This week's Friendship Friday post is about E.S.
I met E.S. through L.A. in September 2003. L.A. had a grad school graduation party and was friends with E.S.'s husband, so she invited them both to attend. When I first met E.S., I thought she was all sophisticated and was almost intimidated by her. Then we were all sitting and chatting with a group of people and I brought up the movie "Camp," which I had recently seen. She and I then discovered one of the first things we had in common...a love for anything Broadway related. Then we got to talking more and I found out that she had the same band at her wedding that we'd be having for ours. She also had a similar ceremony (including a badeken beforehand) to what we were going to have. We exchanged numbers before she left the party and then didn't get a chance to hang out until November. I did run into her at a Yom Kippur service in October though. It was nice to find a friendly face amongst a sea of strangers and her presence made the service more comfortable. When we finally went out, it was on a double date with our husbands (mine was still my fiancee at the time). After dinner, we hung out to watch their wedding video to get ideas for our ceremony. Then they invited us to go out with them and a big group of their friends that Saturday night.
Our second outing involved watching "Willy Wonka..." in a van and cramming into a small Italian restaurant with about 20 people. On the way back, we bonded over some crazy stories. A few weeks later, she invited us over for what would be the first of many Shabbat meals together.
We continued to get together often and confide in each other a lot, especially as the months got closer toward my wedding and I was going through a lot of pre-wedding stress. The week leading up to my bachelorette party really brought to light what a true friend she was. A bunch of plans had fallen through and there were a lot of people confused about what was going on for that Saturday. She offered to step in and take care of everything, and I let her. Along with my sister, she put together a plan and contacted everyone to alert them to the changes. I didn't have to worry about a thing. I had only known her about 5 months, but at that instant, I felt like I had been friends with her for years.
Over the few short months that we knew each other at the time, we came up with a bunch of inside jokes and would stay up past midnight playing board games together with our husbands. We'd get together often for meals, shopping, etc. I introduced her to my sister and they became close, as well.
After our wedding, she and her husband moved into a townhouse and their move inspired us to look for a townhouse of our own. We found one a few weeks later. We went out to celebrate with them and found out that evening that she was pregnant with her first child. She was one of my first friends to have a baby and I was really excited for this next step in her life. (I had other friends who had babies a few years earlier, but I had lost touch with them.)
We spent a lot of the summer at Dairy Queen, even though she would tell us that we were "forcing" her to go there. We also went to movies a lot. In the fall, she invited us over for a Rosh Hashanah meal. We continued to hang out and do the usual "girlfriend" things, knowing she'd have more responsibilities soon. The night before she had her baby, she went out with another friend and me to get pancakes. Then we ended up walking around Jewel for a while. We called it her "last hurrah." After she had her baby, we visited her the next day at the hospital. Something must have been in the water then because I really wanted a baby after I held hers for the first time. I became pregnant a month later and she was the first friend with whom I shared the news when it was safe to do so (after telling my family, of course).
She helped me a lot during my pregnancy, once she found out. She loaned me a book, maternity clothes and gave me lots of advice. She was very supportive during all my pre-baby emotional breakdowns and always helped me feel better. I tried to convince myself I was having a girl because I wanted her daughter to have a "girlfriend" type of friendship like we had. I thought they could be like "Connie and Carla" and act out songs from Broadway musicals. Lo and behold, it wasn't meant to be, but I had a potential boyfriend for her daughter instead. :) She was the only friend (along with her husband) who came to visit after my older son was born. Her daughter immediately liked him the first time she met him. We had lots of playdates for the kids and they were instant friends.
E.S. was also one of the first friends I told when I found out we were moving to NJ. Her reaction is what spurned me to tell everyone at once via e-mail instead of having more cry fests. She was also the last friend I saw right before we left Illinois. (We all had dinner together the night before.) I was very sad to leave her behind, but time eventually heals all wounds and we knew that we'd have the phone and Internet to keep us connected. We also make sure to get together whenever my family and I come back to Chicago for visits. Since she's close friends with my sister, I always get to hear updates on her life that way too. During the summer of 2008, we hung out a few times and she got to meet my younger son, who took to her right away. He must have sensed that she was pregnant, long before I did (even though I got a hint when she ordered Sprite with her dinner). She came to visit us in the fall of 2008, along with my sister and another friend. We had a fun time hanging out and doing "girlfriend" things again (shopping, naturally). She also got to eat in our sukkah during that time. A few months later, she had her second child (another girl...a potential match for my other boy ;) ).
Nowadays, we still catch up online and I plan to spend time with her when we're in town again this summer. Our friendship has been more laid back lately (we comment on each other's Facebook posts, but haven't had much time to catch up otherwise), but there's also that comfortability with knowing that we're still part of each other's lives. I appreciate her friendship always. No matter what happens in the future or how often we get together or stay in touch, we'll always have motherhood to bond over...and Broadway too!