Last November when Scarlet was four months, I was invited to two birthday parties on the same day at different times, both in Jersey. I found this to be very convenient and we made a day trip of it. We had a blast and then got in the car late at night, Scarlet and me sleeping, until we arrived safely at home where we carried her up to bed. This is our style. Sometimes people give me weird looks when I say that we’re going on a road trip to NJ or NY and that we’re not staying over. I guess it’s just that road trips to Jersey are the norm for me and I’ve done them so many times that they’re not a big deal. We all have fun, we get home at a somewhat decent hour, Scarlet magically wakes up the next morning at her normal 7:00 am and it’s like nothing’s changed. Sure, I can no longer do all of the things I used to do – like drive to Key West last minute just because I’m pissed at a frigid January ice storm… But I imagine I’ll get there again. This is how I want to live my life. RSVPing yes to parties hours away. Being awake enough to spend 15 hours driving and partying. Feeling alive.
The two parties in Jersey on the same day at different times thing happened again this year.
But before that, did you ever notice that you can fall in love with people, non-romantically, similarly to how you fall in love romantically? That’s how it works for me. An acquaintance turns into a new friend when I start making one on one plans with them or if that’s not a possibility, maybe I connect more deeply with phone calls or blogging or emails. At first a new friend is almost a novelty – a “Yes! Someone new to hang out with” thing. A new world to discover and explore. And then one day, whether I notice it happening or not, I discover that I love this person, that I’ve fallen in love. And there’s a huge difference. I may feel a rush of affection when I see this person. I may miss them after too long without hanging out. I may feel that love ache just by thinking of this person. It’s wonderful. It’s love in the platonic sense. And you can stay in love for years or forever, even when your proximity and your lives in general change, and change again.
On Saturday, we were invited to a birthday party in Jersey City. We were most likely going anyway because the hosts rock, but our fate was sealed by a second Jersey party invitation. It was to an Indian baby naming ceremony/goodbye party for a friend from high school who is moving to Egypt on Tuesday. She has a near two-year-old and a two-month-old. I could not say no to that. It’s deep. This is a friend who swooped into my life like magic – we met at a mutual friend’s 8th grade graduation party, I believe, and I can’t really remember how we became close a year or two later. It just happened. She saved me from too many years of mismatched friends with whom I had little in common with. She was my partner in crime with everything in life. We shared so much. We lived at each other’s houses. Our parents were second parents to each other. It was so powerful and I’ve never begun to imagine how different life would be without her.
And life happened after high school. We never had a falling out and never truly drifted apart. We just lived separate lives and could pick up again as if no time had passed several times over the years. Some of the dry spells were really long and since we’ve had babies, the dry spells are fewer. I have seen her over the years but I hadn’t seen her brother in seven years and her parents in over ten years. I hadn’t been in her house in just as long. I was so nervous I nearly couldn’t sleep all week. I had no idea what it would be like…
And it was wonderful. I love these people and they treated me like no time had passed. The naming ceremony was very meaningful. Conveniently my mom was in town and got to come to the party. My oldest, close friend, who I’ve known since 4th grade, was there with her family. Another close friend flew in from London. Our children were together and things were so different, and still so comfortably the same. When I was leaving, the hostess’ brother gave me the greatest quote of the day. He said, “I feel like I’m in ‘LOST.’ We have kids now and we’re old!” I cracked up. The whole thing was a mental mind @#$%.
This isn’t really a post about what it’s like to be 30 and having kids or even necessarily what it’s like to see old, close friends. It’s more about how I want to live my life. That nervous feeling I had in my stomach going down that familiar, steep driveway I used to go down daily. The near sleepless night I had in knowing I’d see these people again. Revisiting the past while carrying the squirming future along in our arms. I could have said no and stayed safely in western MA avoiding the long drive and the nerves. But it wouldn’t be what I’m about. I said yes. I’ll always say yes.