In the summer before my third grade my mother packed my brother and I into our ancient Volvo station wagon and moved our asses the five hours from Goshen, N.Y. to Bow, N.H. Our cat was locked up in a card board box in between us in the back seat. Tiger (the cat) used her glinty talons to cut through that measly box and then she proceeded to take laps around the car, panting as if in heat, and shedding her winter coat, all over (what seemed to be) me. I then had one of the biggest allergic reactions I can ever remember having. There have not been many.
This "move" would prove to be a turning point in my life with girl friends. Up until this point I had wonderful friendships. I walked to and from Kindergarten every day with my best friend Brandi. We stopped every day to laugh with the crossing guard. After Kindergarten we moved from P.A. to N.Y. and I spent every waking moment with my best friend Meredith. I remember bike rides, ear piercings, county fairs, listening to her mother's Barry Manilow 8 tracks. There was never any turmoil. There was never any hearts broken, tears, back stabbing, gossip. We were only 7. I know this has something to do with it.
But when we moved to N.H., my life with girlfriends turned into a daily struggle of survival. With the exception of my first friend, Bridget, who has proved to be my longest too, I surrounded myself with the coolest (and meanest) girls on the block. Needless to say, I wasn't the Queen Bee and I spent the next ten years trying to maneuver my way through the hive without pissing the Queen Bee off. I don't look back at these years as my best girl friend years.
When I got to Iowa, I was thrown into a sorority of girls...all field hockey players. We spent 24-7 with each other. I didn't meet too many other girls. Sure, there were the other female athletes but, as a cohesive unit, no one could get into my inner circle of teammates. Here was the one problem, I would befriend a senior and then they would leave. Or I would befriend a freshman, and then I would leave. So there too, I left with one (first and longest) friend...Debbie.
I don't ever think of myself as having problems finding friends, it's just I've never been in a place where I've made friends, good girl friends, who share the same interests and who support each other, and respect each other, and love each other unconditionally. Until now. When Paul Bunyan and I moved to VT, the Good Friend fairy bestowed upon me the phone number of the 'one who would forever change my girlfriend woes'. And after joining 'E' and the other wombats that eventful night in October 2002, I feel blessed to say I have found a group of women for whom I am so thankful to have in my life. My barometer of a successful relationship is whether or not the person makes you a better person. And I'm happy to say that these women make me a better person...all of them. Each in their own way.
Kendall- even though you are the Goddess Who is Gone, thank you for showing me how to follow my heart with no regrets, ever.
Rebecca- thank you for showing me that the love for a child has no boundaries.
Cath- thank you for showing me how to be more socially graceful.
E- thank you for showing me that I deserve more than what I give myself.
Katy- thank you for being a devoted friend, who would be there in an instant for me.
Mud- thank you for accepting me, only me, always me, as just me and no one else.
Jen- thank you for this:
So, I'm sorry to just give you a snippit of this because the rest is, quite frankly, beautiful. But I couldn't find a larger MB retro memory stick that would fit into my circa 2002 video camera, which would have allowed me to upload longer chunks of video. So you'll have to take my word for it: Jen blew the competition out of the water. She was the only contestant to be asked back out on stage for more applause from the audience. All these histrionics, however, were for charity as the event raised money for Vermont Cares, a non-profit "committee" for AIDS resources, education, and services. But who cares about that? (just kidding) All we really wanted was for Jen to win the whole shabang and take home the golden ticket (yea, one really trippy trip into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory). So, needless to say, when the winners were announced and Jen's name wasn't called, we were flabbergasted. Jen's husband approached the judges that night and asked, in better terms, "what the hell?" and I guess one of the judges turned to him and asked, "oh, you mean 'the dancer'?". Right. It was a singing competition...the title of which was "Moms Who Rock". If Jen didn't ROCK, no one else on that stage came close.
So a few days later while I was driving my monster mini van to school (again) I saw Jen at an intersection. I rolled down Liebe's window and yelled out to her, "Yo, Rockin' Mom, what the hell? What did they say?" She giggled, light heartedly, and said, "Well, they said my routine was inappropriate for a family audience." Okay, well, so maybe the whole comb the long beaver bush episode (to honor her college nickname 'Willow') wasn't super appropriate, but the crowd went crazy for her. She rocked it. She rocked the singing. She rocked the appeal to the audience. And no one has even mentioned her rockin' body...oh, right, I'm the only one speaking.
Well, Jen, what it comes down to is this: thank you for you. For always rockin' it...wherever you are. Whether it be the BEST Halloween costumes, on the mountain bike trail, as an Adonis snow boarder. And if they think that "dancing" was inappropriate. That ain't inappropriate. Because I got lots of you at inappropriate, and that doesn't come close. But your inappropriate makes me a better person and as far as I'm concerned, that's the best kind a girl friend a girl can have.