On Saturday night, my oldest friend got married.
We have been friends for every minute of our thirty-one years, and this was a big day.
All day on Saturday we sat in a massive suite in a beautiful hotel and we did the things that girls do on the day of a wedding. We donned robes with our initials on them and there was hair and makeup and cocktails and special cake that you can only find in one particular bakery in one particular Pittsburgh neighborhood. And there was laughing and fun and heels and a big white dress and four navy dresses and an aisle to walk down and a big party to go to and a room filled with people who have known me and who have known her for all of our lives.
And somewhere in the middle of that party the DJ called me up to make my speech.
And this is what I said:
I am sitting cross-legged on the floor looking through old pictures. Turning pages of photo albums, some yellowed with age, the pictures curled at the sides from years and years of handling, and some brand new, the pictures printed and delivered to my house only days ago.
And as it sometimes happens, the past and present seem to collapse together and in that moment I see us both as we were and as we are. As baby girls and as grown women.
And these are the pictures that tell our story.
We’re newborn babies, sitting in strollers in my back-yard, pushed side-by-side by my mom and yours.
We’re two. We are eating popcorn and holding hands and running through Storybook Forest wearing raincoats with the hoods pulled up, mine blue and green, yours pink and purple.
We’re five, and we dragged those itchy yellow lounge chairs into the pool at Parkway like we always did even though the lifeguards got mad. And then the whistle blew for adult swim and we sat on dry chairs, wrapped in towels, eating French fries from the snack bar and I know that yours were probably the only parents there that day because mine never let me eat French fries from the snack bar at Parkway.
We’re nine and sitting on the floor of your room surrounded by magazines while Michael Jackson’s Bad blares from the record player. Your mom yells up the stairs asking us what we want for lunch and Ben tries to get in but you slam the door shut and yell that we’re having girl time and we fall into fits of hysterical laughter and leap up to jump on the bed as Smooth Criminal starts playing.
We’re twelve and we buy dresses together for my bat mitzvah. Mine is a sailor suit and yours is white with red flowers and they come with hats and for some inexplicable reason we think hats are a smashing idea. And the weekend of the big event we sprawl on the floor of my bathroom and we shave our legs together for the first time with pink razors and men’s shaving cream and we make a huge mess because that’s just what you do when you’re twelve and it’s bat mitzvah season.
We’re almost thirteen and we’re sitting cross-legged on your bed and in between us is the brochure for my fancy new school in Florida because that’s where my family is moving at the end of the year. And your mom talks and talks about all the amazing things the school has, like two swimming pools and ceramics classes, because I’m sure that’s what my mom told her to do. But we look at each other and we know it’s really not that amazing at all.
We’re sixteen and I’m back in Pittsburgh for a visit. We get hot chocolate and we meet up with more friends and we go upstreet and walk around like we own the place because we kind of do.
We’re twenty-four and on the very same early morning study schedule for the New York bar exam so we start our days with a 6am g-chat about criminal law, New York practice, our respective early morning trips to Dunkin Donuts, the size of our coffees (large), the kind of donuts we picked (usually with sprinkles), and what we’ll do when it’s all finally over.
We’re twenty-six and we’re New York City girls and our weeks consist of work, e-mails about work, Steeler bars on Sundays, and dinner and Dancing With the Stars on Monday nights at your 50th Street apartment while we talk about whether people at your office know that you and Brian are dating and when we think David will propose.
We’re twenty-seven and when David does propose late one Thursday night I call and wake you up out of a sound sleep with the news. And seven months later you’re standing next to me when I get married in the very same room where we danced at your bat mitzvah fourteen years before.
We’re twenty-eight and I force you to train for a half-marathon with me and you show how good of a friend you are by not actually killing me when I end up with a stress fracture and you end up having to run the whole thing by yourself.
We’re thirty and we go to Tiffany so you can try on engagement rings and we follow that up with celebratory pizza. And a few weeks later when my phone rings and I see that it’s you I know exactly what you are calling to tell me.
Today we are thirty-one. Today is thirty-one years, six months, and ten days of friendship. Today starts a new chapter in our story that started way back at a BBYO convention when our moms were twelve. And today, it’s an exquisite privilege to watch my best friend, my forever friend, start a brand new beginning and step into a future of possibility with the one who has filled her life with love.
So here’s to you, and here’s to us. To all the years that are behind us, and to the ones – maybe the very best ones - that still lie ahead.
|Back when our moms pushed us in strollers|