About ten years ago, a few women in New York City decided that they would get together once a week and call themselves "The Women's Group." They met in a parenting workshop led by Nancy Samalin, author of several books about raising kids. ("Loving Your Child Is Not Enough," "Loving Without Spoiling" are two of them.)
The women (I believe there were around five or six of them) began meeting at each other's homes and talking about their kids, their relationships, work, parents, health, whatever was on their minds. Over the years, a few women have come and gone, but there remains a core of three women: Jennifer, Heather and Annette. Two others, Mia and myself, starting coming a little over three years ago. Mia's taking a hiatus (we hope she will come back). We meet every other week now on Mondays at 2 pm - since we are all rather busy (typical New Yorkers). For the last five years they've had a Women's Group retreat on Fire Island at Heather's lovely summer home.
So for the past three days we sat around the pool, swam, ate, played games, read, walked on the beach, and TALKED. A lot. You would think that we might have run out of topics, but then you would be someone who doesn't know the Women's Group. We never run out of topics.
This September, the two youngest of our kids are going off to college. One just graduated from college and has returned home to pursue his career as an actor/writer. Two of the kids are taking a different route - Zoe is home this year and will be taking classes in New York City and Jen's daughter is out in Los Angeles, pursuing her passion, acting, and will be studying out there. There are also numerous step-children and older kids who are well established in their lives.
Over the past ten years all the women have had serious life challenges and I guess the best part of the group is that they've always been there to listen.
Having launched our kids into the world, it feels like it's time for us to pursue our own passions, whatever they may be. (I see books, book tours, a thriving art gallery, world travel, performances, advanced yoga and computer studies, new love, health, long lives, good works, and God knows what else, in our future.)
And I just love the fact that we will be there for each other, listening, offering support and suggestions, empathizing, crying, worrying, and occasionally yelling, every other Monday at 2.
This morning, I read about Bodhichitta: a Sanskrit word that means "noble or awakened heart." I will write more about that tomorrow.