“Mama, come jump!” It’s Little, my blue-eyed, suntanned Child of Summer. He’s grinning at me, eager for me to come.

I sigh, overwhelmed with exhaustion, sidelined by fatigue and bone-deep weariness. But he’s expecting me. I’m invited, so I go.

We jump together. “You stay over there,” I tell him. “You’re stealin’ my bounce, and it’s making my legs tired.” He grins, ornery like, then giggles out loud.

He stands atop the tire swing. “If you sit down, I’ll push you,” I say. He lowers himself, gripping the rope, legs dangling. He’s ready.

“It’s a boy club here,” he informs me. Swoop. “Not a girl club.” Swoop.

“I know,” I say, a world of understanding in my voice.

“I hate girls.” Swoop. He sounds for all the world like one of the Little Rascals and a member of the He-Man Woman-Haters Club.

“But what about me?” I say. “I’m a girl.”

“Not you. You’re my mother. You don’t hate mother-girls.” Swoop. His bare feet are dirty, and there are smudges just below the knee on the right. Swoop.

Girls. I think of the girls – my friends – who’ve been especially dear to me this year. Names, faces scroll through my mind. I’m so thankful, I tell my husband, for the kindred spirits in my life who live nearby, sticking tight, sticking close. For those who live far away, sprinkled here, sprinkled there. All those girls…

Treasures found in far-flung places, they are. One at a committee meeting. Two at the coffee shop. One in a salon. One through the pages of a magazine. Some from my past, and some through this blog.

They’re the face of God, shining light. They’re the voice of God, speaking truth. They reveal the heart of God, showing no-matter-what kind of love. When they talk, I listen ’cause I know who they’re listening to. I love these girls, my friends.

I love what you stand for, how you live. I love you for all you’ve done. I love you, those who’ve been spiritual mothers for me in a way my own mother could not.

For every word of encouragement, every nugget of insight. For every prayer you’ve raised and for huggin’ my neck. For the texts, phone calls, emails, and messages, I’m grateful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And now you – what girls do you love?


Rhonda Schrock lives in Northern Indiana with her husband and 4 sons, ages 22, 18, 13, and 5. By day, she is a telecommuting medical transcriptionist. In the early morning hours, she flees to a local coffee shop where she pens “Grounds for Insanity,” a weekly column that appears in The Goshen News. She is an occasional guest columnist in The Hutch News. She’s also blogged professionally for her son’s school of choice, Bethel College, in addition to humor and parenting blogs, and maintains her personal blog, “The Natives are Getting Restless.” She is a writer and editor for the magazine, “Cooking & Such: Adventures in Plain Living.” She survives and thrives on prayer, mochas, and books.


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