Sunny, Mandy, and I have always talked about going away together. We used to imagine a garret apartment in Paris where we would live poverty-stricken, adventurous lives and would know when not to enter our shared flat due to the colored bandana-over-the-doorknob system that told when one of us had a boy over. I love that we never imagined enough money to have our own space; it was always small and close. When Sunny and I met Mandy in junior high, we started sneaking out of our homes and trying to get in trouble.
I think we were all impatient for MORE: more age and freedom and independence. I know that more than anything, I craved experience. I wanted to rack up experiences like bright beads and wear them as a necklace, a hemp necklace. (It was the 90s). I thought about other girls I knew who followed rules better, many of whom I liked and were my friends but who I didn't necessarily feel as inspired by because they weren't as daring. I thought I'd rather question everything and make mistakes and learn my own way. I remember thinking, "I'd want my child to be this way."
This past weekend, Sunny, Mandy and I finally went away together to Union Pier, on Lake Michigan, with their girls Freddie Jane and Sarah Grace, aged 2-and-a-half and 2 years old.
It was nuts in a really calming, wine-drinking, walk to the beach sort of way. In some ways I still see our cravings, the more-more-more thirst for whatever it is we want and in others a bizarrely complementary patience reigns. Slow to marry and mate, their babies are so young and we are all still young enough yet we're 20 years removed from our Paris dream, a dream that specifically wasn't important. None of us had a great love for the French, we just wanted to be out in the world. And we all got into it in our own way.
I know that I'm old enough to be slightly terrified at the idea of all of the above: having kids, not having kids, having my kids be like me. When I was younger, I was glad I was so moody, petulant, and pissed off because I thought that meant I was thinking. Now I'm also glad I got out of a lot of scrapes in one piece because that thinking led me down some dark alleys.
I can't look at these little girls and wish dark alleys upon them for the sake of knowledge. I wish them confidence, joy, and curiosity. I watch them run around in circles, laughing and egging each other on and wonder if they'll get along when they're older. I think it's important that they see us make time for each other so that they'll value friendship. We laugh about how they might turn into princess-cheerleaders, so different than we were but we'll quell the cringe and love that about them, too.
I watched Mandy and Sunny sit on the floor and change their daughters into pajamas. Mandy passed a diaper to Sunny and I almost laughed by how similar they still looked to their high school selves, right down to their clothing. Everything has changed, and nothing.