Sixty hours was the total time spent away from my family this weekend and twenty-five percent of it was driving from Southern California to Scottsdale, Arizona and back to spend the weekend with my four best buds. Are you wondering why we would drive a total of 14 hours to bring girlfriends together? Believe me, I have asked myself this question (more than fifty times) and have come up with a bottom line: friendship. As in, that life truth that a friend is someone who knows you land loves you just the same. I am (trying) not to complain about the drive because Suzette had to drive all of her seven hours from Texas to Arizona ALONE. On the bright side, Maki, Aynge and I had each other for live entertainment and shared driving to our midpoint destination between Los Angeles and El Paso…Scottsdale!
Wait, let me introduce you to Suzette, Maki and Aynge. I met my neighbor Suzette when I was fourteen. We double dated to the Backwards dance our freshman year of High School. We asked two friends and they were seniors … our first mistake. I was a midget-sized, brace-faced, self-conscious teen, who had a mad crush on this older guy, who was well over a foot taller than me. After we pinned on corsages while my mother took pictures, my parents walked us out. I had instructed my father to “be cool and make small talk” (as in, “Daaaaad, like totally, don’t embarrass me!”). I told him that Jim’s VW bug was for sale. So my dad took my advice and the next thing you know my father is asking questions, and while opening the back door of his Bug, there parked a cooler of beer and wine in the back of my date’s car! I was as surprised as my dad! The entire night is an awkward teen memory that I will never forget. Why? Because Suzette and I did not want to drink beer in the school parking lot with the senior boys we both had major crushes on. So we didn’t. You would not believe what happened next. Here comes the fuzz! Our dates got totally busted and Suzette and I sat shivering on the curb while our dates poured out every last drop of beer and wine. When we finally went into the dance, it wasn’t even fun. Too much had spoiled what I had hoped to be the most romantic, wonderful night of my Freshman life. Big flop!
I first met Maki in freshman Introductory to Physical Science class. Shortly after that she invited me to Disneyland with her family. So our friendship started in that magical kingdom and continued to blossom all four years of high school. She, like Suzette, was part of our group that celebrated birthdays, trips to the beach, school dances, couple’s Bunco, double dates, wine (of course, I finally discovered the joy of vino!), a Mexican cruise and a trip to Hawaii… along with a giant-sized vat of kid and adult memories. I love her because she is the most laid back and easy-going friend I have ever had. Calm, smart, warm and level-headed. That is Maki and we need her in our group to offset my swinging-chimpanzee-impatient-straight-forward self. Remember life is all about balance!
My junior year is when Aynge joined our group of friends and being that we were both headed to San Diego State University for college our friendship easily turned into a lifer. This spunky Italian-Portuguese lady is my strong, goofy, Jesus friend. Well, I call her my Messiah Friend because we went to this Church retreat in college and took away the truth that the Messiah lives in all of us. Aynge has loved me through my eating disorder, sick baby, horrible boyfriend choices and insecurities, among other things. I have watched her resilience during her sister’s death and her divorce. We share more than similar loud food-loving families, a gym, intense bouts of laughter, love of the sun and big dreams. Especially intense laughter! Have to mention it twice. I was honored to be in her wedding party, along with every other party thrown between the years of 1984 and 2010. You must understand that this chick knows how to get-down and dance all night long (even alone) like a good Italian-Portuguese woman should!
When I think about the times I have made the wrong choice, or struggled (don’t get me started), these are the women that I did not have to put on a mask (or makeup) to feel accepted. I love that I do not have to worry about saying the right thing or holding back and I can just blubber all over the place or pee my pants laughing. It is all good. These gals know all my skeletons, strengths, triumphs, secrets, big mouthness, dreams and quirks. And, get this, they still love me! I know because they keep inviting me to play with them after twenty-seven years. And THAT IS WHY I drove fourteen hours across the hot desert to be with them. Because I love them too!
Cheers to a great weekend and looking forward to the next one!
Riding a unicycle is like life. To be successful and enjoy the ride, they both require tremendous balance and focus. I sit up tall, shoulders back and imagine I am holding one of my young boys under each arm. My best-friend-techie-husband’s hand on my seat (hubba, hubba) to guide me, and my two wiener dogs running alongside, looking like double Dumbos. As I train to ride Blanche, my unicycle, in a half-marathon, I think how good God is as the breeze blows my brown hair, a big smile on my face. Come along for a thrilling one-wheel ride while I do my best to maintain balance... but keep an open mind, there is always something new to learn!