18 years ago-
My best friend and I met on a bus, on our way up the coast. We were on a two week bus trip for our youth group, and have been inseparable ever since. We were 13 and 14 years old, comparing notes on our "experience" which was a really long conversation about nothing really. We both had big hair, lots of makeup, and had perfected our methods of getting the boys to carry our luggage.
12 years ago-
My best friend and I learned to support each other as we lost family members, holding each other through tears, without the need to speak. When the ground shook at 4:31am one January morning, we frantically tried to reach each other to make sure we were ok. The house could tumble around us, but as long as we could talk to each other, it was ok. (The only two friends I spoke with that awful morning was Tami and Fillip. Still, my foundation today.)
9 years ago-
My best friend and I were in serious relationships, finishing school and starting careers. It was a pretty moderate party lifestyle, but one we took for granted at the time. Sometimes we would see each other more often than others, but were more focused on all the other things in our lives. When someone was crying, it was imperative that we be there within 15 minutes, but barring that, weeks might go by where we just talk on the phone. We were excited for all the things happening in our lives, learning how to live on our own. Eventually, I moved out of state, and that phone became the lifeline of our friendship, with occasional visits every couple months.
7 years ago-
I was getting divorced and she was getting married. We were both at new beginnings in different ways. It was great to be back home. Adulthood was seeping in, but we could still party like it was 1999- because it was!!
3 years ago-
I got married and she was in my wedding.....again. We found out I was pregnant the day before. Six months later she was pregnant too! We supported each other through months of sickness, exhaustion and hormonal ups and downs. When she faced the scary possibility that her baby had Down's Syndrome, I assured her we would get through it. When she had to be on bedrest after the amnio, I came to baby sit her and keep her company. Her beautiful daughter is perfectly healthy, by the way. We would call each other to say "He is being completely Unreasonable, will not concede that I was absolutely right, and why would anyone argue with a pregnant woman anyway?!" The other would say "Come on over. You're right, he's an ass. I was just opening a new carton of icecream." It didn't matter if we really were right or not. The icecream was unconditional.
Together we worried over every early contraction, commiserated over the belief that this baby would never come, laughed at each other's labor stories, held each other and cried over the births of our first born children. We held each other's precious babies as we held our own.
Dinner times became a regular event for us, as we were no longer living the party lifestyle. Babies were always welcome and accomodated, even when that meant getting a very yummy steak, to go. Evenings usually meant at least one of us nursing, while the other got dinner together. There was often a baby sleeping nearby in the living room, while we chatted about our latest adventures- how was the pregnancy weight coming off, how often does the baby eat, still using a pacifier?, remember when we were just kids…. The husbands don't question the presence of the other one for dinner. Of course she is welcome! Having the babies there goes without question as well. They each toss each other's kids in the air like a favorite uncle, making them squeal and giggle, then going back to their manly pursuits- namely video games or tv.
2 years ago-
She reassured me that it would be ok when I found out I was already pregnant again. She brought the joy into my perspective of a very scary time. When I went on bedrest, she came to baby sit me so I would have everything I needed during the day. She treated my son as her own, and he knows to listen to her better than he does to me.
1 year ago-
Again, she held my newborn son in her arms, loving him as her own son. When I was overwhelmed by a newborn and an 18 month old, and the prospect of moving, she not only brought dinner and took charge of the toddler, but rallied our friends to come help pack.
We had dinner together at her house. There are now three kids running around, chasing each other, giggling, giving spontaneous hugs, spontaneous pushes, some crying, and lots more giggling. My son knows when I say we are going to Tami's house, he will see Samantha, get dinner, and take a bath. It isn't questioned. Samantha lights up at the prospect of coming over to play with my boys, and is happy to stay with me if Tami needs to run errands. We are each other's "non-family" babysitting backup, and I owe her so many more evenings than she owes me, except who keeps track. Instead of getting together and having a few wine coolers, we crack open the cheese ravioli, a few sippy cups, and teddy grahams. She offers my son juice, and I offer her daughter chocolate milk, each one scowling and relenting to the other's mishegaas. The kids feel at home at either of our houses.
Today and always-
I know as the years go by, our living room will still be filled with each other's families. The kids will grow, and hopefully there will be more of them. Sometimes there will be other family or friends there too. Sometimes we will be too busy to get together as often as we would like. We will hold each other in grief again someday, as that is part of life. Throughout all the ups and downs, we are part of each other. Watching our children play together, I was so happy to see that we are passing on that love and friendship, even as we continue to build it ourselves.