You know those parents who are easy targets for a judgy eye roll because they live vicariously though their kids? The ones who hit the 3 at the buzzer to clinch the league title, nail the landing off the beam, or god forbid even bend forward in all their thirty-two glimmering teeth smiles as the crown is placed high atop their heads, only to be jolted awake to the 25 years-has-gone-by-present? Yeah. I’m not like that.
I AM however living in such a state of deja vu I can barely stand it. My forever best friend and I looked nothing alike growing up. Still don’t. Chels had a mess of dark Jewish curls and brown eyes; I had an on purpose mess of 80’s dirty blonde hair and blue eyes. Miraculously we now both have blonde hair, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is, we were best friends then and we are best friends now, only the hair color is not the only change in the landscape.
“This is hard,” she told me.
“Dude, collectively we have like 3 divorces, 3 bouts of cancer, 3 teenagers, 3-ish we should never have (you know) with (you know)’s…this is a piece of cake,” I replied, as utter hysteria had already erupted at the self-deprication under the heading of you can never make any of it up.
As I hung up with her moments ago and the standard exchange of “Love you, Bye!” was blurted out in tandem laugh-like English, I realized in a very profound way that she and I are Liv and Mariam. Liv and Mariam are her and I.
Liv looks like me; Mariam has a mess of dark hair and brown eyes. They speak their own annoying language and laugh at jokes that go beyond inside. They spend seemingly every waking moment of free time together only to be texting each other when not sharing the same air space. The only difference between them and us is what we can neither replace or get back – more than 25 years of shared experiences and memories from which to pull and reminisce in times of trouble in order to stay sane. Or in some cases, not, I suppose.
I don’t want Liv to go. I never wanted to move away from Chels.
I selfishly want Liv to revert back to any age before twelve.
I wanted Chels and I be the easy targets living vicariously through our daughters who would grow up together.
But we can’t always (Cue my hatred for The Stones right now)…
Instead I find myself sitting alone in my basement office feeling so many emotions I can’t even slow down enough to capture one of them. My heart hurts; my heart is full. My steel trap memory causes me to cackle belly laughs and be terrified all in one fell swoop because HOLE-EEE *$%@ if Liv and Mariam follow in our Big Ten footsteps. Please, no. Just…please.
Even though you know a day in your life is coming – that season of life which is inevitable – when it arrives there is literally nothing which could have properly prepared you for the ensuing loss of control. Loss of direction. Loss of appetite. Loss of clarity. Loss of any feeling other than the wetness of streaming tears down your face. And especially the loss of a lifetime friend.
But thankfully, as Chels reminded me tonight – loss doesn’t always equal gone forever. It sometimes means only change for a season of life.
And summer still has 7 weeks to go.