“I have to tell you, these Thursdays get me through the rest of the week. It’s my favorite day.”
When my friend, Bakang, said this to us last Thursday, Demetria, Lydia and I whole-heartedly agreed.
For the last few months, I have spent all day Thursdays with my three friends. Sometimes we have to move the day if someone has guests or another conflict and sometimes someone can’t join for the entire day. But Thursdays have become our day and even the kids know to wait for the four of us after school if we don’t quite get back on time.
It takes so much time to develop these types of relationships, doesn’t it? Throughout our lives we get thrown into situations with people; we naturally cling to others just to survive and make it through our common experiences. Whether it’s preschool friends, college roommates, fellow members of the soprano section, new neighbors or other parents now taking our own children to preschool, logistics force our lives to collide with others. And we hope friendships remain even when the common experience comes to a close.
I have been thinking of Sarah so much lately. She has been a trooper, putting on a good show when we talk of our return to Middleton. But she is so sad to leave these friends. Because sometimes the connection with others just fits. We can try to figure out why but there isn’t always a describable reason. I am thrilled she gets to stay here three additional weeks to put some closure on this experience and have some summer fun with her friends before the next stage of her life begins. I told her that much of her future will be like this: gathering close friends from short periods of time sharing an experience with others and, in the end, hoping you have a friendships from each of those stages. For her, I think it will be best to look at our return as she did our move here; a new start and a new experience rather than a return so something she thinks will be the same. It won’t. High school will be completely different than middle school with new activities and experiences and new people to share those experiences with. But she will need to discover that for herself. If I can see her smile, it makes all the difference to me. I’m missing that right now because I know this is hard for her. I was happy to see her receive the letter from MHS with her house name. She immediately reached out to a few others back home and spent 30 minutes last evening Skyping with a Middleton friend. If only it wouldn’t have been the 30 minutes right before we had to have her ready for a choir dress rehearsal, I might have savored the call even more.
But I have Thursdays and I’m not thinking about the fact that I only have three left. I’m thinking about our upcoming trip to Reims (the Champagne region) next Tuesday and the gathering they are planning for our families on Demetria’s terrace the night before Elizabeth, Julian and I fly home. I’m thinking about all the cafes we have gone to and scrutinized (bad service, great service, bad coffee*, small coffee, expensive coffee, quaint environment, too much like New York, not enough like New York, well designed, great scones, bad pastries, no pastries, good outside seating, good inside seating), a variety of tucked away museums we have sought out (while this was an impetus to the start of our gatherings, that part of the day has wained as we would prefer just enjoying the time together), all the lunch spots (again, heavy analysis with some places getting a vote for a return and others almost immediately being scratched off the list), and, oh, the shopping. What is it about great girlfriends that, when you try something on, they say, “You HAVE to buy it. It’s perfect. It’s so YOU.” I remember getting together with my high school friends about 10 years ago and we went shoe shopping. I found a great pair of shoes but said, “I have nothing to wear with these and no place to wear them.” And my friend, Suzanne, casually answered, “So you buy the shoes and find the place.” This is what girlfriends are for. Not to remind you of your pocketbook or the common-sense decision you should make. But to remind you that you’re important, you work hard, life is short, and (darn it!) you deserve those shoes!
There are many reasons why people have said we need to stay another year. Thursdays are my reason.
*No, I have not become a coffee drinker. Rather than café creme, I am ordering either a chocolate chaud avec chantilly (hot chocolate with whipped cream) or orange press (freshly squeezed orange juice). Love the idea of a cup of coffee and can even handle the smell. But not the taste.