2.21.2008

C.

We met Freshman year in college through a mutual friend, which turned out to be only the first of a million common threads and coincidences that bonded us together instantly.

For one, I worked at the cheesy heartburn-inducing Faneuil Hall Mexican restaurant right across from the chic clothing boutique where she pulled in a big $4.25 an hour. I served her illegal margaritas and she hustled me into the line-out-the-door nightclub with the stupid beach club theme, which connected to her shop by a surreptitious back staircase. After one wild night out with the (much) older and (very) cute managers, we swore each other to semi-secrecy, and our friendship was sealed.

The time she almost fainted on the Boston T, I ushered her off the car towards to a low wall bordering one of the university buildings. She lay down, and then I lay down head to head with her so that she wouldn't feel at all weird lying down on a wall in the middle of the day.

Or maybe that was something she did for me. It's hard to say; we blended together at times.

I always loved that could turn any negative into a positive: I gained weight. You actually look better. I started smoking again. I'll help you quit whenever you're ready. My hair color accidentally turned pink, ugh. Let's hit a club and work it!

Our support for one another continued into our twenties and early thirties, when we never lived more than ten blocks apart. We traveled together. We partied together. We traded clothes and furniture and just-because-it's-Wednesday gifts. We consoled one another's breakups and celebrated our accumulating career successes over much wine. She turned me onto Port and acupuncture and London. I turned her onto Prada and Manhattan haircuts.

In our single days, we spent Valentine's Day dinners at quiet West Village restaurants where same-sex couples were treated with appropriate fanfare. In our coupled days, which rarely coincided, we turned dates into trios. Our visiting parents would never think to plan an evening at the theater or dinner at the Oyster Bar without including both of us.

This is what we have in our single 20s, if we're very, very lucky.

Then came the serious relationship (hers), the move to the burbs (hers), the first kid (hers), the move to the more distant burbs, the elopement (hers) and then our first ever fight in over a decade of BFF-ship over, essentially, the acknowledgment of what I'd sensed for some time - that I wasn't on top on her husband's list of favorite people. I doubt I was even in the top 200. I felt left out of her wedding plans. She felt I was raining on her happiness.

It wasn't a breakup entirely. We talked, we worked through it. But the reality was that two rivers weren't all that separated us now.

I had Thalia at the same time she had her second daughter - we gave birth on each other's due dates, and soon found ourselves in similar mental spaces again. Her joy at being able to share the experience of parenthood with me was palpable, and she was generous both with her time and her council. We reconnected. We celebrated again.

Now when we get together on the rare weekends that our schedules allow for, there's too much to say and never enough time. We talk far more quickly than people should be allowed. We talk with our mouths full. We talk over each other and hold two simultaneous conversations, remarkably still able to take in every word. I always leave feeling psychically nourished and happy.

Earlier this week we spent more real time together than we had in a long, long time. The hours led us to the deeper conversations, past "So how was your week," past "Yeah, my kid has a cold too," past even "Hey, remember the time when we..."

We got back to the connection that reminded me why I have loved her so much all these years, why old friends are such a commodity, why women need other good women in their lives.

This time when she slipped out my front door towards the elevator, my heart hurt terribly.


47 Comments:

Blogger Amy U. said...

How lovely. You're right, women do need other good women in their lives.

Assertagirl

2/21/08, 10:45 AM  
Anonymous foodmomiac said...

I bet this post encourages some old friends to reconnect. Just sent the link to one of my oldest friends who has been out of touch for too long. Thanks!

2/21/08, 11:12 AM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

You are very very lucky to have a girlfriend who you miss when she's away. My "bff" screwed me over recently (not in my imagination, she really did) and her husband is not my fan. The divide is so deep that I'm not sure the rivers will cross again. You are very lucky. I really loved reading this post though it made me sad for what I've lost.

2/21/08, 11:15 AM  
Blogger Blueschild said...

So good my friend, so good...

2/21/08, 11:29 AM  
Anonymous MetroDad said...

Beautiful sentiments, Liz. This is exactly the reason why I have forbidden all my closest friends from moving anywhere that cannot be reached by the NYC subway system.

2/21/08, 11:57 AM  
Blogger tali said...

One of my dearest friends is currently living overseas for a year after spending a year living nearby and working in my same building. I'm off to compose her an email right now! What you write is so true - there's something deeply psychically healing about a close girl friend. Thank you for the beautiful reminder :)

2/21/08, 12:12 PM  
Blogger RuthWells said...

