the stool

We celebrated Christina’s birthday last night. Started out at a cocktail party (somewhat random, but lovely) at Winston’s and then went to the Met Bar for dinner. The night was entertaining, sweet, and early, three qualities I attribute in spade to my dearest dearest friends. I think the most classic moment was when Elizabeth was talking about going to see Dolly Parton on her 38th birthday. Christina said, phew, at least we have over a year to organize that. And Elizabeth, surprised, said, “well, no, my birthday is in May.” We had to remind Emay that she’s turning 37, not 38. What a happy surprise that was.
I think often of these women, and of the extended family we have created together. Our children are growing up nearly as siblings, and we have shared every step of the parenting journey (so far – and I am looking forward to the miles that lie ahead). I realized how comfortable and intimate our relationship is when I joked to Hilary about stripping her membranes and she reacted with horror. When Christina was almost due with Emma, that was a joke Elizabeth and I made routinely – and probably would have enacted if she wanted us to.
Several years ago I described one of these wonderful women as “the third leg of the stool” – and the name has stuck. See below for a tabblo I made of the stool, exactly a year ago (with goddaughter Emma in utero!).
Despite the hours a week I spend talking to Elizabeth and Christina, I don’t think I say enough how grateful I am for their companionship on this road. How much I appreciate each of their distinctive personalities: Christina’s shoot-first-aim-later, enthusiastic approach to making life’s decisions, both big and small, her Mario Andretti driving in her minivan, and her 7:30am phone calls every morning; Elizabeth’s open-minded embrace of some non-conventional choices that I share, the way her more relaxed employment of schedules and routines shows me the value of cranking back on the intensity now and then, and her endearing sense of both humor and whimsy.
I am blessed to have Elizabeth and Christina’s joyful company, their wisdom and their laughter. As I muddle my way through these early years of motherhood, these confusing midlife years, they are both reality check and inspiration.