers, they're talent always amazes me. They're book lovers, like their mama, grandmama, great grandmama! I couldn't be prouder of either of them!

7) And finally, The Romance Bandits. How does one say to 19 friends scattered all over the world in four countries and three continents how much they've come to mean to me? When we got together last July, it was like being with my sisters, only I didn't have to fight with any of them! We laughed like we'd been friends all our lives. These are friends I plan to have the rest of my life!

So, who are the girlfriends in your lives?


Helen said...

Is he coming back to my place

Have Fun

Tawny said...

Awww, Suz, what a beautiful post. I love it. And I totally agree. Girlfriends are the best. I don't know where I'd be without mine, including the amazing and wonderful Bandits.

Helen, happy Saturday with that rascally bird - I hope you both stay out of trouble.

Helen said...

What a beautiful post I have so many girlfriends my mother and I were so close and loved reading and discussing the romance books we had read and I do miss her so much.
I have 3 wonderful sisters that I am also very close to we have had our disagreements over the years and one lives in another state and the other 2 live about 90 mins drive away and of course I have my 3 daughters and a wonderful DIL I am very proud of my kids and very close to them.
I have wonderful girlfriends at work that I am very close to and no one understands my job like they do. Then there is my girlfriend Barbara who is a neighbour but the best friend anyone could have we have been neighbours for about 30 years now and are always there for each other.
Yes and I have lots of on line friends that I love to keep in touch with and the Romance Bandits are the best on line friends I have thank you all so much you make my days with the posts and all the fun that is had here.

The GR and I are going to have a relaxing day reading I have 3 more days off work before I need to go back YUK

Have Fun

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey, I had NO IDEA I was so close to getting the GR! Of course, there's no separating him from his 2 true loves, Helen and TimTams. :-)

Thanx for such a wonderful post, Suz! You are indeed blessed to have your Mom still around, and lucky to have 2 lovely daughters too.

Like you and Tawny, I would never make it without my girlfriends! This DEFINITELY includes all the Banditas and our BBs! All y'all are a bright spot in my day, no matter what!


limecello said...

What a great post, Suzanne! Loved it - and I definitely thing its important to have a network/social web of female friends.

Congrats on the GR, Helen! Have fun with him :)

limecello said...

... ok so it may be because I haven't slept in about 72 hrs (more? ... not less) - but haha #3 - am I reading that right? High Street? OSU? Am I thinking the right place? Brutus et al?

Treethyme said...

This is a great post. My mom and I get along much better at a distance than up close, but I've always been really close with my sisters.

As we got older, one of the sisters had three kids and the other didn't have any. Just because we have so much more in common, plus I see her more often because she lives with my parents, I've gotten closer to one sister than the other. On the surface, I don't have much in common with the other sister, but whenever we get together we have a great time. I wish both of my sisters lived closer to me.

I have old friends, new friends, and friends all across the globe. Some of my special friends are my kids' friends, and their former girlfriends and former sort-of-boyfriends. Weird how that works.

I'm very close with my nieces, especially the three in the Chicago area. I talk to my fourth niece online, but don't get to see her often since she lives in Albuquerque. And I barely know my one nephew, because he's also in ABQ and isn't much for talking on the phone or online.

I have a lot of wonderful friends in the writing community, who help me survive the life of a struggling, still-learning fiction writer wanna-be. I'm thankful for those friends every day.

But, without a doubt, the woman I'm closest to is my daughter, Jessica. She's more like my husband than me in personality, but I love her to pieces, despite our differences (maybe because of them). I'm just as close to my son, but in a different way. I regret that my daughter never got to have a sister, but her cousins do a good job of filling that niche.

Since neither my husband or I were really close with our mothers, I'm especially glad that we have such a great relationship with our kids. Maybe it's a sign of the times, though. The generation gap doesn't seem to be as big as it used to be.

Jane said...

Lovely post, Suzanne. I can't live without my girlfriends. I don't have any sisters, but my cousin is like an older sister to me. She introduced me to make-up and fashion. One good friend I met at a previous job moved to another state over a year ago. I only get to see her about once a year, but we talk on the phone almost daily. We still gossip about our old coworkers and chat about clothes and celebrities.

Congrats on the GR, Helen.

jo robertson said...

Yay, Helen, he IS coming back to your place. Good on him!

What a beautiful post, Suzanne. Having strong, wonderful women in our lives is truly one of the greatest blessings women share.

The older I get the more I realize and appreciate how much like my Mom I am.

And of course my daughters are really my best friends; they're amazing, talented women.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Congrats on capturing that naughty bird, Helen!

The post decided to publish before I got all the fun pictures added.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Morning, Tawny!