Sniff.

2/21/08, 12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're making me cry.

But it's good.

2/21/08, 12:22 PM  
Blogger Peggasus said...

I am making arrangements to go see my BFF of 20 years in May; she moved to Portland, OR from Chicagoland five years ago, and we've only seen each other twice since.

Talking on the phone just ain't cutting it now. I can't wait to just, like you said, spend TIME with her.

This was beautifully put, thank you.

2/21/08, 12:36 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

This is so much like my story with my bff. We've been friends now for about 14 years. We lost touch for a year or two, but are now back to the friends we once were.

I know what you mean about your heart hurting when she has to leave. I wish everyone could have a friend like that.

Thanks for sharing your story.

2/21/08, 12:38 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

Love it. I'm going to call my best, oldest friend when I get home tonight.

2/21/08, 12:41 PM  
Blogger Georgia said...

"This is what we have in our single 20s, if we're very, very lucky."

As a single, later 20-something, I am finally experiencing these relationships...and they're more satisfying and emotionally fulfilling than any relationship I've had with a boyfriend.

2/21/08, 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Redneck Mommy said...

My BFF lives down the road from me. Thankfully. Because she makes the best cookies and keeps my favorite soda in stock. Just for me.

I lost her months after Bug died. It was too difficult to be around her kids, one who was born hours before Bug died. It was a living reminder of every moment I had lost with my son.

We found each other again and we're stronger than ever. How I missed her so.

I get this. And I'm glad you found your friend again.

2/21/08, 1:47 PM  
Blogger Marriage-101 said...

I can relate almost exactly the first half of this post. I'm not to the having children part yet, but it was nice to read this. I'm glad you two still have such a wonderful connection.

Any pointers for what to do when a girlfriend's husband doesn't like you though?

2/21/08, 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Ailis said...

Thank you for this beautiful post. I've been lurking on your blog for a while. I have friends in various states of being single, being in relationships, having kids and it's comforting to know that when circumstances push us apart, we will likely find each other in new, different ways as our friendships evolve. This made my heart feel good.

2/21/08, 2:47 PM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

This is what true friendships are supposed to be like ...

2/21/08, 4:13 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

Truly lovely. I remember hearing about the issue with the husband and knew it hurt you terribly. How wonderful that you have gotten past that. Good friends are worth every bit of effort.

2/21/08, 5:25 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

There is no equal to an excellent friendship like that.

I hope you have a lifetime more of happy memories ahead of you. :)

2/21/08, 5:34 PM  
Blogger Reluctant Housewife said...

What a beautiful post. I actually teared up. Thank you for sharing.

2/21/08, 7:34 PM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

What a great post. Um, can I come hang out with you guys some time?

2/21/08, 7:55 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

i think my jitta and i will be like that forever and ever. she is one of the greatest gifts in my life, and she made leaving my fiance and my whole planned future more bearable. thanks for reminding me how special that is. :)

2/21/08, 8:13 PM  
Blogger Dana J. Tuszke said...

This is a beautiful story of friendship. I loved reading it. It reminded me how much I miss my BFF. Maybe I should give her a call.

2/21/08, 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Carla said...

Everyone should have a friendship like this, where you ache a little when the other person leaves. As a mom, it's one of the first things I thought of when I had my daughter. i hope and wish and pray and cross my fingers she finds friendships this deep and timeless. I've been fortunate enough to have these kinds of friends. We're all in different stages of our lives and don't always talk as much as we'd like or get together but there's love there and lack of words or time can't touch that. When we do get together or talk it's like no time has gone by. Sigh...I think it's time for one of those reunions again...

2/21/08, 8:46 PM  
Blogger kevin said...

For a couple years now now I've felt like I need to pick up the phone and give someone a call. Sometimes people drift apart because lives grow in different directions, and I tell myself that's okay, but I still miss that close friendship. It sounds like the two of you have managed to stay in touch all this time. I'm jealous.

2/21/08, 9:36 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

It's so good when the bond is strong enough to reattach after some parting. We should all have one or two of these people in our lives - sisters of our own choosing.

2/21/08, 10:52 PM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

That was so beautiful.

I cherish my close girlfriends immensely.

I, too, has a very close friend in college. We fell apart and then years later, we reconnected. She is one of my best friends and I treasure her so.

2/21/08, 11:19 PM  
Blogger Lady M said...

Beautiful.

Women friends are so important. Next weekend, I'm going to tuck my increasingly bulbous self into the car for a long drive to a chatfest with friends I see too seldom. Can't wait!

