What a great girl’s night!!! I got to play with my
oldest longest-standing friends, Sarah, Kami, and Chellie. I’ve known Kami since we were in Nursery together, I believe. Sarah came in at around 4 or 5 years of age, and Chellie joined at 8, so even at the shortest estimation we’ve all been friends for over 26 years. Thinking back to those days when we used to have sleep-overs, played house, dressed up my Barbies with scraps of fabric from my mom’s sewing projects, and ran through the alfalfa field in back of my house, tamping down mazes, lying on our backs, staring up at the clouds and creating dreams…it’s so comfortable and weird at the same time to look at those same friends now. The four of us around a large dining room table, laughing over a gourmet dinner and decadent dessert as our children run around the spacious home Kami now lives in. It’s impossible! Aren’t we still 12, pooling our allowances to buy a chocolate cream pie at KFC on the way home from school? I would sneak four forks out of my cupboard and we’d all sit around the tin, eating pie and talking, far from prying eyes…on my front porch under the pine tree right outside my parents’ bedroom window. I don’t even remember where we used to dispose of the evidence, and my mom never called me on any lack of appetite at dinner, so we knew how sneaky we were. (We went back and tried KFC pie again a few years ago…I’m glad to know our tastes have matured.) No, we’re not 12 anymore. Okay…16! We’re 16, dealing with boys, learning how to use makeup, and half of us slump our shoulders to hide physical progressions while the other half shrug longingly because of delays in any need for a bra? No. We’re beyond that now too. Okay…maybe we’re 18 and at school or playing nanny in New York, sending letters back and forth.
No…we’re 34 and 35 now. How is that possible?!
Kami married young and had two kids but divorced, married again, has three more children, is working on her thesis, and still finds time to watch movies with her 16 year old, do homework with the rest, and clean up after little ones, all while creating handmade wontons and honey walnut shrimp! She’s amazing! She supports her husband’s family in from South America, and despite deep differences has been patient and loving…even working at educating them and helping them to become self-sufficient so that she won’t be kicking them out next month, but will be enabling them to support themselves in their own home. I believe her status as a saint is in discussions.
Sarah married her highschool sweetheart and they put each other through school, had four children, built a successful business, and continue to build an insanely beautiful home, all while continuing to travel the world, perform in world-renowned choirs, and embrace an exciting new opportunity as Mabel in The Pirate’s of Penzance with a leading man 15 years her junior! Yes, she can pull it off…she still looks that good! And, though she may not enjoy her husband’s firearms obsession, she looks Bond-girl-sassy holding a glock of her own when they go shooting. She’s amazing at running her home, fulfilling her own needs, AND supporting her children, giving them opportunities and adventures as a family. She even decided to start running and cycling, and has started journeys as a marathon woman. (I can’t even imagine standing in a bikini on a beach during a shore excursion from one of her cruises!) Fabulous!
Chellie also married her highschool sweetheart, and Chellie has four kids too, but where there have been adversities, she continues to fight and work and conquer while keeping her family strong. She waited to put her husband through school until he knew what he wanted out of a degree, and now she has learned the most amazing talent of living within her means, creating security and enjoyment for her family, even on a budget, and regardless of nights working into the small hours, she ensures that her kids do chores the next morning, everyone is well dressed and healthily fed! I honestly don’t know how she does it all…and she also continues to feature in local theater, read voraciously, and recover from random tendon tears, bone spurs, and tumbles down her stairs that land her on bed rest for weeks at a time. (How did a klutz like you end up dancing in so many performances?!) We all know that her amazing patience will pay off in the end, and we all marvel at her positive attitude despite any troubles. Her wry sense of humor wins out every time.
A friend of mine asked this morning about true friendships like these, and I had no real response. How did we end up as friends?…proximity for the most part…I guess we just grew up in the same neighborhoods and were the same ages. Still…what has KEPT us friends after all of these years?…I have no idea! There are times when we go months without talking. But, then, magically, somehow, beyond reality, our schedules align and we all have a chance to get together on the same night, and the talk picks up right where it left off. We see updates online, and follow each others’ blogs, and call each other now and then. It’s never enough! And, yet, it’s what we get because none of us can really do more. And, that’s okay.
There’s a strange comfort in knowing that even if I haven’t seen Chellie’s new haircut, I’ll hear the whole story next month when I finally get to see her again. It gives me some peace to know that even though Sarah has new friends and continues to branch out and do new things, she will still come back and include me in her news because none of them know her as well as I do. And, having a child not much younger than Kami’s little ones means that I will always have something to talk about with her…even if we never resort to discussions of diapers and pacifiers because there’s more to talk about than kids. There is longing and comfort at the same time, and that is sweet. I’m not some girl waiting for the phone to ring, hoping that the cool girls will include me…I have a sure knowledge that I’m one of the cool girls, and there’s no doubt that I’ll be invited when our timing works out. That’s pretty nice to know. In the meantime, I go back to my own busy life and create the situations that will make for great stories for the Musketeers at our next quarterly dinner.
I can’t believe how much I love these women, and how much I hope to be like them when I grow up. The leftover chocolate satin pie isn’t hurting my attitude today either!
Thanks again, ladies!!!!
(Chellie, Sarah, Lori and Kami 2005)
But what Lori didn't say, of course, was how fabulous she herself is. And I probably won't sound as eloquent as she but I'll give it a try.
Lori married a little later in life...but what an amazing man she found in Jon. He truly is her soul mate. They are perfect for each other. A year an a half ago little Hannah was born....a curly red-headed beauty with a mind of her own. And what a happy family they make. Lori and Jon run a wedding business (www.weddingsbywoodbury.com) and are doing so well that they are close to dropping their day jobs and doing it full time. I'm amazed, absolutely, amazed when I see the talent between the two of them. Lori is probably one of the most well-rounded people I know...she's fabulously interesting to talk to because she has read, watched and done so much. She's optimistic. She laughes constantly. She is generous and helpful. And I love her like family...as I do Chellie and Kami. How amazingly lucky are we??