Saturday, October 24, 2009

Her

If you are lucky enough, you have one of Her. Or maybe even more than one. Her being that friend who knows you - knows your secrets and your flaws. She has stood beside you during the roughest times and celebrated with you during the joyous times. I have been fortunate in that I have several friends who are Her. They are the ladies who laugh with me and at me. They understand me when I don't make sense and they straighten me out when I need it.
But there is one, in particular, who has been doing these duties for longer than I care to think about.

Kate and I met when we were in grade school - her grandparents lived across the street from my babysitter. She thought I was bossy. I thought she was timid. She was right, I wasn't.

It wasn't until we entered the precarious world of middle school that Kate and I became friends. And to tell you the truth, I don't even know how it happened - I am just thankful it did.

We spent hours together, daily, being girls. We huddled around the lunch table, we told secrets at recess, we watched each others' backs. Most weekends involved a sleep over at one of our houses.

We got in trouble together - whether it was breaking curfew in high school or sneaking into R rated movies in middle school, we would usually be together and we would usually get caught. Her parents became mine, my mother became hers.

One of the best things about our friendship is that, except for our occasional bitchiness, we are really not similar.
She spent high school in the drama department, emoting. If she wasn't on stage at school, then she was at the local theater company or had her nose shoved in a book. I spent high school doing sports and editing the yearbook, being annoyingly upbeat. She is tall and thin and graceful. I am short, occasionally a bit round, and klutzy.
When I thought she was too wrapped up in a play and not taking care of herself, I would come back to school in the evening and leave a meal in her locker. When I was working on yearbook deadlines late into the evening, she would deliver copious amounts of caffeine. We never liked the same boys. We shared most of the same friends, although we each had our own. She had a crush on my older brother, I was jealous that she had a sister. At graduation, I wore stylish sandals - she wore green Doc Martens.

We headed off to college with promises to be in touch. She went to NYU to tackle the world of drama. I headed off to Loyola, in love with Chicago. When her parents said good-bye to her, she sobbed in an elevator. When my mom drove away, I cried on a curb.

We emailed each other and called when we could. School breaks were filled with the same familiar laughter, swapping stories of city adventures, and reminiscing.

She told me when she thought my boyfriends were dicks, but gave my now husband the stamp of approval.
We've mourned losing friends too young and have celebrated major milestones together.
She held my hand while my mother had a radical mastectomy. She stood at the altar when I said "I do". She called me when Addie entered the world.

These days we live in drastically different worlds.
She splits time between New York City and Paris. She acts and models and works her tiny little ass off. She wears two-and-half-inch high heels and a vintage fur coat.
I split my time in middle America between laundry, cleaning, story time and a mommy and me workout class. I remind myself, as I read Lizzy's Do's and Don'ts for the four thousandth time, that I have a masters degree. On a good day I am in clogs and a fleece.

It's our differences and our memories that keep our friendship so vibrant. The fact that we live in different worlds keeps it grounded and real. After over 20 years of witnessing each others' triumphs and bad choices, of worrying and rejoicing together, we just get each other. It's effortless. We don't talk every day, or week, or even month. We're lucky if we see each other once a year. But even now, far removed from the angst of middle school, we've still got each others' backs.
Lucky me.
Lucky her.
But most of all, lucky Addie - how many little girls this day in age get to have a Fairy Godmother?

Not many.

And not one as fabulous as Kate.

4 comments:

Aunt Janet said...

Beautiful friendship(ships), where would we be without it/them. You are blessed.

Kathy said...

amen!!!

Mich said...

Well said! Reading that made me miss my Her. And you know what? Kathryn and I were in 1st grade together and we both thought each other was bitchy...apparently 1st graders are good at reading people.

Jo said...

I've been blessed to have a "her" myself. I am the you piece (the mom etc), she is the Kate(career etc). She is the fairy godmother to my kids! You once again brought tears to my eyes. I read your blog to smile, laugh and get all choked up.