I was a bit eye-rolley about this idea at first.
GAL is one of those words that feels silly and stilted to say, and in my head, is always heard in Ethel Merman’s voice. I mean, I love my female friends, I love candy and wine, lipstick and treats, but Galentine’s was looking like one massive Hallmark consumption fest and a gathering of all things giggly and girly.
Not knocking giggly and girly if that is your real thing and it brings you joy. But to me, a good Galentine’s Day would head for the woods with chain saws, or a hike, plant some stuff, or build some fence, and/or a good bonfire cum/table groaning with loads of home-made potluck treats. Or a get-together helping a GAL friend with any daunting project she can’t quite manage to launch by herself.
My Galentine’s Day would include some sharing of Galentine dreams and some #NoMercy commitment to birthing those shy, secret plans we GALS hide in the back of our hearts, and always seem to put last, behind everyone else’s laundry and chauffeuring needs.
Then, the word GALENTINE started to grow on me, Ethel and all.
Looking back over the last decade of my life, the part where “normal” began to fall apart, it is absolutely one hundred percent true, it was my female friends who saved me from drowning.
Though we each had busy lives, and didn’t spend much time Galentine-ing it up during our everyday, married, kid schlepping lives, it did not matter. When the need was real, it was those GALS who showed up, ready to work when I was overwhelmed and could not see what to do next.
When I was mowed over after my husband’s heart attack, we had three busy daughters at home, and I ran my own demanding business, it was my friend Debbie who cooked – I am not exaggerating – trays and trays of foods, thoughtfully planned for Bill’s new dietary needs, so I could mix and match and keep my family fed for weeks without needing to go to the store.
I also remember the day I was part of a group of GALS helping my same friend Debbie load up all her stuff and move her out of the house she had poured her heart into and into a rental the next town over. The power of that group of women, each pitching in hard with their unique gifts, moved mountains that day.
Obviously, Debbie Galentines like a boss.
My friend Becky was there during the darkest days of my marriage helping keep the business alive and well and keeping me focused on the unpleasant tasks at hand.
More recently, when I was overwhelmed after losing family and a good chunk of my farm resources, it was my friend Shelly who showed up and helped me move all my freezers and plow through my paralysis, and begin to set up a new normal.
After my divorce, having to adjust to losing so much, my friend Jenny went out of her way to open her home to me, and include me in her days. For a while, the warm, rich, friend-filled dinners spent at Jenny’s house were the only real human balm for my sore spirit.
I could go on, but you get it. And I am not the only one. When the chips are down, and the days go dark, it is your girlfriends who bring you back.
So, a day to celebrate that life force is only right and good. And if you find you are without Galentines in your life, I would recommend you get to work finding some. ASAP.
I could not love you GALS more.