Sunday, July 12, 2009
Just call out my name...
At Book Club Friday night we were talking about American Wife and its friendship themes, which set us down the path of how we all have friendships with people that have suffered rocky moments but have never fallen away over the years. The luckiest among us have friends we met before we were in double digits that are still going strong -- even if its years between actual real-life sightings.
All of us have friends we’ve met along the way who we may not see often but as soon as we Facebook or email or (gasp!) see them in real life, everything falls away and we’re the same friends we were back when we were together all the time. Friends are important to me -- once I collect one it's hard to give him or her up. And I'm always battling the fact that I don't make enough time to properly take care of them.
My friend Amer struggles too, and she claims to shy away from new friends. "I have enough friends," she'll say when she's met someone new she might like. She's a huge fraud because she always takes them in -- much like she did me not long after I moved to Indy. It took us a while but she's family now and even when she denies me full access to Jenna, I love her.
The importance of friendship was striking chords all weekend because Amer finally let us have Jenna for a sleepover. Alison and Jenna were born less than two months apart and they attended the same Day Nursery until they had to go to school. Back then, Amy and I were together way more then than we get to be now, and the girls were, too.
Both girls are convinced they were able to talk to each other before either emerged, and that they’ll be best friends forever. Amy's worried that Alison will tell Jenna about the birds and the bees before they're 10, but it was Jenna who was telling how "hot" (and I quote) the Jonas brothers are.
I was worried when they went to separate kindergartens and elementary schools that they’d drift apart. But their bond seems to be just as strong as it ever was. When I heard Amer drive up Friday night, I yelled to Ali downstairs that Jenna had arrived. I heard thunder on the stairs as Alison bolted to the front door. As I was opening the door, they were both squealing little pigs about to be fed. Then, they headed straight downstairs.
“Um, hello? Is there a hug in there for me somewhere?” I inquire of the brunette who used to love me.
Jenna gave me the obligatory squeeze and they were off. Amer and I hugged and squealed and then she was off to Drew's baseball game.
Later, when I left for Book Club, the girls could barely be bothered to say goodbye.
Generally, it’s great when Ali has a guest because they’re at an age where they occupy themselves and give the old parental units a nice break. But I haven’t seen Jenna in ages either, and I kind of like her. She used to want to play with me, too! We had fun. We’ve laughed together. We’ve cried together. I’ve shielded her from Captain Reed when she crossed his crazy lines. I've bandaged her cuts and snuck her gum. It would have been OK with me if they’d wanted to hang out with me for a little while.
But no. Jeff didn't fare any better. He told me that after he’d delivered their pizza and taken care of their drink needs, they advised him that they needed a little private time. So he got the heave-ho, too.
I came back from Book Club and they were wrapped up in a movie but ready for bed. They were planning to brave the elements and sleep in the backyard in the tent.
“Want me to sleep with you out here?” I said. (They’re only 8 and we live in a city and you never know what could happen…)
They looked at me through the zippered screen. “Uh, no Mom. Really. We’ll be fine.”
They were sweet about it, but they did everything short of ordering me back to the house. I was so unnecessary. But like Jeff the night before, I had my place.
“Hey, Mom, do you think you would go to the Donut Shoppe in the morning and bring us donuts like you did when Alex was over?”
“Sure, honey. You guys could come with me and pick out what you want, you know.”
“That’s OK. We’ll stay in here,” they said. In unison. And they zipped up the window so I couldn't even see in the tent.
Part of the reason we got Jenna was Drew's baseball schedule and Breanna Tabor's birthday party. I served a useful purpose in ferrying them around and I took full advantage of Amer to get time with Jenna. Back in their Day Nursery days, Ali, Jenna and Bree were the Three Musketeers. Bree split off to go to yet another school, so the girls see each other maybe a couple of times a year.
We need to do better about getting them together. It was just like old times having all three of them together. And it instantly sent that old James Taylor song through my head.
So today, I'm grateful for my friends, for each of whom I'll always be there. If not in person via Facebook, email, the phone and yes, even in person.