2/21/08, 11:38 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Friends like this add so much to life. Glad you found one another again. Reminds me of one of my own dear friends I should call. Thanks for sharing.

2/22/08, 12:34 AM  
Anonymous maggy said...

I read your blog religiously and am guilty of lurking anonymously without ever commenting on your inspiring words. I thought it was about time that i let you know how much i love and appreciate your thoughts, and how much i look forward to the 5 minutes each day when i sit back and read your latest entry. Your last post, "C" has left me feelng so...lost for words. It's wonderful, touching, and something most of us can relate to. I just wanted to let you know that your time and efforts with this blog are very much appreciated...i know you don't do it for "us," the "reader," but know that your voice is reaching many. Thank you thank you thank you.

2/22/08, 1:35 AM  
Blogger Mahlers On Safari said...

That was a lovely ode to C.

2/22/08, 2:26 AM  
Blogger Vermont Mommy said...

So refreshing to hear that motherhood brought you back together again. I had a recent opposite experience with my almost 20 year long bff at a time when we both became mothers, she with her first child when I had my second. I even married her brother (we are still happily married). She "changed" (her own words) and her standards in raising her child and her newfound mothering style soon made me seem like a crazed plastic and battery consuming, sugar mongering, TV obsessed, incredibly stressed out (working) mother of two. My two children are one year apart...now ages 3 & 4...my 3 yr old daughter’s birth having the unlucky trigger of memories of celebrating her birth, yet mourning the loss of her stillborn twin brother at 7 months into my pregnancy. No matter that I am an (mostly) organic food consumer for myself and my family, adhere to all natural consumer philosophy as best I can in today's environment, limit TV to videos about animals and Noggin with limited use...(but use it wisely when I am cooking!)..., allow sugar when it's fun...(I KNOW there are secret Pop Tart eaters among those organic consumers), and even allow an occasional Blue Lake and Red #3. But, the kicker was that she told me I was "too stressed out" as a mother for her liking.
I felt so betrayed by all the years that I gave her slack in the ACTUAL really bad decisions that she made along the way (like, husband #1) when I stood by her. Has anyone had a similar experience where motherhood has torn apart a really great friendship? My heart aches for my bff for whom I have such fond memories, before she became a mother.

2/22/08, 1:55 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Thank you for this post. First, it made me smile, because I believe we are the same age and OMG I went to the EXACT same places in Fanueil Hall, including an incredibly drunk night at that beach theme place!
But then it made me a little teary over the gift of friendship. I'm so glad you and your bff reconnected.
And as always, a beautifully written post!

2/22/08, 4:41 PM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

I'm so glad you found your way back to each other.

2/22/08, 6:26 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Beautiful post, and it felt so familiar. Until I realized: I do not have just one person to fit in the other half of the story. I have had all the experiences described, though, all the emotions, all the changes and even some reconnections.

I started to feel sorry for myself because I don't have that one person, but then I decided I'm luckier in that I have several. My life is richer for it and I wouldn't have it any other way.

And that includes all my bloggy babes (like you), as those connections feed my soul, too.

2/22/08, 11:22 PM  
Blogger J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I have a friend like this, who I love dearly, with whom I have not had alone time in over 10 years. I miss her terribly, and I'm hoping against hope that when she visits this spring, we can ditch the hubbies and kids for awhile and reconnect....

2/23/08, 1:39 AM  
Blogger b said...

WARNING: I'M SO ABOUT TO RAMBLE

This post struck me so hard. For years I discounted the many times people told me how important girlfriends are. I had 4 sisters, I didn't NEED girlfriends. I had girlfriends, but we never got past the "Remember when..." phase. We never patched each other's broken hearts, or broken souls. I didn't need other women. I had a great mom and 4 sisters AND 4 amazing SILs.

Then came the move. Away from all family. The death that ripped my closest sister away in a funnel of overwhelming grief and a new job that left me feeling lost and very alone in this tiny town.

But I got desperate and joined a moms group. I just needed SOMEONE to speak grown-up to. Nothing more.

But something happened; I found women who wrapped there arms around me and told me they thought I was brave. They built a wall of safety around our friendship so that I could trust them with my wacky views, my hurts, my inability to stop viewing my parents as super heroes. (This became problematic when I watch my dad flirt with death.)

Now, my husband's travel doesn't bother me. At all. I'm not lonely. If I'm sick I can ask for help...and get it. I can reach out and help too. I'm not just a mom, I am a MOM!!!

