For my first Friendship Friday post, I have chosen my friendship with L.A. to share with my readers.
I met L.A. during my senior year of high school. She was a sophomore at the time. We were in dance class together and would try to make each other laugh when we had to do these silly dance exercises every day. I think we slipped easily into a friendship. I don't know what the catalyst was or how we really became close. All I know is that I was invited to her 16th birthday party that spring and by the summer (after I had graduated), we would hang out or talk every day. We would chat on the phone all throughout the Ricki Lake show and would laugh every time an Eagle Insurance commercial came on. We even made a parody of it with my dog and called it Beagle Insurance. My sister taped over it though.
That same summer, she was my accomplice to "Rocky Horror" many times and I thank her for putting up with my obsession with the show. (She will attest that I used to say the audience participation lines while listening to the soundtrack in my car.) She and I also highlighted the steamy scenes in V.C. Andrews books and would laugh over them together. We also spent lots of time at the mall. I invited her to see "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" with my family and me for my 18th birthday.
Throughout the time I was in college, we stayed in touch through letters, e-mails, phone calls, etc. We'd always hang out when I came home for holiday or seasonal breaks. When she went to college, I would visit her a few times. She even connected me with a close friend of hers who was attending my college. (That's another "Friendship Friday" story for another time.)
There was a time during one of my summer breaks when I decided to take L.A. to the mall with me on a rainy Thursday night so that I could get my left ear triple pierced (as well as get my right ear double pierced). On the way there, my car stalled. She and I got it over to a nearby restaurant (which is no longer there, unfortunately). One of the guys working there was kind enough to look at it and then told me I needed "angel oil." He had an accent so that's what I thought he said. We managed to get it started again and drove over to a gas station, where I asked the attendant for angel oil. He thought I was crazy and she and I had a good laugh about it. I ended up purchasing engine oil, but my car was okay by then and I didn't need it after all.
Over the next few years, we continued to hang out as often as we could and would end up talking for countless hours. Once we sat at our favorite Chinese restaurant laughing about a mutual connection we just found out about. During the spring of 2000, she invited me to join her for dinner on her birthday. On the train ride back, she was there for a major epiphany I had about my life. And when we got to my car, I played her an 80's song with her name in it that she had never heard before that time. The following year, we both had some bad luck with guys we liked and decided to spend a weekend shopping, lamenting and seeing "Bridget Jones's Diary." She gave me some words of wisdom that helped through that period in my life and made me feel more empowered. That summer, she introduced me to Pad Thai during another girl's day we had to celebrate my birthday. Over time, our taste in books changed from V.C. Andrews to chick lit and we recommended and exchanged numerous novels.
The following year is when we both met our (now) husbands. Meanwhile, she was in graduate school and it kept her busy a lot of the time. When she got her degree, she had a party to celebrate and we met some other close friends that way (I have a "Friendship Friday" post in mind for one of them, as well). Her husband (then boyfriend) and I graduated the same year from the same high school, after being in school together since the 5th grade, so the party was also like a mini-high school reunion (as was their wedding 2 years later.)
Oddly enough, we didn’t stand up in each other’s weddings. Normally, I would have asked her to stand up in mine, but she had already been in a few weddings and was planning to be in more, closer to the time of my wedding. I didn’t want to overwhelm her with even more bridesmaid demands and the cost of yet another dress. In turn, I wasn’t asked to stand up in her wedding. I wasn’t bothered about this since I was 6 months pregnant at the time (nor did I expect to be asked...my expectations had chaged a lot by then anyway). I was just happy to be there to share in her special day and was glad she could also share in mine. Between the times of our weddings, we took my husband and her fiancée with to see “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.” It was cool to know that we were in a different place in our lives between the times the first and second Bridget Jones movies came out.
After I had my first child and L.A. and her husband moved to the south suburbs, we didn’t get to hang out as often. We’d still make plans to get together, but it was more sporadic. The first movie I saw at a theater after I became a mom was with her. We saw “In Her Shoes,” as we were both into Jennifer Weiner’s books. (In the past, we had a tradition of buying her books together on the day they came out.) When I moved out east, we stayed in touch and still got together when I came back to town for visits. We even met up when she and her husband came to NYC for a weekend (she was pregnant with her first child at that time). She also was the only one to predict that my second child would be a boy.
Nowadays, between her work and parenting schedules, it’s harder for us to stay in touch. I would love for her to get on Facebook, but that’s wishful thinking. Her husband is on there and he shares lots of pictures of their son, including ones that she is in. We play a lot of phone tag, but we finally got a chance to talk last week. I hope we’ll continue to stay in touch as our lives continue to move in parallel directions, no matter how far the mileage is between us. I'm grateful for her friendship and our long lasting history and I know that no matter what else happens, we'll always have "angel oil."