Like it did for a lot of people, middle school sucked for me. Absolutely S-U-C-K-E-D. People were awful, mean, nasty, and I hated every second of my two years in that hell. High school was my new beginning. Most of the kids from my high school went to our neighborhood school, but I went to a magnet school across town. It was awesome to meet all new people. I stopped doing synchronized swimming after 4 years and decided to focus on traditional competitive swimming as a freshman, and I was great at it. I took art and dance and excelled at science. I discovered contact lenses and hair blow dryers. It was a totally new world. I made friends - people who liked me and were kind and included me at lunch and after school activities.
At the end of the school year, one of the closest friends I'd made, S, was celebrating her birthday with a sleep-over and invited me to her party. I was SO excited. She had fun friends, including people I had classes with but hadn't really had a chance to get to know. One of them was R. She was sweet, pretty, funny, well-dressed, talented in sports, confident, and popular. She was someone that I admired from afar and aspired to be perceived like.
The night of S's party, I was a little like a fish out of water. Most of the girls had gone to S's middle school and knew each other. Some knew me, others didn't. I wasn't a super girly girl, and all these girls were. They were playing with makeup and doing their hair and talking about boys. I sort of sat back and observed a lot of it, not wanting to do or say the wrong thing. Out of nowhere, R walked over to me as I was sitting on S's bed geek bopping, handed me a brush, and said "brush my hair." She crossed one foot over the other, and in one graceful move, spun and landed with her legs crossed sitting in front of me.
I have to tell you about R's hair. It was long, blonde, and perfectly done every day. Every.day. She did it straight, curly, up, down, but her bangs were perfect mid-90's glory that could have withstood a hurricane. Her hair was what I could only assume was her Thing. And she was asking me to brush it. So. I did. And it sounds weird, but we've been friends ever since. She invited me to her BBQ she was having the next day, and we were inseparable for the next 4 years.
R and I have been friends for over 17 years now. We were close all through high school, and despite going to separate colleges and settling in cities 2 hours apart, have stayed close over the years. We have that awesome kind of friendship where we may not talk constantly now as busy adults, but when we get together for lunch, it takes us a good 30 minutes before we even look at the menu, and we chat for three hours. No matter how long we're apart, we pick right back up and it's like there was no time or distance between us. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and I was her matron of honor. I was the first person she told when she found out she was expecting.
And today, she became a mom, and I became an auntie. Auntie Nerd, to be exact, honoring the nickname we've used for each other for the last 17 years. It's been a rough road for me, navigating my feelings about her pregnancy, but today, I feel nothing but joy. If I didn't have to work tomorrow, I'd be in the car on the way to our hometown to hold that baby. I am just so excited! I can't wait for all the things her daughter and I will hopefully do, see, and bake together. And although I won't connect with her as a mom, I can't wait for the next stage of our friendship.
Uh, and you should see the picture of her from just after the birth. Perfect hair. Of course.
This post is part of Ginger's Bring Back the Words. Click the link to go to the prompt and check out the other entries.