I don’t remember the exact first moment that I met Liz, but I do remember the first time we hung out with each other. We were new to Richmond and since I commuted to Williamsburg for work and the BackBou is a complete introvert, we hadn’t found a “tribe” close to home. Our dearest friend, Zen Camel, lived nearby and graciously offered up his people to us. So we hosted a Christmas dinner party for a group of people who had been enjoying ritual weekly dinners, laughter, tears, and inside jokes with each other for years.
We were such the outsiders. They tried to include us. We tried to get the jokes. I even tried to enjoy a CD of music from a show I had never heard of called “South Park.” And then the Playboy came out. A Playboy magazine in my house? Who brought this abomination into my hairy-legged feminist domain? Liz? Seeing that I was about to create a “situation,” the BackBou ushered me quickly into the kitchen and told me to breathe, breathe, breathe … it’s okay, the music will stop, the magazine is not ours, and the people will go home. We gave it a try, it didn’t work.
But the Camel and his tribe kept at us. We were hesitant and yet with every subsequent interaction, my resistance lowered. The disorientation of the Christmas dinner party dissolved into intrigue, enjoyment, and even comfort. We began to look forward to parties and events where we would see the Camel and his people. We discovered Mr. S’s deep love of food and keen sense of humor. We were entranced by Liz’s sharp wit and talent for telling stories. I remember trying to position myself close to her at parties so that I could just listen and laugh for the rest of the night.
Then Rosebud was born; Liz and I began seeing each other regularly at our neighborhood playgroup and at the library. I began to depend on her honesty, insight, humor, reverence … and irreverence. I found myself saying “I can’t wait to tell Liz about this!” almost every day. I knew her number by heart. Ever since I was a young child, and in love with the Anne of Green Gables series, I was alert for “kindred spirits.” I had found one in Liz.
The knitting came later, just three years ago. After watching Liz and Mo compare patterns and yarns at the library for so long, I thought, “If these wise, fun women love to knit, it must be a good thing.” What an incredible gift.
This blog began as an opportunity to nurture my friendship with Liz despite the miles that now separate us – a way of compensating for the loss that occurred when our daily dance of phone calls, playgrounds, and impromptu lunches abruptly ended. I also wanted to deepen my friendship with another kindred spirit, Mo – whose current life schedule never seems to mesh easily with mine now that we have elementary-aged children and all the extracurriculars that this entails.
I love remembering that Christmas party almost 10 years ago. I love recalling my sad certainty that Liz just wasn’t going to work out as a friend. I love how absolutely, completely, and brilliantly wrong I was.
*Stay tuned for more Blogiversary Week Posts with, steady yourself, free patterns!