And the Bandits wouldn't be the same without every member, would it?

Do you think guys ever understand the bond between women friends?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Helen, your friends and family sound lovely. My mom and I still talk about romance books and often trade them.

Isn't amazing how we have family girl friends and then girl friends in all the different parts of our lives?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey, AC!

Yeah, I know how lucky I am to have my mom still around. Do you know she reads our blog? She doesn't ever comment, but she reads it a lot!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Suz said: "Do you think guys ever understand the bond between women friends?"

Nope. No way. EVAH! They are clueless. It's sad really, but my girlfriends and I laff about them a lot! :-P


Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Limecello!

Oh yes...High Street in Columbus on a Saturday night in the 70's was the place to be!! OH-IO

Annie West said...

Suz, nice post. Girlfriends are special aren't they? I've got the divine Anna C, plus my mum and daughter and, you know, most of my best girlfriends now are other romance readers and writers like Christine Wells and Michelle Douglas and my fabbo local writing bunch - The Valley Girls.

Recently I caught up with a girlfriend from university. We'd only seen each other 3 times since then and still it was as if we'd never been apart. I have a few very special friends like that and they warm my heart whenever I see or think of them.

And Helen, if you're still there - it was just FANTASTIC seeing you in Melbourne at the writers' convention last week. Now you really are someone who makes me feel great whenever we meet!


Helen said...

I am still here my computer and phone line are down thank heavens my daughter has a laptop so I can get on here.

Thank you so much Annie the weekend was fantastic wasn't it I am still on a high it was awesome and I did get the books to read for the Ruby award they arrived yesterday and I have read 2 already great stories.

Have Fun

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

The only one I have is Barbara, Mom is gone and I had no sibs. I guess you could say I wasn't much of a mixer.
I do have the Banditas though, and the Goddesses.

Suzanne Welsh said...


The world does seem to be shrinking, doesn't it? I never would've thought I'd have so many friends spread out so far and wide.

One of the sparks for writing this post is that thanks to Facebook, I've had contact with nursing school friends I haven't talked to in over 20years and a few nurses I worked with back in the 80's!

And you are blessed with having a good relationship with your kids, especially your daughter!! Those are the kinds of connections we pass on to the next generation.

Joan said...

Ok, sniff......didn't expect to tear up on a Saturday morning.

Beautiful post Suz.

Yup, it brought memories of my Mom who is in heaven but is always in my heart. We were alike in many ways...passionate+strong willed+determined+loyal= us. I've been missing her a lot lately, just someone who totally GOT me and knew how to listen and what to say.

She still does on a different level but man, to be able to touch her just one more time.

Ok, my BFF Mary. Friends since Sister Eugenia in 6th grade (Sister Eugenia would bond ANYONE). She makes me laugh, she cares about me, she shared her children with me a fact that I gave tribute to during the toast at her daughter's wedding. "What greater gift can one woman give to another than to share the lives of her children?"

Which leads to "the children" specifically daughter Lauren. Man, what a marvelous, wonderful, bright, loving, great girl!

Nursing friends. You almost have to bond with these fabulous ladies (and occasional guys) because you're in the trenches day in and day out with them. We may not eat chinese out of an emesis basin but we get "Code Browns"

Then my CP's of course, three ladies who also "get" my writer self.

And the Banditas. It is a blessing nay a phenomena that we....scattered as we are (sometimes in more ways than one
:-) are SO bonded. Personally, I think there should be scientific research into it.....

Nah, just let the rest of the world sit back in wonder :-)

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Jane!

Glad you have such a good mentor/friend in your cousin.

I had tons of cousins. (Okay, my dad is one of 18 and my mom one 10. I once counted 55 first cousins.) And I did have one I liked the best. Her name was Judy. Unfortunately, Judy had a bad heart and lungs. She needed a transplant and with the help of her community, raised the 100,000 to pay for it, but her body rejected it and she passed away a year later. That was 20 years ago and I still feel her loss.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey, JoMama!

Women friends are the best, aren't they? It's great being able to share that kind of friendship with our mothers and daughters...which I'm still learning to be a friend more than a mom to grown women, which ain't easy!!

Suzanne Welsh said...

AC said:Nope. No way. EVAH! They are clueless. It's sad really, but my girlfriends and I laff about them a lot!

OMG! L&D nurses, especially in the middle of the night get (I know, hard to believe out of me, huh?)...and the one poor male nurse, or the occasional male doc who is up at that hour will just shake his head and wander away while we laugh even harder!!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Annie West said:Recently I caught up with a girlfriend from university. We'd only seen each other 3 times since then and still it was as if we'd never been apart. I have a few very special friends like that and they warm my heart whenever I see or think of them.

