Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The love you take

They say, whoever “they” are, that you should consider yourself lucky if you have two good friends.  Apparently some statistic somewhere has proven that if you’ve got two people you trust to be true blue, to—as the cool kids say—have your back, to depend on when the chips are down*, to lean on and/or think of when that nauseating Dionne Warwick & Friends song** comes on, then you’re L-U-C-K-Y lucky, Internet.  My favorite and most resonating piece of advice that my Uncle Sal ever gave me was to choose your friends wisely; that the people you surround yourself with are a direct reflection of who you are and that they will, undoubtedly, affect the course of your life.  You can’t choose the family you’re borne to, but you can choose the family you create with the friends you hold dear.  And that has remained my personal, universal truth.  I feel like I’m always aware of and so very grateful for my pals, but I got a not-so-gentle reminder a couple of weeks ago when I was tasked with calling my Auntie Micki’s best girlfriends of 70+ years to tell them that she was nearing her end.  If you know me, you know that I simmer with emotion on a good day…that anything even too happy can send me straight in to the weepies with appreciation***.  So imagine how my phone call with “Auntie” Helen went.  Exactly, you guys.  And, despite feeling sad for my Aunties losing their mom and all of the grandkids who were so sad, what struck me most at the funeral was seeing Helen and Josie, hand in hand, walking up to say goodbye to one of their feisty little trio.  All three fancy, all three full of the dickens, all three with their own signature coiffeurs, they were friends for decades and decades.  They were in each other’s weddings; they raised their kids together and shared life’s happinesses and its sorrows.  Seeing them together and knowing my very own cluster of besties sat a few rows behind that afternoon  reminded me to never take for granted the people we choose.
There’s a photo in my house that I see every day.  And every time I spy it, it always fills me with adoration for these sisters of my heart, with such deep gratitude for being so bless-bless-blessed with the very best-best-best friends a gal could ever hope to have.  There are a couple missing—surely up to something slightly more fabulous that kept them from traipsing around with us in our platform slides****that weekend of San Francisco treating and Napa wine tasting--from this snapshot but, as with any picture of my beautiful motley crew, I always think of them collectively.  Kind of like they’re there even though you can’t see them*****.  Look, I ain’t gonna lie…I know I’m super, duper lucky in the best friend department.  More so than most and I’m so grateful for these blessings.  I have more than two people to call in a pinch.  I have cultivated some amazing, invaluable friendships above and beyond these lunatics gemstones, some that I know are angels sent to help me navigate my way through this thing called life******.  But the memory of this little moment in time never fails to bring me right back to center.  This photo was taken months after two of us buried parents and after, unbeknownst to them, each of the now-wedded had already met their eventual beloveds and baby daddies.  It’s us on the precipice of being big girls and grownups.

Two of my most favorite things: bubbles and these broads. Domain Chandon circa 1999

This year I celebrate 20 years of friendship with these dames.  This little troupe that my Uncle Bob still and always refers to as “The College Girls!(and Carlos)”.  20 years!  I can’t even believe it.  They are my dynamic rainmakers.  Among them Masters (Mistresses?) of Business and Masterful Mommies.  Some both.  They awe and inspire me.  They always make me proud to be in their orbit.  I have laughed and cried, traveled and fought, mourned and celebrated with them.  Together we have navigated through joy and heartbreak.  It amazes me the life’s dance we’ve unknowingly perfected.  That when one stumbles, the others rise to the occasion.  Like our own relay race of survival through friendship...when one falls, the others carry you to the finish.  (Or ply you with copious amounts of booze.  Same same.)  They know when to circle the wagons.  They know when to pop a cork and toast.  They are my people, my cheering section, my village, my team, my soul mates, my straight-shooters, and my sisters.  I have seen them triumph and succeed with humility, and handle failure and disappointment with grace and dignity.  They encourage when you falter and humble when you peacock.  If your ego needs knocking down a peg or twenty, they’ll do it just as quickly as they will inspire you to take what’s yours.  The hours and hours spent cooking and sipping and scheming and solving all of the world’s problems are too numerous to count*******.  You need a recipe, a laugh or a disgusting story about motherhood?  These are your girls.  You need to get talked down from a ledge or riled up about an injustice?  These are your girls.  You need to be reminded that Doritos are not appropriate breakfast food and that people really, truly LIKE going to the gym every damn day?  These are your (annoying) girls.  I'm grateful to have them on my side.
So of all of the pictures of all of the trips and special times we’ve been fortunate enough to have together, this one remains my most cherished.  And every time I see this snapshot I feel so lucky that these girls are my allegiance and my alliance.  I will never forget what a special and exciting time of life this was for all of us.  And I know that somewhere out there, possibly still in Nob Hill, there’s a scared little pizza delivery boy twelve years older now but scarred for life at having the fortunate misfortune of delivering a couple of pies to these wicked city women after a day of wine tasting.  We’re sorry, whatever your name was!  But only a little.                                    

*I always wonder if this is a gambling reference.  Like at the blackjack table?  Or like at your party if your Frito bowl is low?  Either way: where my friends at?!
**”Keep smiling.”? “Keep shinin’.”?  How about you keep your bossy boots to yourself, Dionne.
***Me=BARREL OF LAUGHS, people.  This is why I had to stop watching Extreme Home Makeover.  And Hallmark commercials.
****Ah, the ‘90s!
******I’m like Prince!
*******Over 7634926769.  At least.  Which reminds me that we (Heather) need(s) to schedule the next Supper Club Extravaganza.


  1. I would Photoshop myself into that pic if it wouldn't frighten the others. LOVE this. Because I always think this about you: You have a remarkable capacity to have remarkable friendships. And I'm glad to be (a late blooming) one of them! Love love love you!!! xo

  2. You are so lucky! I have one bestie. She's priceless.

    I couldn't imagine how amazing I would be if I had a gaggle of them!! Answer: Probably half as amazing as you ;)

  3. Thanks for a good Saturday morning cry! Ahhh, I needed that. I do love that picture, too, although why didn't anyone tell me that my hair did NOT look good in that so called "French Twist" I always wore it in. TERRIBLE!

    I do still think of that poor pizza boy-what we thought would be a thrill of a lifetime instead probably did some serious damage to his psyche!!

    Thank you for recapping 20 years so eloquently, as always. It has been a bumpy ride but I've been blessed to be with you through so much...let's see how the next 20 go! I love, love, love you so!

  4. Possibly my favorite post so far! I always tell [warn] people (especially men)that you can't trust women who don't have solid female friendships...mark my words: there's always some sort of personality issue going on! That being said, I love that you have an entire gaggle of gal pals in your life. You are so, so blessed! (As they are as well, for having you!)

  5. My thanks for your words and love to you, you sweet, wonderful, wonderous girls! xoxo