Recently, I received a text from my first childhood friend which accompanied the picture above. "I saw this at the Smithsonian today and thought of us", was all she wrote. The mystical soft green painting of three women strolling at dusk is by Thomas Wilmer Dewing who was known for painting ethereal images of women. Given the friendship between Paula, my sister, and I, it is no surprise that my friend was drawn to the painting. I too, have a fondness for threes.
Our enduring friendship is probably why I also love the Three Graces - the classical goddesses that have inspired artists for centuries. Talk about sisterhood - always linked, always entwined - they represent the female ideals of Grace, Charm, and Beauty. And they represent something else too - solidarity...something I didn't see too much of in my years in the corporate world.
For me, the Three Graces' message isn't just of femininity although my little cameo of their likeness reminds me so. I believe the Graces, who are daughters of Zeus and therefore, sisters, also speak for friendship. The deep abiding, "I've got your back" kind that comes around just a few times in life. I still have it with my childhood friend, my sister, and a small handful of others. These are the pals that keep you company on the phone late at night when you're in the hospital. They remember not just your birthday but the secret anniversaries of your heart too. They never forget the slights that hurt and the perpetrators who caused them - they remember all the slings and arrows, sometimes long after you've forgotten them yourself. Like when you mistakenly got put in the corner at 3rd grade recess. They pick you up when your car breaks down with curlers in their hair and just a half hour before their Big Date. They would never leave you stranded. No. Matter. What.
To say that we three, Paula, my sister, and I spent a lot of time together is a gross understatement - our days were braided like the plaits in our hair. Today, I can still name their every doll and every boyfriend. And although decades separate us from those childhood days, whenever I happen to run across a variation of the Three Graces, I think of us too.
Do "Graces" grace your life?
And other "Graces":