This is how it is when I get a chance to see my friend Marion, usually when I go home to see my parents. It's as if we were back to being teens together.

Suzanne Welsh said...


What is the Ruby award?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Diana, we're very glad to count you among our BB's and look forward to seeing you and all the BB's each day on here.

Tell us about Barbara?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey, Joanie!! Didn't want to make you cry this morning, but you know when I was writing this...I knew you would.

That's what friends know about each other, who will cry at what or laugh at what.

And did Caren send you the flair for your Facebook page that says:
Nursing School--it's like bootcamp for the brain? That experince is definitely a bonding one, isn't it?

Suzanne Welsh said...

By the way....did anyone read the sign on the picture behind my Writer Foxes picture? hehehe

Tracy Garrett said...

Suz, you made me weepy first thing in the morning. Thanks for sharing and for including me in your list of girlfriends we can't live without! [Yes, I know what the sign says. lol]
Tracy G.

Virginia said...

Congrats Helen, I would say the rooster is glad to be back with you to get Tim Tams! Have fun with him!

Great post! I also get those girlfriend e-mails. I have a girlfriend that I have had for almost 50 years and she is always there when I need her.

My mother has been gone for almost 20 years now, but I have two wonderful sister and we are pretty close. I spent the day with one of them yesterday and we went out to lunch. When we were younger we were not that close but that has changed over the years.

Joan said...

Nursing School--it's like bootcamp for the brain? That experince is definitely a bonding one, isn't it?

Um....I can't remember. Too long ago (gulp)

I know they've invented about a thousand new diseases, added bones to the skeletal system and discovered new organs....

I KNOW they have!

Annie West said...


I think Helen must be offline. You asked her what the RBY award is. It's the Australian Romantic Book of the year. Rather like the Aus version of the RITA except ours is judged strictly by readers who are not also writers. Helen's just signed up to be a reader which is tremendous as she's such a romance lover.

Waving hi, Helen, if you're out there.


Helen said...

Yes I am back here now thanks for that Annie I wasn't sure exactly what the award was but I am enjoying reading the books it is going to be a lovely way to spend my next few days that I have left on holidays before I go back to work.

Have Fun

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, congratulations on the rooster. I wouldn't be surprised if he's at the root of your computer problems! You know how mischievous he is!

Suz, what a gorgeous post. I was just thinking something similar. And you know I love my Bandita sisters!

Hey, Miss Annie, you NEVER call me divine to my face! I'm printing out that comment and keeping it to remind you!

Jo Davis said...

What an awesome post! You made me think of all the wonderful women in my life who have influenced me: mom, my grandmother, friends.

I'm so proud to be one of the Foxes and have you as one of my CP's! (love the photo you picked--hehe)

Tissue, anyone? :)

Pat Cochran said...

There have been many friends over
the years but only a handful who have really shared the highs and lows of my life. Patsy, Lillian,
Carol Ann & Shirley in high school, Barbara through the reunion years, Dee, Agnes, Fran & Pam through our children's middle & high school years, and my church & choir "buds" over the past 35 years!

Pat Cochran

Christine Wells said...

Suz, what a thoroughly lovely post! You made me tear up and you KNOW how I hate to cry. I always wanted a sister, but my lovely Banditas are a pretty darn good substitute! I'd also list my mother (my sanity), my mother-in-law (aren't I lucky?) my lovely, loyal school friends with a wicked sense of humour, Vikki and Yasmin and my CP Denise Rossetti. We need our girlfriends, don't we?

Ah, Helen, congrats on the GR!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Remember I used to SUPERVISE nurses. I know ALL ABOUT nurses' raunchy humor, and I LOVE IT!

I find it interesting that my sister and I were never close while growing up. We had TONS of sibling rivalry (she was the "cute" one & I was the "smart" one), but once we reached our 30s and lived 1500 miles apart, we actually became "closer." :-) Even more so after we lost our mom in 1999. Because of our shared childhood (which was very different from my younger brothers) I feel like in some areas, she is the only person who truly does understand me. She does NOT, however, "get" my writing thing at all!


Suzanne Welsh said...

Sorry I dropped out of sight today, y'all. It was a meeting day for my writing chapter. It was a good day with talk about voice and writing market with guest author Tracy Wolf. And I had some much needed bonding time with my girlfriends!!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Tracy G!!! How are things up in Missouri today?

Tracy is one of the Writer Foxes, and the picture on the blog is all of us outside a neat restaurant we lunched at when we took a road trip to see her! The name of the inn was...and the picture proves it...

Big Dick's Half Way Inn

And Tracy, you are one of those girlfriends I can' live without!

