If you haven’t been watching “Dead To Me”, I have one question for you: why the heck not? If you have been watching, especially the third and final season which dropped on Netflix on November 17, allow me to give you a virtual hug and pass you a box of Kleenexes. #IYKYK
To avoid (too many) spoilers, here’s a very brief rundown: the show stars Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini as two new (albeit unlikely) friends who bond in a grief support group. Over the three seasons, their friendship grows, and so too do their shocking (albeit justified?) crimes.
To me, season three of the show is essentially a friendship love story—and an inspiring one at that. So many times, I caught myself feeling a bit envious of the friendship between Jen and Judy. Their friendship is gorgeous and inspiring, but also a little demoralizing. I want to have a friend like that, and I want to be a friend like that.
The fact is, a friendship like theirs is unrealistic for many moms—at least at this stage of our lives. The reality is, we are overworked, exhausted and emotionally tapped out. Over time, our BFFs might have scattered to other parts of the country. Or maybe we were the one who scattered. If we are fortunate enough to live near our platonic soulmate, life has an amazing way of making friendship hard to maintain, let alone nurture.
I don’t know about you, but most of my communication with friends—even my close ones—is via texts, gifs, and the occasional Facebook message. I might go months without seeing my BFF. Does that make it less meaningful? Less significant? Less beautiful?
The reality—my reality—is that most of my days are consumed with work emails and meetings, phone calls and appointments, watching my kids’ sporting events, navigating the gazillion pitfalls of parenting teens, and trying to find a few minutes at the end to mindlessly watch a holiday baking show.
I don’t think friendship needs to be all Thelma-and-Louise-drinking-wine-together-every-night-and-covering-up-each-others-crimes-in-the-morning to be meaningful.
Friendship doesn’t just mean being with each other through in thick and thin. It means giving each other grace we need when we go quiet.
Friendship isn’t just being there for each other, but forgiving each other when we aren’t there for each other.
Friendship isn’t just heart-to-hearts and talking every day. It’s showing up when you can and how you can.
Part of the beauty “Dead to Me” is the way it portrays female friendship not as something that comes second to our kids and romantic partners, but something that stands on equal footing to those other relationships.
Don’t get me wrong, motherhood isn’t an excuse to let our friendships fade or a reason to ghost your friends. But sometimes motherhood and marriage and work and life get in the way. BFFs understand this.
There was a time when my friendships looked a lot like Jen and Judy’s (minus the murders and criminal activity, of course). We lived together. We talked about everything. We forgave each other’s blunders and occasionally covered up each other’s peccadillos (again: not criminal activity).
The bond of Jen and Judy is an inspiring reminder to prioritize our friendships, even when it is hard.
We’re older now. We have far less free time. We live with spouses and children now. And we are just too tired for any drama, let alone peccadillos.
But does that mean the friendship is any less solid? Less magical? Less meaningful?
Part of the beauty “Dead to Me” is the way it portrays female friendship not as something that comes in second to our kids and romantic partners, but something that stands on equal footing to those other relationships. The bond of Jen and Judy is an inspiring reminder to prioritize our friendships, even when it is hard.
But just as powerful is friendships’ ability to bring out the best in each other—not by telling them what they want to hear, being together all the time, or by expecting friends to give more than they can; the strength of a friendship comes in telling each other the hard truths, by showing up when you can and how you can, and by accepting each other for who they are and what they can give. That looks very different when you are a single, 20-something than it does when you are a married 40-something-year-old mom of three.
The magical thing is, that friends—the really good ones, anyway—know this.