Friday, March 29, 2013

I can't believe I said that....

I talk about some crazy shit with my friends. In the course of one conversation, Geek and I will talk about kids, morons at the office, deal we found while shopping, an upcoming trip, ideas for Easter eggs, other people, stomach distress and periods.  In no particular order and with no segue from one topic to the other. It’s total free association and we just get it.

Neiman and I do the same thing. We go from houses to boys to dogs, dogs with gas, to her mom, my daughter and some stupid ass political issue only to close out the conversation with a quick touch on the topic of pooping and boobs (which come up in every conversation with her.)  The entire conversation may have been 10 minutes.

Recently, Lips waxed me. No, she wasn’t down in my nether regions – she did my brows and my upper lip (don’t judge, it’s the first time I’ve done my lip.) In the span of 10 minutes we covered annoying kids, annoying dogs, waxing your nethers and the mishaps that can occur and she aggressively removed two blackheads.  True friendship.

My sisters and I are the same.  I was visiting with mini-mom; we talked about the upcoming B’nai Mitzvah for her kids, the illness of a dear friend, bras, hair color, recipes, home decorating, travel, dogs and it’s likely constipation came up.

And, despite all these crazy-ass conversations, I am stunned when mini-me pulls random shit out of thin air to talk about. Seriously, we’re walking the dog and she says, “I wonder what she was thinking about when I saw her do that thing the other day,” as if I knew just what she was talking about….or we will be talking about school and she will ask me if she can see a specific movie three weeks from now or why the sky is blue.  Both of these are way more important than our talk about school. I joke that a conversation with her is similar to talking to someone on acid – it’s free association times ten. But then, I realize the apple did not fall far from the tree.

I know my mom and Big Susan talked this way as well. With a single word, a glance – they knew just what the other was thinking though Big Susan was often thinking something way nicer than my mom. They could finish each others sentences and more than once I heard one of them say, “I was just thinking that…” or "me, too."

Is it our comfort with one another that lets us move from one topic to another? Do we drop our guard so much with our friends that we can chat about anything? And, can we often rightly assume that our minds move at the same pace and in the same direction that the random change of topic only enhances the conversation?  Is this the mark of people that are such good friends they just get it?

I sure hope so because I have to take a shower and can’t wait to try this new shower gel and did you get the new Vanity Fair yet? WTF was she thinking?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I will remember you....

I will remember you, will you remember me? Don't let your life pass you by ~ Weep not for the memories ~Sarah McLachlan

It’s been one year. One year since the original Big Susan joined my mother in the big kitchen in the sky. I know you’re saying “kitchen?” – well, yes, kitchen.  My greatest memories are of Big Susan and my mom doing something in the kitchen – roasting chicken, making brisket, making chicken, tuna or salmon salad (where Big Susan would leave the onions out because Andy doesn’t like them – my mother would never have done that for one of her kids) or doing the dishes.  They seemed to reach a special level of contentment when around one another and I always found comfort in that.

I know this year has been a hard one.  Defining a new normal without her has been painful.  I know they each miss her in their own way and each person’s grief is different. I know the ache to hear the voice one more time, to see a smile, hear a laugh or hold a hand.

Mom and Big Susan – you still inspire me. My friends are more important to me today than yesterday or the day before.  I tell mini-me your stories and she looks at your pictures.  She sees pictures of the kids and the grandkids – she knows their names and knows that a visit back home won’t be complete without seeing whoever is in town.  She knows you were “besties” – she knows why friends are so important.

Rona – if I can face life’s challenges with half your grace and humor I will be lucky.  I hope you can hear the crazy ass conversations we have in my head. I miss you madly.

To those friends who have faded from my life for one reason or another – I choose to remember what we laughed about.   Whatever reason drove us apart happened for a reason. I choose to take the lesson learned – as hard as it may have been – as just another way for me to become wiser and truly be the kind of friend I would want in return. For that I will be grateful.

So, on this special anniversary, remember your friends who are not with you anymore. Don’t think about the loss or the pain associated with it.  Don’t linger on the “what-ifs” or “what might have beens.”  Don’t second guess decisions or choices that were made.  Don’t re-hash that last disagreement or remember the annoying trait. Don’t think about that last fight – the one that made you stop being friends.

Remember what made the two of you laugh. Remember a lesson learned and what made you a wee bit smarter. Remember the first moment when you realized you would be friends – and that time you knew you were best friends – that you had found your Big Susan.  Think about the crazy conversations or the trouble you got into together.  Smile at the one thing that always makes you think of that person.

Today, remember why you were friends in the first place.  And, pay it forward.

Francine Wolf Fox, 1931 - 2009
Susan Shapiro Schlosser, 1931-2012
Rona Diane Majower, 1964 - 1999

Remembering all our memories, and it’s times like these that I miss you most, remembering when we were so close. ~ Unknown

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cha-cha-cha-cha changes.....

In the last few months, I’ve seen some friends make some pretty big changes in their lives.  Having a front row – or in some cases, a far away balcony – view to these transformations is pretty fucking amazing.

Lips lives in my ‘hood. She gets me. She gets me so much that I trusted her with my hair. For those that know me – you know what a big deal that is.  You see, Lips took a leap of faith and went back to school this January.  She’s channeling all of her creativity, nurturing and desire to make people feel better about themselves into changing the way we see ourselves – literally. Lips went to hair school. I’m sure there’s a more legitimate name for it but you get the point.  She’s learning to cut, layer, do-up, do-down, color, cover and highlight. More importantly – perhaps most importantly, she’s following her heart and doing what makes her happy. Her boys watch her study while they do their homework, they see her put in long days at school and still come home and be mom and wife.  They have risen to the occasion and their whole family is better for it.  The most hilarious change – and I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t point this out – is the new scooter. And really, I laugh my ass off every morning when I see her scooter off to school with her helmet and over the shoulder bag – off to learn more about the art of being beautiful. I think she’s already nailed it.
Then there is my friend – I’ll call her seeker. We have lost touch over the last few years and primarily keep up on Facebook. She’s taken a professional risk that she and I talked about years ago and I’m thrilled to see that she appears to be thriving and happy.  There is no one more suited to be a guide, mentor, trainer than this amazing woman.  She is super smart, more motivated than most that I know, devoted to her kids and family – and friends.  We don’t talk often but thinking about what she has done actually motivated me to send her a note just wish her well. Now, if I could only be half as motivated as she is to do something about my ass.

Some of the changes I’ve seen folks go through are less obvious but often even more dramatic – more life changing. For those people, I applaud loudly…but only when I’m in a room by myself lest no one be made aware that isn’t already in the know. After all, some folks like to pull up their dress and show the world their new panties (mini-me used to do this and my mother assured me I did the same) and others like to just smile and revel in the feel of that new cotton privately.

As I’ve watched my friends weather these changes – whether they were intentional or more unexpected, I realize that intent is not the issue. What matters is how you deal, how you respond and whether you can try to embrace the crazy journey you’re on.

This is so true as I’ve watched Neiman weather cancer treatment. Were there tears? Yep. Did she get mad? Uh-huh.  But most importantly, she decided those things wouldn’t change it and she moved through that journey with humor, grace and determination. She came through the process with less hair and a potty mouth.  The hair is growing back but I think the potty mouth is here to stay.

I’ve made changes – new friends have come into my life and I’m grateful for what they have brought.  For those friends I have lost, well, I can appreciate the good times we had and know that I learned some good lessons about what I expect - both from my friends and myself – in that crazy relationship called friendship.

At the end of the day, my friends have changed – as I’m sure I have - and that may require patience, humor and a cocktail or three.  They may not be the same friends I first met – they are better. Way better.