Posted in Essay



Last week I held a Christmas Cookie Exchange.  It was a little more work than I had anticipated.  But worth it.  Everybody had questions as with anything hosted. Although you believe you cover everything with the invitation, most of the time you don’t. The questions ranged from “how many should I bring to is there any cookie that is prohibited?”  Really?  They do that?  Anyway, my answer would always end with “I’m not overthinking this exchange thing and neither should you.  Just come, cookie or no cookie, snack or no snack.  We may have four women or forty, no cookies or hundreds.  I just want all of us to have fun together.”

We ended up having fifteen women.  I invited most of the friends that I could. Some women couldn’t make it given this time of year and their busy lives.  But we had more than enough for a party.  Some of the women knew each other.  Some didn’t.  Some brought the same type of cookies.  Some don’t even like cookies.  Which makes me wonder how they ever got to be my friend; but I am glad they did.

We ate, chatted, complemented cookies right and left, and most of all laughed.  We drank quite a bit of wine, ate way too much chex mix, dips & chips, cheese & crackers, and of course cookies.  We discussed our busy lives, or lack thereof.  We talked about Christmas shopping, movies, baking or not, things happening in our town, and how much we like the new BBQ place in town.  We connected. We weren’t alone that night; those of us with extremely busy lives and families, and those of us that had extra time to fill.  We weren’t alone nor were we lonely.  That night we were connected, together, friends.

Friendships have always meant a great deal to me.  I believe for the most part that is how we humans all feel.  My first girlfriend was Debbie.  She lived across the street from my house and we were both four years old.  I named my Betsy Wetsy doll after Debbie.  Didn’t much care for the name Betsy Wetsy.  Who names these dolls anyway?

I risked life and limb one day to walk across the street to play dolls with her.  I didn’t tell my mom I was going over; after all she needed a break.  She had been outside watching me with my little brother, but he was in the midst of potty training and having told my mom he had to go, well, she did what any sane mother would do, grab him in a full headlock and dash madly to the bathroom.  I guess upon her return to our yard and finding me over in Debbie’s front yard did not set very well with her.  That day became the day of my first spanking that I can remember. 

From that first friendship to present day girlfriends have been a very important part of my life.  I’ve confided in them, went on trips with them, lunched with them, and most of all laughed with them.  During stressful or dismal times girlfriends can make the pain go away.  I love my husband and he is my best friend, my go-to, as well as my lovely daughters which I can go to with any problems.  But after that, I need my girlfriends.  If something happens, whether it’s trivial, funny, or earth-shattering, I share it with my girlfriends. 

So that evening of the cookie exchange after everyone left I held my wine glass high and with the rest of my Pinot Griogio I silently made a toast, “To all women everywhere, be sure to take a risk and cross the street if that’ s what it takes to find a friend.  Believe me, it’s worth it.”

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