Gosh, I’m a sucker for a riveting book.  One of these days, I’m going to write a post about what an amazingly wonderful, sassy, diverse, and unbelievable group of women my book club is but until then, let me just tell you that we have all been meeting, in some form, for nine years now.  We have seen ups and downs in each of our lives (admittedly, mostly mine but there have been other dramas as well…:))

Truthfully, I foresee us meeting for the rest of our lives.  Even though we may not email, Twitter, Facebook, or, God forbid, speak to each other on a daily basis, we immediately pick up where we left off when it’s a beloved “Book Club” night. I love and cherish these women greatly.

On a side note, I have to miss our next gathering.  My husband is whisking me away on an ski trip WITH NO CHILDREN.

Yes, I know.  I should be excited.  And I am.  But…I’m missing Book Club, by golly.  When I mentioned this to said hubby, it didn’t go over so well.

“So you would rather stay home and go to book club instead of spending a weekend away with your husband and, need I remind you, NO KIDS?” seemed to be his cleaned-up response if I remember correctly.

Hmmm…I want to go away with him.  Really.  I do.  It’s just that the fact that I’m missing book club is putting a bit of a downer on it.

My very best friend, Jennifer (who will also be the subject of a future post), chose The Girls from Ames as her featured title and let me tell you…Oh my.  I’m fascinated.

I’m only on page 82 and I can’t put the sucker down.  It’s about a group of girls that have been friends for quite a long time (some since birth, others entered the picture in high school) – the “Ames girls” as in from Ames, Iowa.  They are all about 41 years old, which is only five years older than me, thus making it that much more relatable.

It’s basically the story of their friendship with each other (all eleven of them) but in turn, it’s a story about female friendships in general.

It’s unfathomable to me to imagine what my life would be like without the presence of some of my closest girlfriends who have cried with me when I needed to cry, laughed with me when I needed to laugh, and drank  margaritas with me when I needed to drink margaritas.  I hope they would say I have done the same for them.  I would do anything for my girlfriends because, when its all said and done, they usually know EXACTLY where I’m coming from.

We as women are made so strikingly similar though we have many differences among us, too.  The longings of our hearts, our insecurities, our guilt in parenting, our worry over marriages, our bitchy, PMS time (except me of course), our love of chocolate…Yes, we are diverse.  But oh yes…when push comes to shove, we are strikingly similar.

Perhaps this is what I am taking from this book the most.  We are a sisterhood.  Thank God for that.  Truly.

Another thing I am loving from this book is Dr. McCormack, who was the father of one of the Ames girls.  As Marilyn’s dad, he was gentle, loving and wise.  He was a pediatrician in Ames and most of the other girls in the posse were his patients.  They all remember him fondly and rightly so – to read about him is to understand that he was the kind of man that served as a guide not only for young men but women as well.

He lost a seven year old son to a car accident before Marilyn was even born.  He knew some sadness in his life which is often the case with so many people who I have come to love and admire.

He had an unconditional, gentle way of teaching his children so that he never had to preach, yell, or patronize to make his point.  Marilyn, who tended to be a “goody two shoes” kinda girl, actually once toed the line a bit and had a party complete with drinking and heavy petting (I’m so sorry – this term has always made me giggle.  I needed to use it – what the heck really IS heavy petting?)  It was right around the holiday season so everyone was in a festive mood.  Especially the heavy petters.

When everyone had left, Marilyn cleaned up the house so sparkly that no one would have ever known a par-tay had been had.  Except for the crack that she noticed in the front window.  Her heart fell to her foot and she knew she needed to go to her father (note to self:  create a trusting relationship with my teenagers one day so they WILL come to me when something like this happens.  OK. Thanks.)

He was at his office.  She told him the scoop.  She was upset and said she would pay for every cent it would take to fix the window.  She was so, so sorry.

He listened to her without saying anything.  Then he stated “Well, I know you learned something from this whole experience.  I bet you won’t do it again.”

He told her he would see if their homeowner’s insurance would cover the damage.  He then hugged her and told her he loved her and was so thankful she was honest with him.

WHAT?!  Seriously.  This is completely the kind of parent I want to be to my teens.  What restraint!  What love!  How incredibly graceful!

Marilyn returned home.  Her sister inspected the crack.  Turned out, it wasn’t a crack after all – a piece of tinsel from their Christmas tree had somehow gotten stuck on the glass and it simply resembled a crack.  All that for nothing?

No.  Marilyn claimed that she had learned something valuable about her father and how he would react to disappointment and he learned about her and her conscious.

So true, so true.  In conflict, our true colors are revealed.  It is the time in which our integrity, or lack thereof, can really be shown.

Here’s another nugget of wisdom that he shared with his daughter when she told him she was scared to go so far away to college:  “Here’s what we’ll do.  We’re going to keep you at the end of our fishing line.  And if you ever need anything, you just give a little tug and we’ll reel you back in.”

May we all have at least someone who will reel us back in when we give a little tug.

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