I had the day off yesterday. Well, from when I left my house just after eleven in the morning, until I got back home around six thirty. No diaper bag, no sippy cup, no matchbox cars or teddy bears. Shane was home with my husband, and I had the afternoon and evening off.
I was meeting up with two of my forever friends, who also managed to get the afternoon off. There’s five of us who have stayed close in the years since high school. Carrie now lives in the UK, and Tanya was visiting family out-of-state, so neither of them were able to join us this time around. However, since Shay was home from Connecticut, visiting her in-laws for the holiday, and Jen had the afternoon free, we had to take advantage of this and get together. Opportunities to see each other are few and far between, and we cherish each and every chance we get! I picked her up at her in-laws, and we headed over to Jen’s house. The plan was to head out for lunch, followed by ice-skating after.
Lunch was wonderful — we laughed, vented, and caught up on each other’s lives. We talked about the wonderful aspects of staying home with our children…and the more mundane, or hair-pulling parts of it as well. We gossiped about those we remembered from high school, and what they’re up to now (three cheers for Facebook!). We shared pregnancy and childbirth stories, again (that never gets old!). We talked about past struggles and hopes for the future. We sat at our table until our coffee mugs and tea cups were dry, until the waitress began dropping progressively heavier hints that we’d over-stayed our welcome.
Ice skating was probably the most strenuous — and side-splittingly hysterical –exercise I’ve done in an incredibly long time. The last time I stepped out on that ice was about fifteen years ago. We’d met up at that rink for public skating on countless weekends during the winter months. While I was never a figure skater, I once could get around that rink without breaking myself. Yesterday I was terrified that as soon as I stepped out on the ice, my feet would fly up from under me and I’d land in a fractured heap. We were all like Bambi on ice — legs stiff, arms flailing out to the sides, and hunched over. Usually hunched over in a pathetic attempt to keep our balance, but also because we were clutching our stomachs from out-of-control-laughter!
The rink was crowded with miniature hockey players. Preschoolers in snow pants, clutching their parent’s hands. A couple skating around together, holding hands. And teenagers in groups — laughing together, standing by the wall gossiping, boys and girls flirting and joking with each other. We skated by them several times, and I’d look over and remember how that used to be us. Younger, thinner, with the best part of our lives still ahead of us.
As a fifteen year old, I couldn’t imagine what my future would bring. College, career, a family of my own…those were all too far in the future. I was more focused on the here and now. One thing I just took for granted would be that my closest friends, those who I met at the skating rink so many Saturdays, would always be a part of my life.
My fifteen-year-old self would be relieved to know that I was skating around that rink beside two of those friends yesterday. We may be older, less agile, and not-as-thin as we were back then, and we may not be able to get together as often as we used to, but the friendships that I cherished, even back then, have endured.