I haven’t written on here since August. I just opened this webpage and saw that I wrote, “Think of an idea already” in early September. I have a vague memory of typing that, but the memory is fuzzy for sure. It took some time, but an idea finally arrived.
It was while I was at my niece’s 5th birthday party a few weekends back. It was at a place called Kzam, basically “da club” for birthdays for small children. Complete with a padded jungle gym room, an enclosed dance floor with laser lights, an actual DJ and another room, naturally, to eat the pizza and cupcakes. To be blunt, it was AMAZING! My entire family knows how to party. And my sister in law knows how to take it to the next level. Always.
While I was watching my niece bust a move with her friends, then form a conga line to go into the pizza room, I had a moment where I was thinking what an important role friends play in people’s lives. Here she was, just 5, and hugging and partying with her besties. It made me think of my childhood friend Claudia, who I have also known since I was 5 years old. How many afternoons as we got slightly older, did I spend in the basement of her building? Too many to count. And almost always with a ouija board or focused on our dance moves.
I am one of the very lucky people to count my family as friends and friends as family. I learned from my cousins Melissa and Jackie- how to be in a long distance relationship. We used to write letters constantly across New York state to each other. We still keep in touch, just in other ways. Now I text their kids or like their pictures on Instagram. My brothers and sister in laws are in another category altogether. They have seen me through it all. They have moved me into and out of every apartment I’ve ever lived in Brooklyn and Queens. That alone deserves an award.
My high school friends helped shape my love for the city, guided my first shaky subway rides and showed me all the places we could go with one crappy fake ID. In college at Penn State, I worked in the dining hall with friends, experienced Frat parties, chose a career, stole a ceramic pig, hired a male stripper and essentially evolved into an almost adult with them. There are too many names to list, but without them, I would be clueless about yoga, gay pride, traveling abroad, cramming for exams, Jagermeister, art in many forms, being a bridesmaid, how to be a good roommate and knowing what an email is (I’m serious I sent the first one in college). I would not be the person I am today without my high school or college friends. If they’re not close by, I still talk to many of them on the phone.
My NYC friends hold a dear spot in my heart. I spent my 20’s +30’s with them and still see most of them at least once a month. We had themed parties, wore costumes, created art installations in our living room, sang karaoke and rode the subway home at 4am many a night. We’ve been through family losses, heartbreaks and Sept 11th together. We suffered through grad school in the late 90’s together. We had bad haircuts and even worse style. But we had each other. Hot off the presses: one of the nyc group is getting married in 2 days (whoop whoop).
Work colleagues who have become friends encouraged and supported me as I launched into a private practice years ago. I just saw a friend today and we exchanged very important work materials (stickers and origami paper). In all seriousness though, these friends made me think bigger, approach kids and families by listening more/talking less and made me love my job more than I already do. I can count on them to answer my stray questions or send me in the right direction at any time.
My Hawaii friends have all visited NYC and kept tight for the past 12 years. This summer we powered through a half marathon together and then chilled at a hotel for several days. Almost 5,000 miles apart but they never, ever feel that far.
I was very surprised to be making new friends as I approached 40. The women I run with twice a week at 6:15am have heard story upon story about my already existing group of people. I’m thrilled to count my running friends in there too.
And I keep amassing friends. In the last few years, I’ve also counted friends’ kids in the mix. I write real letters to my friend’s daughters in Germany. I watch Claudia’s sons ride their motorized vehicles in their yard. I see my niece and nephew laugh at each other in my brother’s living room.
Quite simply, I am incredibly, ridiculously lucky to have all these friends in my life. I feel like there needs to be a stronger word than friend, really. They have propped me up, stood by my side, given me leftovers, trimmed my hair, loaned me clothes, danced with me, cheered me on, came with me to pick out my dog and have listened to me probably have the same conversation for over 20 years. I love them and could not imagine ANY part of my life without them.
Then again, that’s what friends are for. The good times, the bad times, they’ll be on my side forever more. And for that I am eternally thankful. I know it’s not national friend day or anything. But thinking about all my friends made me want to hold them tight. So watch out for the extra hugs this weekend people.
bday party: courtesy of me
- A LITTLE LIST OF T-SHIRTS I SAW YESTERDAY
- NEW YEAR. NEW YOU. maybe.