March 17, 2011

My Lifelong Best Friend

JS around the time we first met
Prompted by Julie of From the Mudroom, I'd like to tell you a little about my best friend in the whole world.  Aside from M, of course.

And I don't use that phrase lightly.  I have many CLOSE friends, and a very few friends I would LIKE to call my "Best Friend."  But the title is really reserved for one person, and it feels like a little betrayal to her to use it for anyone else.  So if you're one of my other best of friends, and you know if you are, please don't be offended.  I love you dearly, but there can be only one BEST friend, and for me it will always be my first.  She is not only my best friend, but aside from my sisters she is my oldest friend.  And no matter how much time or distance has kept us apart, nothing ever seems to have changed between us.

Let's call her JS. I have hardly seen her in the past two decades, and we both turn 27 years old this year.

From left: V, Me, and JS at my 7th birthday party
We became best friends in kindergarten, when I thought she looked lonely and offered to let her play with my pony I'd brought for show and tell. It was my favorite toy, and she appreciated the gesture. We spent every afternoon after school playing at each others' houses, but then halfway through first grade, her family moved.  She went from our small New Jersey town to a suburb of Philadelphia about two hours away. We still talked on the phone as much as we could get away with, and every couple of months one of our sets of parents would drive us over to spend a prolonged weekend sleepover at the others house.

Then, when we were eleven, my family made the big move to Michigan.  JS got to come and spend two whole weeks with me over the summer, and after that we just didn't see each other. We wrote letters, we called occasionally, but our regular visits were over forever.

No matter what, we always seemed to grow together.  Whether it was a love of musicals, a burgeoning talent, an addiction to a particular flavor of literature... we always seemed to have it in common.

Me, JS, B, C, and Aunt Genocide at my 8th birthday party
When I was a teenager my super-cool parents let me take a road trip all by myself to spend most of a summer visiting friends and family on the east coast.  Of course I stopped and visited JS.  Originally, the plan was that she would spend a weekend with me- we'd drive to New York City to visit my aunt and uncle, and I would drive her back.  It was a great opportunity, we told her parents.  When I showed up after weeks living in a car wearing a patchwork skirt and a van full of watercolored canvases, her mom took one look at this scruffy, stinky, hippie-dippie girl she hadn't seen in five years and put the cabash on that leg of the trip. Instead, JS stayed home and got pregnant- I'm sure that taught her mom a lesson. The next time I saw her was the next summer, before going off to college, and she had her brand new beautiful baby boy. She was my first friend to become a parent, and I learned a lot about what that really meant watching her, talking to her, and hearing the occasional horror story about the early months of her older son's life.

I didn't see her again for more than five years, until my wedding. I would have asked her to be my maid of honor, but I thought that considering that she was juggling a failing marriage, two children, and lived halfway across the country maybe she didn't need the stress. She stayed with me and my husband after the wedding- one of the best presents I could have ever asked for.
Jac and JS at my Bachelorette Party

I've seen her once since then. Later that same summer my husband and I went to the east coast, and visited her family for the weekend. She had left her abusive POS husband and was living the single-mom dream.  I don't know how, but she has a knack for attracting really wonderful people to her- people who help out around the house, who fall in love with her kids... everyone that knows her seems to think that just having her around makes them lucky.  I feel that way.  She's an amazing lady, she truly is.

These days, we talk rarely. Maybe every couple of months.  We just both suck at using the phone, and we're both really busy people in general.  But every single time it's as though no time at all has passed- we're still the same little girls getting into trouble for building camp fires behind her parents' house, or staying up into all hours of the night singing The Little Mermaid.

JS- a Rock Star mom at Sesame Place in '08
She is, and always will be, my very best friend. We watched each other grow from dumb kids into (I think) remarkable- or at the very least competent and adult- people. We've counseled each other through our crises, given advice on each others children and significant others, and mused about one day living close enough that our kids (her sons are a little older than my daughters) could fall madly in love with each other and get married someday.

It probably won't happen. She's done very well for herself starting a business out in the Philly area and it would be very hard for her to move, and my husband's career is best suited to stay around Chicago.  But we can still dream.

And as life gets slightly less complicated, as our kids get older and our finances more secure, maybe someday we can go back to seeing each other for a weekend every few months.  Just like old times.


  1. I have no idea how I stumbled onto your blog, but this post had me crying my eyes out, for I too have a JS! Excellent post. I will definitely be back!

  2. this post is amazing. i know how difficult it is to go through cancer with someone you love. i have been trying to write a post about my experience since starting to blog and I haven't yet but I feel inspired by reading yours. thank you for joining in. I am honoured. xxxxxxx



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