I have been blessed with many great friends in my life, but one stands out among the rest. It’s my BFF Liz. It’s a deeply rooted friendship. We celebrate our children’s milestones, we applaud each other’s successes, we keep our deepest secrets and we mourn our greatest losses. We met when we were just young teens in Jr. High and our friendship has spanned more than thirty years. It’s an enduring relationship because we give and take. She gives, I take.
In high school, Liz and I were very different. She played sports; I was in drama club and chorus. But she was very supportive of my interests. As a matter of fact, Liz never missed one of my performances. Whether it was a concert or four nights of a play, I could always count on her to be in the audience. Now ask me how many of Liz’s games I attended. Not many. And by not many, I mean none. Well, I was busy with rehearsals! Plus, it wasn’t like I’d be in a heated auditorium with comfy seats. I’d have to climb steep bleachers in my high heels and endure bad-hair weather! (In our yearbook there’s an outdoor picture of me and Liz. She wrote, “One time in four years your hair was messed up; glad somebody got a picture of it!”)
Liz and I both stayed home for college. We commuted everyday to school and had part-time jobs. She worked at Harmon Drugs, I worked at”the mall”. After work, around 9:30 PM we would meet and go to a diner. One night we went to TWO diners. Those were wild and crazy times. But it was during those years that Liz started traveling with my family. My sister was married and my parents wanted me to have a companion, so Liz came along. My favorite story was when Liz and I met two cute guys our age in a Florida hotel lounge (the drinking age was 18 back then). I claimed the short blonde; she had the tall brown haired guy. We went up to their hotel suite. (Only now do I understand why my father went totally ballistic when he found out about that.) After some alone “couple” time Liz asked if we could switch guys and I gave her the blonde. So don’t say I never did anything for her!
Time quickly passed and before you knew it we graduated college and were married women. I was the first to have a baby and as luck would have it, Liz wound up babysitting Julie while I taught school. Her son had just been born and she stopped working in the city. She needed the money and I needed the sitter so it worked out perfectly for both of us. Many years later, it was just assumed she would watch Gabby. We never even discussed it. On Labor Day, Liz just said, “I’ll pick Gabby up tomorrow” and that was that. Of course, what she didn’t tell me was that she was pregnant (with her second child). She didn’t want me to worry that I’d have no one to watch Gabby for the few weeks after she gave birth. So she waited until she had found a fill-in to tell me. All in one breath she said “I’m pregnant but I HAVE SOMEBODY TO WATCH GABBY!” Gee, if I had known, perhaps I wouldn’t have asked her to “help me” put together my patio furniture the week before. There she was on her hands and knees, hammering and screwing while I’m pouring her iced tea. How was I supposed to know she was pregnant?
Some things never change. Last Summer I wanted to fill in my garden beds with some perennials. Liz graciously volunteered to bring over some cuttings from her own garden to save me the expense of buying new plants. She came over with all the plants, a huge bag of soil and a shovel. (She knew me well enough to know that there was no way I owned a shovel, let alone ever dug a hole.) So, she dug the holes and I put in the plants. It was extremely hot out and I was sweating profusely. I said to Liz, “Ya know, I don’t remember ever sweating this much as a kid when I did manual labor”. Liz’s response to me was, “I don’t remember you ever doing manual labor!”
A year ago was Hurricane Irene. I love when I tell people I had to evacuate and they picture me in a high school gym on a cot. The truth is, Liz opened her home to me and it was like staying in a Bed and Breakfast. She made a gourmet dinner and for breakfast the next morning (after a sleepless night) she made a fresh pot of coffee, eggs, bacon and English muffins. Would it have killed her to make potatoes?
Of course I told Liz my next blog was going to be about her. Kiddingly she asked, “Am I going to read it and wonder why we’re still friends?” But the truth is, I had already asked myself that same question. So I decided to dig out our yearbook and look back at our relationship. She wrote, “What I love about you most of all is your outstanding wit and personality which seems to draw people to you… Knowing you has made me a better person… You instilled confidence in me I guess I always lacked…Your friendship means more to me than I could ever put down in words.” After reading that, I realized I must’ve been giving something all these years!
She ended with, “Remember the old and look forward to the new”. And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing for the last three decades. Best friends forever? Not a doubt in my mind.