I am in a book club that started up the month Pickles was born. I actually missed the first couple of books because I was, you know, having baby Pickles. That means that this Spring our Book Club (that we really should name) will be celebrating our 10th anniversary with roughly the same intact group of women! I know, I think it’s amazing, too.
Our group. There are 11 of us (I am including Sherry who just moved to Kansas) and Kim who joined us after a 6 year hiatus might be coming back which would make it an even 12! Our Book Club has always had about 10-12 regulars. A couple of the women who were in it in the beginning left early on. We also lost a couple of our members when they went back to work full-time. One or two sort of stopped coming. Luckily we found a few more along the way. My friend Kris actually moved to Georgia for a few years and then moved back! We all picked up right where we left off and it was like she had never left. Sometimes we will be talking about a book that we read a while back and she will say, that was when I was in Georgia and it always surprises me because I forget she was gone for a few years. We just lost Sherry because her husband got a job in Kansas. It was sad to see her go, but she and her husband had been apart because of his job for so long we were happy that they were going to be in the same place again. (I hope you are impressed with how mature I am being about this, people).
Here’s how it works. We meet the third week of every month come hell or high water and whoever hosts that month chooses the book and provides the questions. And the wine. Everyone brings something yummy to eat. And possibly a little more wine. If you happen to have some extra time, you make something awesome and home-made. If you are having a rough week, you bring a bag of Smart Pop. It’s all good, and we always have a great spread and somehow we always have Brie. (I will be very disappointed if no one from Book Club comments on my issues with Brie.) In December we have a Christmas dinner and we don’t read a book. In August, we don’t read a book because everyone in the state of NJ is on vacation. Whoever happens to be in town just meets at my friend Kris’ place and sits in her hot tub with cocktails. It’s fantastic.
What’s happened in the last 10 years:
- Between us, we have 30 children between the ages of 3 and 23.
- 10 of those kids were born while we have been in Book Club together (No children were actually born during Book Club, that would be weird.)
- Multiple childhood illnesses, some scary
- Deaths of grandparents, parents and siblings
- Countless family crises, job losses and job gains
- One divorce
- One body piercing (who shall remain nameless)
Why these women are awesome: The idea of a book club was born at a mother’s group and spread to another mother’s group. Some of us were in one of the mother’s groups, some were in both. So in addition to being bibliophiles, we are also mothers of young children at the same time. My friend, Nannette, talks about the friends you have when you are having your babies and how special that bond is. It is such a raw and primitive time of a mother’s life and the friendships that see you through that and live to tell the tale are made of iron. They may gain patina over the years, but they will last a lifetime.
That’s of how my Book Club friends are. We knew each other when we were first learning how to be parents. For Pete’s sake, we knew Molly when she only had ONE kid and that hardly seems possible! With an age range of 3-23 years-old, there is always someone with the wisdom I need when one of my own shorties is having a rough time. This territory has been blazed for me, someone has already been there and they are ready to share their wisdom (and their screw-ups, of course).
We also have a range of personalities and interests: we have a preschool teacher, an elementary school teacher, a couple of college professors (I know, right?!), a nurse, an artist, a legal guru, a Wegman’s manager/restaurant maven, a self-employed marketing genius who could organize the worst client on Hoarders, an especially self-less PTA president, and me. Whenever there is anything I need to know, these are my go-to girls! Need a roofer? Someone has surely put one on recently. Kid still wetting the bed? I bet someone has experience with that one, too. Need to vent about your teenage daughter? This is the absolutely the place. Whatever the issue, bring it. They’ll have it sorted out before the book discussion starts.
Yes, we read books! I suppose I should have mentioned that earlier, but we do actually read and discuss books at book club. That was the reason the group was started, of course. We spend about an hour and a half catching up, snacking and having a glass of wine (or champagne if Aimee has anything to say about it or Margaritas if we are at my house, or those yummy pineapple drinks at Joan’s) and before 9:00 we are sitting down delving into the book questions. Sometimes the book is better than other times. Sometimes even when the book is so-so the discussion from it is wonderful. You never know.
We read a lot of book club-ish books, but we throw in a classic every now and again for good measure. And some cheesy stuff, too if the mood strikes. Maybe someone will email me a list of everything we have read because I would love to publish that.
Bottom Line: Life would have far less flavor without these amazing women in my life. They are consistently teaching me stuff, providing me with comfort, broadening my horizons (I tried caviar for the first time, thank you Linda!), and making me laugh so hard I pee a little. And I have read some pretty cool books, too. Thanks, gals!