So, I finally get it. Good girlfriends are worth more than their weight in gold. Great post.

2/23/08, 9:54 AM  
Blogger AnotherMomCreation said...

That is so wonderful! I so wish I could have had that with someone. But for me my early 20's were all about choosing the wrong friends, mid 20's having children before all my wrong friends and finding new friends in my later 20's.
Now I have great friends, but no real BFF. Not like the one you have.

What a lucky woman you are.

2/23/08, 5:02 PM  
Blogger PeetsMom said...

great post. must nourish the girlfriend bonds - they are so important. thanks.

2/23/08, 5:04 PM  
Blogger GRAY MATTER MATTERS said...

But...um...we didn't get together this weekend...(Though we should have :-))

2/23/08, 5:14 PM  
Blogger the new girl said...

Oh I know that feeling.
Great post, Liz.

2/23/08, 9:27 PM  
Anonymous FireMom said...

This makes me miss my two best friends from college. I now live a state away and sometimes it feels like a world when you factor in our careers and children.

E-mails being sent this afternoon.

Thank you.

2/24/08, 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

My BFF and I have known each other since we were seven. She lives in a neighboring state (not too far from Kristen) and we don't see each other nearly enough. Thank God for unlimited long distance plans! Our daughters, only 7 months apart, met for the first time over Thanksgiving and it appears to be a BFF love connection for them as well.

A beautiful post!

2/25/08, 12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see myself in that story. But with me, it was a best guy friend. I met him about a month before I turned 21. He came out for my 21st birthday and our friendship took off. I mean, seriously, anyone who can still want to be your friend after seeing you that wasted isn't someone to pass by. I dated one of his fraternity brothers who had graduated (before he & I met) and lived a little over 4 hours away. That meant my friend and I had all the time in the world together during the week and quite a few weekends. We either saw each other or talked to each other everyday.

And no, nothing ever happened between us at all. I think that is what drove us apart. I think he was waiting for me to be single so that he and I could be together. I loved him, but not like that at all. Then I met my husband. My mom told me that my friend wouldn't come to my wedding and I said that there was no way he'd miss it. My mom was right - he didn't come. Didn't send a card, didn't call, didn't email... nothing. But we kept in touch (he moved a good 12 hour drive away around the time I got married) and saw each other when he was home to visit.

Then my mom died. He sent flowers to the funeral. He was in town about two months after she died, so I met him & some of his fraternity brothers (also knew them in school) out for a drink. He only said a few words to me & then left to go to another bar without inviting me. He emailed me on my birthday following my mom's death. The subject said "happy birthday", but when I opened the email, there was nothing written. I replied back anyway b/c that was an especially hard birthday and I appreciated him remembering. He never replied and we haven't spoken since. The bar incident was 4 years ago.

I found his email address last night while poking around the internet - you can seriously find anyone!! I emailed him & sent pictures of my daughter. I long to hear back from him (he got married about 16 months ago. I found out about 6 months ago.). I long to even regain a portion of the friendship that we had before. I'm not holding my breath.

Thinking about him still brings tears to my eyes. I thought that we had that connection - we knew what the other was thinking with just a look. We could count on each other when we were going through a rough time. The person who was such an integral part of my life all those years ago is now a painful memory. Maybe we will reconnect with that email. Maybe it will be at a mutual friend's wedding this summer.

One can hope...

2/25/08, 1:29 PM  
Blogger Liz@thisfullhouse.com said...

SHIT - damned thing supposed to be waterproof - you make me cry, sometimes.

2/26/08, 10:33 AM  
Blogger Sus said...

there's nothing nothing nothing in the world like girlfriends. nothing replaces them and no one gets you like they do. i hate that in our day-and-age all of mine live in different states. shouldn't it be like divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood and we should be raising our kids next door to each other??

2/26/08, 2:55 PM  
Blogger Miguelina. said...

Beautiful post, Liz. I never understood women who say they don't need girlfriends. I can't survive without them!

(And how odd to see my old blog name up there in the comments!)

2/26/08, 10:54 PM  
Blogger Woman with a Hatchet said...

This was very very sweet. My best girlfriends keep moving away, out of state. Totally crimps my hangin' with girlfriends style!

Not liking or being liked by the SO is a hard place to be. I have a relationship like that now. Fortunately, she just kind of sidesteps his mild dislike of me. I suspect I'm too much of a feminist for him.

2/27/08, 2:13 PM  

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