Last night, my husband was at work, and my best friend’s husband was out of town. That can only mean one thing: A lengthy phone call and a bottle of wine.
I’ve been friends with Laurie since I was 5 years old, and she was 4, and we met on the sidewalk outside our homes on Winthrop Drive in Elyria, Ohio. (She will dispute this.) It’s been 31 years of being best, best friends.
Nobody knows me like Laurie does. She knows all the ex-boyfriends, bad fashion decisions, friend drama, work history, running history, baby-making and baby-losing history. She knows what worries me, makes me happy and annoys me.
We haven’t lived near each other for about 15 years, but we have a long history of written correspondence, and we continue that with regular emails.
Brief history: We met as kindergarteners, and then our parents both moved to apartments, again, right next door to each other. Then she moved to Florida, and I moved to Rhode Island. We lost touch. My parents divorced. One summer, I was in Ohio visiting my dad when he randomly ran into her dad at Cedar Point, in Sandusky, Ohio. Believe it or not, Laurie and her family were there on a trip. We reconnected — joyfully — and vowed to stay in touch. We did, through letters, for the next several years.
She came to visit me in high school. Then I went to visit her in college. And when she needed to make some changes in her life, she chose to come and live with me in Athens, Ohio, while I finished school and she waited tables. She started a new life there, and we continued our friendship — over coffee, cigarettes, magazines and more at our kitchen table in our dilapidated college house we shared with a group of guys.
We’ve both moved around a lot in the past 15 years — I went from Ohio to Minnesota to South Dakota. She went from Ohio to Memphis, to Mississippi to Miami and now to Philadelphia.
We both got pregnant in 2008. But while mine led to Jack, hers ended in sadness. It was a challenge for our friendship — to celebrate one baby while mourning another. She was an incredible friend through it, selfless and kind and still interested in what was going on with me, even though I know it was painful for her. I hope I was even half the friend to her she was to me then.
She came here to visit in 2009, and took some of the most beautiful photos of Jack.
And this one, which I love:
And right after that visit, she found out she was pregnant. That pregnancy, too, ended sadly. But Laurie got pregnant again and had her daughter in March 2010. Beautiful Quinn Mary.One of my favorite parts of our friendship was the conversation I had with her when she went into labor — but was still in denial about it. She called me at work, and it was SO obvious that she was in labor, and she just kept thinking, nah, I don’t think so. Of course, Quinn was born that night. It was pretty funny to talk to her on the phone during her early labor.
(When I was in labor with Jack, Laurie texted my phone for an update from my husband. It was right about time to push for me, and I remember FREAKING OUT on Philip to turn the mother f-ing phone OFF. I like to remind her of that. Daily. “Hey, remember when you CALLED ME IN LABOR?” Of course, she replies, “Shut up. I TEXTED you. GOD.”
Finally, we were both moms, and our conversations turned to that. Breastfeeding challenges, post-partum running challenges (also known as, “I just peed myself.”), working mom challenges, daycare worries, toddlery, family planning and more.
I am so lucky to have this friend. As close as a sister. Closer, in some ways.
So last night, we spent three hours on the phone, each with a bottle of wine, talking and laughing and loving life. We texted each other bedtime photos right beforehand.I’ll spare you the photo of Genevieve crying her hate out before she fell asleep.
Soon after these photos were sent, I poured myself a big old glass of wine and settled on the couch to talk to my best, oldest friend.
The conversation? Old boyfriends. Bad fashion choices. Daycare. Work. Family. Husbands. Toddler milestones. The challenges of a new baby. More old boyfriends (what is it with that topic?). Running injuries. Friends. Discussion about how we both have the world’s smallest kitchens.
This is what we looked like, I am sure:
Then, when we finally got off the phone, we continued to talk, as we texted each other about how NICE it was to chat on the phone and then blabbed about how much we love each other.
It’s true. I mean, you have to love someone to wear a magenta dress in their wedding (her). And I loved her enough to throw her Barbie kitchen across the garage when we were kids in a fit of rage. Perhaps that is where my kids get their toddlery??
Anyway. It felt so good to talk with my friend. I am so, so lucky. Blessed, really, to have a friend like this.
I love you so much, Lory pory.