15 years. It’s been 15 years since Ms. Marsell’s English class where I met my best friend. Much like the beginnings of many friendships, we didn’t quite like each other at first. But, we persevered. And throughout the last 15 years, we’ve continued to persevere.
I moved away for the first time (just 45 minutes away, but when you’re 18, that’s an eternity). We were essentially “long distance friends” and it wasn’t easy. But she visited and I visited and we continued to grow together. We made new friends, we were jealous of these new friends, but we slowly realized that no matter how many new friends we made, there would always be a place, a big place, in our hearts for each other.
After college, I moved even farther away — to San Francisco. We had different dreams. Mine: to join the fast-paced city life and become a career woman. Hers: to marry the man of her dreams and start a family. We weren’t headed in the same direction. But when it comes to true friendship, I’ve learned that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you can support each other regardless of whether you know first-hand what they’re going through. What matters is that you can be there for each other despite the physical distance between you or the time that passes between phone calls. What matters is that despite not being physically there, you’re always there. You just get that feeling that something is wrong so you send a text message and get one back saying, “how did you know….?” What matters is that you just know.
Hell, we did more than persevere. Even though we’re physically apart, leading very different lives, we’ve continued to grow together. Somehow, some way, we’ve managed to grow even closer over time. We talk about the big stuff and laugh about the stupid stuff and just be together. And when we’re together, my heart feels whole.
Every year since I moved, she’s come to visit me in San Francisco. She gets to ditch the hubby and kid for a weekend full of girl time. It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year — undivided, quality time together.
This year, she’s pregnant with baby number two and we decided it would be an incredibly special trip if she also brought her 5-year-old daughter framing the trip as the last hurrah before her daughter becomes a big sister.
It’s been hard being 1,200 miles away from my best friend and “niece.” I’ve missed so many little moments as Auntie Lo and now that she’s more of a little human than a baby, I wanted to put together a trip she’ll remember forever.
So, we did.
It’s hard to put into words what I feel seeing my best friend as a mom. I’m proud. I’m overwhelmed. I’m full of joy. I also have a deeper understanding of what it’s like to be utterly exhausted because your 5-year-old has unlimited amounts of energy and wakes up at 6 a.m. wanting to play and color and watch nothing but the same episode of Barbie Dream House on repeat (thanks to The Boyfriend for taking on that lovely task almost every morning).
Things I will always remember from this trip:
- Special “Tub Tub” time with Lush bath bombs that turned the bath water pink and made the munchkin so incredibly happy.
- Reading “Love You Forever” before bed.
- Feeling the new baby kick inside my best friend’s belly.
- Teaching the 5-year-old to tell daddy, “Go home, you’re drunk!” (seriously, this was the best)
- Playing hide-and-seek at Fairyland.
- The cement slides at Children’s Playground in Golden Gate Park.
- Pictures in the park.
- Listening to the 5-year-old try to talk to the sea lions at Pier 39.
- Sitting on the couch with just the adults late at night reminiscing about all the silly things we did as teenagers.
- “Tub Tub” bubble wars.
- The tears that came to me uncontrollably as I watched them both go through security at the airport.
It was a magical trip and I feel so blessed to have them in my life. I’m sure there will be plenty more ups and downs throughout the coming years of our friendship, but I know that no matter what, we’ll persevere. And I’m still trying to get the word “potty” out of my everyday vocabulary.