50 Stories, Week 48: To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before, Part 3

I’d had this idea to write stories about all the wonderful women and friendships in my life. It started out well but as this 50 Stories, 50 Weeks project went on and I started grad school, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to do everyone justice in the next few weeks. So I’m lovingly cramming these ladies into one admiration post today. I am incredibly grateful to know so many smart, funny, tenacious, beautiful, resourceful women like these ones…

Antoinette –  About fifteen years ago, Antoinette became one of my housemates. There was the regular fun of being single with another similarly aged woman, staying up drinking wine and talking about the state of the world. But one year, early on, I got the flu – something I hadn’t had since I was a child. I have never felt so badly, even since. For two full days, I slept on the living room couch and crawled back and forth to the bathroom. And I had Jackson. When I called his Dad to tell him I felt like I was dying and had a fever and couldn’t actually care for our 8 year old kid, he said deal with it – it’s your time with him. Throughout, Antoinette cared for me, made lunch for Jackson and kept him entertained. She brought me tea and tissues. She nursed me back to health. And those actions will never be forgotten. 

Rachel – When Jackson was about three years old, I’d befriended a group of Francophile moms through his preschool and met Rachel at a birthday party for one of their toddlers. I was elated to meet someone so kind and sweet who had a boy the same age as Jackson. Turns out she also liked karaoke and great food and relaxing by pools, which is my jam. She was always generous to us – everything from delivering backpacks full of clothes for my boy to babysitting while I went on many unsuccessful dates. Most importantly, she manages not to express any judgement around my life choices, which I’m always appreciative of. One time, we had a funny road trip to LA (so she could be a model for her designer friend for Project Runway) where her car broke down. She took it in stride and we still had a blast. Oh and she’s gorgeous and stylish, which inspires me to put a little effort into my self-care.

Mandy – When I worked at an ad agency in SF, I dated from the pool of available men there. It was easy pickings and I was a busy single Mom so I didn’t have much time to be discerning. One of the guys I dated there was friends with Mandy and her husband Aaron so despite the relationship being a disaster, I’m so grateful to him for the introduction. I came to love Mandy’s pink (or blue) hair, her dorkiness, and desire to exercise all of her creative outlets. I love her bravery, her honesty – knowing her limitations and boundaries but also wanting to push herself. She is hilarious with a dry wit and a fantastic player of board games.

Sheelu – There are way too many anecdotes about my bestie but here’s a quick one… Eleventh grade, we were on a field trip to Montreal with our French class. We decided to have a party in our hotel room. We invited a few boys, threw some beer in the tub, and I taught Sheelu how to smoke pot. Then came the knock at the door – chaperones kicked everyone out, said they smelled marijuana, and threatened to call the mounties to test our thc level. Sheelu semi-convinced them that the smell was her religious incense she burns when praying. On the bus ride home, we wondered if the chaperones would tell her parents and what they would do to her. I remember not being worried at all about me getting in trouble with my parents which made me kind of sad. We were already friends then, close friends, best friends, but something about surviving stupid youth in another country cemented a lifetime relationship.

Sarah, Erica, Melissa – I’m not even sure how or when we became a quadruplet. I’d known Sarah for years as my close friend and housemate, she knew Erica and Melissa through her days working at an architectural bookstore. I remember going to a party at Melissa’s house, which might have been the first time it felt like a foursome. And then dinner parties and drinks and friendship, oh my. Over time, we began an email chain where Melissa would send us our horoscopes every Wednesday and this would prompt a general check in. Eventually that turned into a group text where we pop on and off, keeping the conversation flowing. We’ve babysat for each other, officiated a wedding, advised on career changes and finances, held on tight through traumas, and laughed through the inevitability of our changing bodies.

And these aren’t even all of the wonderful women I know and call friends. Individually, they are all sharp and engaging, but collectively I think they could take over the world.

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