This summer I have the honor and privilege of being in two of my closest friends' weddings. I am a bride's maid in one, and the matron of honor in the other. I feel awful, because with the recent events, I feel like I have neglected my duties. Bride A, we will call her Ann, has been my friend since fifth grade. She is a strong minded, thick skinned, mother of two who has had a life full of trials and tribulations. She deserves her new life with her new husband more than anyone I know, and I want to be a part of, and assist in, any aspect she needs leading up to her big day. As her matron of honor, I feel like I have been so tied up with my own problems, that I have not been able to participate in some important tasks, such as tying bows around 350 favors. With the anticipation of the new baby, I was afraid I would not be able to partake in one of her bridal showers, and would not be able to throw the bachelorette party she deserves. Today, however, I was excited to accompany her to her first bridal shower which I previously thought I would miss. Ann, her mother Mrs. F, another old friend and bridesmaid Becca, and I took a nice long drive to northern Ohio to kickoff the countdown to D-day. We had fun, reminisced, and enjoyed each others company.
Ann and I were two peas in a pod all through high school. We had so many adventures, and took full advantage of our poor, naive, unsuspecting mothers. (I will probably get yelled at for this later). We didn't even have to rehearse our stories for our mothers, who work together and compare notes. We seemed to read each other's minds, and without consulting, would magically have the same "innocent" accounts of our weekends. The summer of our senior year Mr. and Mrs. F invited me along on their annual family vacation to Myrtle Beach. We took the long route and stopped at a few landmarks on the way. There were so many adventures during the trip, but one event in particular was a source of our laughter and entertainment today, 12 years later.
On our road trip, we stayed in hotel rooms along the way. The first night we all slept in the same room, I was kept up all night by the musical talents of Mr. F's snoring. Ann and I were sharing one of the queen sized beds and neither one of us were getting any sleep. Now, I was aware at the time that I had a tendency to sleep walk, but was not prepared for what happened the next night.
That second night Ann was smart. Instead of attempting to sleep through Mr. F's version of "white noise", she decided to sleep out in the mini van where it was quiet. I thought that since I was so tired, I would have no problem sleeping, especially since I had a whole queen size bed to myself. As I drifted in and out of sleep, interrupted frequently by the indoor foghorn, a gypsy lady entered the room, roused me from my sleep, and informed me there was a big tent in the parking lot with comfy beds and no snoring. I got up, put on my shoes, and followed her out the hotel room door right into the parking lot. As the door swung shut and locked behind me, I startled, looked around and found myself in an empty, dark parking lot. I had just walked outside in my sleep! After I realized what I had done, I turned around to let myself back into the room. The door was locked. I knocked and knocked, trying to rouse someone in the room to let me back in. I am not surprised my desperate knocks were not heard over Mr. F's snoring. I had no clue what I was going to do.
Then I realized Ann was in the van. I walked over to it and knocked on the window. She sat straight up and looked as scared and surprised as I am sure I looked when I found myself in the parking lot. When she realized it was me, and not some maniac trying to hijack the car, she unlocked the doors and let me in. I curled up on the second bench and quickly fell asleep. I have never slept so well in a vehicle!
This is just one of the many things we laughed about on our two hour drive today. I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had. I have to admit I was nervous. This was the first time I have ventured out that far from my husband since we lost Rosie, and I was terrified of how I would be around Becca. Becca and I have known each other for years. Although we have run with the same crowds, attended the same schools, and were teammates on the swim team for 6+ years, we have never been as close as I would have liked. Don't get me wrong, we are friends, but not as close as you would think with all of our history. Becca had a beautiful baby girl ten weeks ago. I was so nervous that I would be jealous of her, or sad and emotional because she had stories of her newborn that I wish I had. However, as conversation turned to her daughter, and to the loss of mine, I still felt a bond with her as a mother. I found myself not jealous, but intrigued and happy for her. By the end of the day, when I dropped her off at her house, if her daughter had been home, I would have loved to have seen her. This was NOT the reaction I had expected, but I am very glad this is the reaction I had. Becca and I are combining forces to throw Ann the bachelorette party of dreams, and hopefully we will be able to add a fun filled chapter to Ann's life story.
Ann and I have tons of stories! We have had a roller coaster of a friendship. We have drifted apart once or twice, but have always found our way back and been there for each other through some of the hardest times of our lives. I am so blessed to have her in my life, and I just hope that from here on out I can live up to the expectations of a great matron of honor, because it truly is an honor to be chosen to stand beside her as she starts her new journey in life.
“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”
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