At the risk of sounding a little pathetic, I am not terrably GOOD at making friends. I am not a people person, my small talk limit is about 15 minutes before I start looking for the nearest sharp implement with which to stab my own hand and a few friendship *disasters* in the last decade or so has left me a little gun shy when it comes to close girlfriends.
Add to that the fact that I am a part of a small group of people who have masses of children, very close together, support home birth, homeschool my kids, live in the mountains, renovate, talk about Jesus like He is an actual real PERSON (freaks out some church goers for some reason) don't have my license (at least in part so I have a good excuse NOT to have coffee with 'the girls') - not to mention my other habits, customs and beliefs that kinda freak people out.
Don't get me wrong, I DO have friends. I have a friend who has stuck it out with me for over ten years now - she lives in NSW and although we haven't seeen each other for about eight years we natter often on the phone. Another friend who is in Melbourne who is my "ring when one of the children has a brush with death and I'm a total mess" friend. A dairy farmer, also a resident of Victoria, is my "tell me bluntly when I have it wrong and need to make some changes" friend and his friendship I probably value most of all. And there are many acquantainces who I will stop and chat with and family and like minded people.
But recently, I have been thinking. What I would love to have is a girlfriend who lived near me, or at least in the same state, whose children were just a touch older than mine. Someone who I could ring and pick her brain about where to go next or how to handle a certain situation. Someone who WOULDN'T tell me not to have such "high expectations" ('cause expecting to get dressed before midday is TOTALLY unreasonable!) or to cut myself some slack. A friend who had faith in me that I could do this wife/Mum thing and do it spactacularly. A friend with some practical knowledge to help me out. A friend who encouraged and exhorted me, cheering me on to bigger and better things. A friend who prays with and for me. A friend who encourages me to be the best I can be in all things to HIS glory. A friend who is humble enough to let me be their friend too. A friend who can be a "Belly Buddy" sharing the amazing journey of pregnancy and birth together. A friend who I can confess our latest toilet training disaster to and she'll have one to share with me too.
But there is the whole "social ineptitude" problem and the fact that I am the only pre-menopausal woman at my church. I'm not ruling out miracles here, but honestly the odds don't look to great in reguard to me getting what I want here!
So I am going to try being my own girlfriend for a while. I am going to sit and have a cuppa with myself and pick my own brain. Take a moment to dust off all those ideas and inspirations I have tucked away in there from various blogs and books and advise myself just as I would a girlfriend. I will pray with and for myself. I will research things to help myself out. And one day, if I come accross a brave woman who is willing to stick it out through the rather abrasive and crazy exteriour of me and make it to the creamy centre of fantastic-ness that is me, I will know how to be a good friend to her. Because I will have practiced on myself.