My, How Times Change…

11 Jan

Tonight I got together with my two best friends for a tradition that dates back almost ten years: Girls’ Wine Night. Throughout the years, our wine nights have served different purposes: sometimes we celebrate a new job, a new boyfriend, a new adventure; other times we’re lending support through a difficult relationship, a crappy boss, bad news.

When we were younger, our formula for determining supplies was something like, “A bottle per person and one for the pot.” It wasn’t uncommon for wine nights to stretch to midnight, followed by a day of texting blow-by-blow specifics of what we were eating to stabilize our stomachs. Healthy, right?

Really though, the point has never been the drinking. It’s the talking. We are each other’s sounding boards. It was at wine night in 2002 that I floated the idea of moving to France to write a novel – and it was met with enthusiastic support, encouraging me to take one of the biggest risks of my life. It’s where Holly announced she was going to quit her job and go back to law school. It’s where we discussed the details of Liz’s wedding.

And then last spring, seated at the table in Liz’s back yard, Holly was on a rant about the gash she had in her foot when suddenly she looked at Liz’s drink, said, “Good – you’re drinking – so that means you’re not pregnant yet, right?” And Liz just smiled and said, “It’s  a soda, not wine.”

And just like that, the dynamic of our wine nights changed forever.

This fall Liz became a mom a few weeks earlier than expected when Jackson decided to join the world on Friday the 13th of November. He has been a good influence: since his arrival, we stay a little more sober so we won’t risk getting butterfingers and accidentally drop him, and we take turns doing squats with him in our arms – which doubles as a workout – to help hush him when he’s fussy. (Props to Holly for patenting that move.)

We still talk. But now Jackson’s part of the conversation. Not only do we talk about his eating habits, his sleeping schedule and Liz’s adjustment to motherhood… we talk directly to Jackson, too. We tell him how much love is in the world for him, and – just so he’s clear on it – let him know that he’ll be welcome to seek refuge at either of our homes when he gets in trouble in high school. Because that is what friends are for.

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