The Sassy Six

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“Don’t ever lose touch with your girlfriends, sweetheart. The older you get, the more you’ll need them” (Huffington Post, 2016).

I’m so blessed to be part of a group of women who have known each other for over the course of 35 years. All in our 60’s, collectively we’ve experienced just about everything life can throw at us: death of a spouse, divorce, multiple moves, adult children, gay and lesbian children, a spouses’ early onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and much, much more. For most of us, life has turned out very different from the script we wrote for ourselves when we were young and newly married. And yet, while we were all together on a cruise last winter, we were the table in the dining room that became immediately known for its laughter. Suddenly, we were dubbed The Sassy Six.

Most of us met while we were working at a summer camp for people with disabilities during our college years. Hailing from various colleges, we looked forward to seeing each other every summer and working together to give campers with disabilities a great experience. Little did I know then that the friendships we formed at that time would last decades, and become stronger as we journeyed through life together.

“Our girlfriends can’t save us, for only God can do that, but girlfriends can help make a tragedy bearable. They can read our mind and our emotions, intuitively recognize what needs to be done — then do it. They can listen, empathize and show compassion. They can be used by God to comfort us and provide a timely shoulder to cry on” (Huffington Post, 2016).

I’d like to introduce you to The Sassy Six.

Loved by Many
Loved by Many is the glue that holds us together. Of the 6 of us, she is the only one who has known all of us for this length of time. Long distance relationships that last for years require nurturing. Loved by Many is the one who is always investing in relationships. Now only with us, but she keeps in touch with people she knows who live all over the United States. When her husband passed away a year ago, she was surrounded and comforted by all those who know and love her.

Calm and Steady
Calm and Steady is very logical in her approach to life. Calm and Steady understands that people see things from different perspectives and that there is value in each perspective, no matter how different from her own. Recently faced with a divorce after 35 years, she is strong and resilient. She saw what needed to be done and she did it. Grieved by what has transpired, she hasn’t let it define her. Rather, she’s let it refine her. She is ready to begin this next phase of her life and we all wish her well.

Strong and Tender
Strong and Tender is so nice. She will do anything for anybody. When Loved by Many fell a few years ago and broke multiple bones, it was Strong and Tender who helped her with activities of daily living. Strong and Tender loves being our personal shopper and puts her flair for design to use by making the rest of us look good! On the flip side of her tenderness, she is a savvy business woman. After inheriting thousands of acres of farmland, Strong and Tender manages a farming business and a thriving livestock market. Cows, donkeys, pigs and chickens are all part of daily life for Strong and Tender.

Free Spirit
Free Spirit is a creative who loves everything beautiful. Art is the air that nourishes her soul. From art museums to making jewelry, Free Spirit is passionate about making the world a more beautiful place. Social justice issues are always at the forefront of her mind. She continues to be part of a group that provides backpacks filled with food for elementary children to take home on the weekends. The most well traveled of all of us, she embraces different cultures and loves meeting local people who will give her a taste of everyday life in another country.

The Caregiver
Looking after others is one of The Caregiver’s greatest strengths. An Italian who loves to cook, her love language is making sure that everyone’s needs are being met. When the six of us are out and about, she’s the first one to jump up and offer to push my wheelchair when the terrain is less than wheelchair friendly. With her fabulous sense of humor, The Caregiver is always at the center of our laughter. Her and I share a special bond as we each have a gay/lesbian adult child who is married to a same sex partner.

Grateful
Grateful is just that…grateful to be part of this group of women whose friendships have lasted decades. She loves feeling comfortable around people who see people with disabilities as a normal part of life. What Grateful enjoys most about this group is the diversity that each one brings. We differ on social, political, and religious issues. We each have our own views and we don’t always agree. But it’s our differences that Grateful finds enriching, while the common denominator that holds us together is our love and deep respect for each other.

The bottom line: nurture and invest in relationships while you’re young. When life happens, as it inevitably will, you’ll reap the rewards of having meaningful relationships already in place. It really is one of God’s greatest gifts.

Resource
Huffington Post, (Feb. 23, 2016) Why Women Need Their Girlfriends.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kari-kubiszyn-kampakis/why-women-need-their-girlfriends_b_5539150.html

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