I went to a party last night. Not like this wild, raucous party with booze and loud music, but a family birthday party for my best friend Nikki's two youngest daughters. A family party, and my kids and I were invited. Do you know how good that feels? To be thought of as family by your friend?
It felt like family. I helped cook, sat at the table with Grandma, held one of the babies so her mom could eat dinner, played left hand to Nikki's right on piano (our sheet music her childhood lesson book, omg we were in tears and in need of Depends). The kids all ran around like cousins, the big girls devising a play, the boys on Super Mario Bros., the little girls dressing up like princesses. We gathered for a sing-along, Papi playing Beatles tunes on one of the girl's miniature pink guitar, then concluded the night around the fire pit, making s'mores and listening to Nikki's father-in-law tell stories of his trip to Africa. It was the best night I've had in a long time. The kids, too. We needed this.
I'm a firm believer that God puts people in our lives.
I met my best friend Nikki at our kids' bus stop. It wasn't a love at first sight- she was wearing pajamas and I was still wearing post-MG weight. Neither of us were at our cutest, nor looking for a potential friendship. We were harried and trying to get our kids to school. But repeated contact grows relationships, even if just with familiarity. Hello! became How was your weekend? became How are you? became What's your story? and our conversations lasted longer than just getting the kids on the bus. When it turned cold, we started having coffee. It became our morning routine, and it turned into a friendship that is something like soul mates.
I don't know what or how it is you know you can trust a person, but I've known it with Nikki. Innately and without question. Is that chemistry? Divine? It's something, for sure. It's odd, because Nikki and I are so stylistically different. She's a cleaner, I'm an organizer. She listens to dance/pop, I'm an emo/indie girl. She dresses in cute clothes, I, well, I get dressed. She gives in, I stand firm. She's the popular girl and I'm a weirdo. Despite those differences, we're the same. We both believe in something greater than ourselves. We are hopeful. We love our kids intensely. We want to be better people. We want to live life out loud. We're not afraid to look stupid, to sing or dance in front of strangers, or to say something we feel even if it might be intimate. We don't worry about being judged.
Nikki moved a year ago. It was tough not having her down the block, and we worried that it would affect our relationship. Sometimes friendships are built on convenience and separation will cool or divide, but we've grown closer. We've had to make more of an effort, and we've chosen to do so. We've decided to keep each other. I'm so grateful. She's been next to me, supporting me through all the craziness in my life. She watches my kids when I need a break, calls to see how I'm feeling, tells me that all this ugliness is the work I need to do to get to the beautiful part of my life. I believe her. And I would do anything for her.
Right now, that means making her banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
Listening to: BOH, specifically "Neighbor" and the line "There is compassion and depth in the neighbor."