Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My two best friends

I don't have a single person that I can think of who changed my life, but there are two people who are incredibly important to me and I can without a doubt say that I would not be where I am today without both of them.

I wrote a bit about it, when I talked about things that happened in my life 10 years ago. Without their intervention on that Memorial Day weekend in 1997, I doubt that I would have been able to make the changes that I needed to make and probably would have ended up in an unhappy marriage to someone that I did not really love but was too scared to leave. And I have a suspicion that the relationship would likely have turned violent at some point, given his past history of violence against things like walls, doors and belongings. Just knowing that my friends were there for me and were willing to make the effort to help me - even taking time off of work and driving across the state to move me out... I will always be so grateful.

The three of us met in college. The first time that I ever met Mary, my roommate had invited her to stay overnight in our apartment so that she could attend an event at the campus ministry that they were both involved in - Mary was living home with her parents about an hour away and commuting to school. Although my roommate had invited her, it was Mary and I who stayed up talking for 4 hours. And we've been close friends ever since. For 17 years! Wow, that's almost half of my life... We roomed together for 2 years - although mostly in name only since she was practically living with her boyfriend (now husband) for most of that time. We've been there for each other for every event, major or minor, in our lives. We've known each other longer than our respective spouses have and our children are growing up together as friends. We haven't lived in the same city since those college days, but we have driven back and forth visiting each other (we did stay in the same state, thank goodness!) several times a year and we talk on the phone for hours every weekend.

Mary has 2 kids - Matthew is 10 1/2 and Emma is 4, just a few months younger than Hannah. We've dubbed the two girls "double trouble", LOL. They love getting together and having the chance to play. Abby plays with Matthew but as he's getting older, he's been less inclined to play with a 6-year-old girl. Matthew is (absolutely without question, very, very) ADHD and some strong similarities between the two of them is one thing that has made me wonder if Abby may have it as well. Mary is also expecting her third baby right now - she's due in January and her due date is on Becca's 2nd birthday! She's already RSVP'd that they won't make it to Becca's party, LOL.

Kristi and I met originally through the same campus ministry program that I had become involved in through Mary and my first roommate. We got to know each other well though because our boyfriends at the time became roommates. There were 5 of us who hung out in the guys' apartment (which happened to be 2 houses down from where I lived). Kristi and Mark, Mike and me, and Greg. Greg never really dated anyone that year but somehow the 5 of us were a great group and some of the best times of my life were spent in that cheap, run-down student apartment. Kristi and I bonded as the only two girls in the group and we spent a lot of time together. When Mary got married in 1993 and officially moved out of my apartment, Kristi moved in since the guys had gone their separate ways. She had also been living with family and commuting in to school, so the timing worked out wonderfully for her to move closer to campus anyway. Within a few weeks of that school year starting, both of us were single again, so we grew even closer through late-night conversations in our adjoining loft beds and midnight chocolate runs. Mary and Kristi had also become friends with each other by this point too. After I graduated and moved out on my own, the three of us got together every Thursday for "Ladies Night Out", rotating at whose place we met at and the host cooked dinner for the three of us. These were the early days of Friends and ER and we grew even closer over 'Must-See TV'.

Kristi married Steve right at Christmas of 1996. I was in her wedding - Mary wasn't because she was 9 months pregnant with Matthew. She boogied down at the reception though, hoping to get things moving along! Matthew waited a bit longer though, arriving just 2 days later. Kristi and Steve tried living away from Michigan for a couple of years, but found that they couldn't stay away so thankfully moved back. They waited several years to start a family and their oldest boy, Noah was born 5 months before Hannah. Aaron came along a couple of years later. I don't know if they're going to have any more or not - it changes pretty much every time I talk to her. Or see her, which is fairly often since they live about 5 minutes away. We get together often and she is the only one I can call at a moment's notice for a run to the mall after the kids are all in bed. She is also my Black Friday shopping buddy and we have had some of the best times hanging out with her family in their backyard.

Here's a photo of the only time that the 3 of us have been pregnant at the same time - Kristi in her 3rd trimester with Noah, me in my 2nd trimester with Hannah, and Mary just in her first trimester with Emma:

And here's a picture from Noah's first birthday party of the three of us with our families. My family is over on the left, Kristi's is right down the middle and Mary's is on the right:

We haven't taken a recent group photo, mostly for the reason that Mary and Kristi have only seen each other through me since the picture above was taken. Kristi and Mary's husband Dave had a falling-out and even though both of them have lately been willing to be in the same place as each other, it just hasn't worked out. Most of the time when Mary comes to visit, Dave has to work and stays home (Ron also hasn't gone with me to visit her in quite a while for the same reason). The three of us have been together pretty much only for Noah's birthday parties since he was born on July 4th and Mary comes to visit me over that holiday every year.

Here's a photo taken at Barnes and Noble last year of all 7 kids. Ignore Hannah's washed out face and messy hair - they were all pretty tired out at this point! From left to right = Hannah (mine), Aaron (Kristi's), Matthew and Emma (Mary's), Abby holding Becca (mine) and Noah (Kristi's):

I think I need to make the effort to get the three of us (six of us, really) back together somehow. Between money problems (for all of us!), gas prices, husbands' schedules and 7 (soon to be 8) kids between us, that might be a bit difficult! But very definitely worth it.

This post is a submission for the group writing project over at Summer's Nook, on the topic of a person (or people) who changed my life.

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4 wonderful people said...:

lewisca3 said...

Hey Deb, this was a great blog...you have inspired me to start one myself outside of myspace - www.myspace.com/lewisch -to a blogger site - http://lewisquartet.blogspot.com

You three have been quite the trio... through thinck an thin...it is good to have such a support group behind you as life continues on!

Summer said...

What a wonderful tribute to your friends!
True friends will save you from yourself if need be, as seems the case with this man you were dating.
It is often easier for others looking from the outside in to see if we are in a situation that is not good for us. Thank you so much for participating.
Again, great post!

ZAM said...

Indeed, people can be instrumental to our changing

Laane said...

What a lovely photo..you all on the stairs.

Going with others through the same phase in life is such a good experience.

All 9 of us of the first pregnancy gymnastic club, kept meeting, with growing families, untill the husbands got work out of town and they had to move.

It was such a precious time.

I'm so happy for you.