Suzanne Welsh said...

oooooooo, Annie, I like your RBY. And yes Helen would be a great reader for that! We know how much she loves her romances and authors!!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Anna said: I was just thinking something similar. And you know I love my Bandita sisters!

Isn't it odd how we sometimes have similar thoughts on topics among the Banditas?

By the way, a friend of mine who looked at the blog today, Megan...hey Megan!, just emailed me to ask, didn't I have Tempt The Devil at work the other night and was it as good as it looks?


Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Jo Davis!!!

You KNOW you're on that list permanently, girlfriend!!!!

Get back to have a book due, like this week!!

Which, y' smokin' HOT!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Pat!

My mom's friends are like that.

There were her mom, two sisters and myriad of cousins growing up. Then friends whose kids were friends with us. Church friends and work friends, and of course, me and my sister. And now her granddaughters.

I think each group speaks to a special need in us. And among those groups, there is usually one or two who are even more special, don't you?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Virginia!

I'm sorry you've been without your mom for so long. I bet when you're with your sisters, though, you can feel her influence or presence in the room, huh?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Joanie said:I know they've invented about a thousand new diseases, added bones to the skeletal system and discovered new organs....

Diseases, yes, but honey, all those organs were already there. No new models with extra features!! hehehe

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Christine!

Good to hear your mother-in-law is on the list. I've had a pretty good relationship with mine. (Uh, did I ever mention she's a nurse, too? See a pattern here?)

And yes, we do need our girlfriends. Men just don't get our sense of humor, or the things we think are important....(romance novels, shoe or handbag shopping sprees, Hallmark commercials), do they?

Suzanne Welsh said...

AC wrote: I feel like in some areas, she is the only person who truly does understand me. She does NOT, however, "get" my writing thing at all!

My sister gets my writing thing. But she swears if I just toss a serial killer into a book it will sell. Uh, Sami...I don't write serial killer books!!

Joan said...

Diseases, yes, but honey, all those organs were already there. No new models with extra features!! hehehe

Can't convince me. I have WAY too many patients who come in squealing like howler monkeys...

Extra addition to the larynx I swear :-0

Louisa Cornell said...

Late to the party! What a great post, Suzanne! Girlfriends are just the best!

Good on you, Helen, for nabbing the GR. He needed another trip to Oz to see the grandbabies!

I absolutely count the Banditas and the Buddies as some of my favorite girlfriends. Whenever we get together it is ALWAYS time to celebrate.

My hometown writing group - The Broad Strokes - are a great group of women. We support each other and help each other with our writing, but we also have a great time and look out for each other! Thanks Tammy, Jeannie, Fran, Kathleen, and Audrey!

And my Golden Heart class - the Pixie Chicks - are another great group of women who have each other's backs, listen to each other's woes and are always there for each other.

When I started this writing journey I was lucky enough to be in the Avon FanLit Event and I met some great ladies there.

After the event I started critiquing with Sherry in Arizona. She has been such a wonderful friend to me. She was there for me when my dearly loved Great Dane, Glory was diagnosed with cancer and was a fabulous source of support through the entire year after that and especially when Glory lost her fight with cancer. We keep each other going and have lots of fun too.

Also from the Avon event I met an incredible quartet of women who have helped me in various ways in my writing and have been great friends to me - Erin, Gillian, Terry Jo and Marianne. Some really great women!

And of course I have the Avon event to thank for introducing me to one of my two mentors - La Incomparable Anna Campbell. MWAH! For all of your great advice and support and the photos of really hot opera singers!

My other mentor, the Divine Diane Gaston, is one of the classiest women on the planet. She is a doll even during late night phone calls from newbie writers in a panic over a request for a full manuscript!

Some of my singing buddies from all over the world have been the best friends in the world and even if we don't see or hear from each other for months, we always pick up right where we left off. Something about schlepping around on terrible trains and staying in hotels with no hot water in eastern Europe forms a bond that never breaks.

My Mom and I are much better friends now that we are both older. We always have a good time together and laugh long and often - most of the time at my brothers! (They think we need looking after! HA!)

Then there is my number one critique partner - my dear sister from another mother. You know who you are. She is one of those people who comes along once in a lifetime if you are very lucky. She won't let me get away with sloppy writing. She forces me to look at my stuff with a critical eye. She is a slavedriver and refuses to let me give up. I would not be anywhere near where I am with my writing without her.

limecello said...

Suzanne - O-H indeed! lol I feel like High St will be the place to be as long as the university is still there ;)

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Barbara is the friend that won't let me hole up in the house. She pushes, pulls and sometimes grabs me by the hair of the head and forces me out.....LOL.