If these women were on reality TV, they would surely be cast as the Real Housewives of Jericho. This feisty circle of friends includes six accomplished, attractive, 40-something mothers who initially met through their children.
They jokingly call themselves The Vuvs, elaborating on a word one of them conjured up as a little girl because she couldn't say the word "vagina." They're so close that they even share secrets like that one.
They live in walking distance of one another in suburban Jericho, New York, five of them within the same 800-home community. All but one is Jewish but she has an interfaith marriage. Coincidentally or providentially, each of them has two children between the ages of 8 and 15. A few of them have aging parents who reside in the same condo development in Florida.
Most noteworthy: For the past 8 years, these women have shared a special bond, being each other's greatest cheerleaders and supporters. They get together as twosomes, threesomes, and as a sextet. With their spouses and kids, the group of 24 has vacationed together in places as far-flung as Mexico and Costa Rica and they seem to never tire of their sisterhood.
"I speak to at least three of them a day," says Leslie Adler, 43, the "mother bear" of The Vuv Club. The Brooklyn-born, mother of two straddles two worlds. She's an attorney by day for a large accounting firm, and moonlights as a blogger on MomLogic, and More.com and on her own sassy blog, The Vuv Club, using her life, family, career and friendships for blog fodder. When you read her posts, you can't help but wish you had a sisterhood like hers.
What holds the group of besties together? Either she doesn't know or she isn't telling. Adler compares the recipe to that of a "Big Mac." In terms of their personalities, they are distinct individuals rather than clones of one another but there is something about the mix works; they complement each in different ways. Each woman has a distinct network of friends and acquaintances that extend beyond the circle, but the circle is the "home base" to which they always return.
Adler says the group really coalesced when her husband, Eric, was diagnosed with testicular cancer (he's now recovered). "When Eric was sick, we were all sick," says Adler. Her friends arranged for meals and helped them get to treatments. On the couples' 15th anniversary, when Adler couldn't even think about leaving the house, The Vuvs stepped in and arranged for a limo to take them to a surprise celebratory dinner at Il Mulino in Manhasset. "That really raised the bar in terms of our friendship," she says.
The women share laughter and sorrows, they celebrate each other's milestones and accomplishments, and they've helped each other cope with job losses and death. If a problem arises for one, they call an emergency dinner to brainstorm solutions together. "We talk each other down from ledges," says Adler. "Being part of something feels great."
Do you have a circle of friends, wish you had one, or do you prefer having discrete friendships, one at a time?
Irene S. Levine, PhD is a freelance journalist and author. She holds an appointment as a professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and is working on a book about female friendships, Best Friends Forever: Surviving A Break-up With Your Best Friend, that will be published by Overlook Press in September, 2009. She recently co-authored Schizophrenia for Dummies (Wiley, 2008). She also blogs about female friendships at The Friendship Blog.