Saturday, September 12, 2015


I met Bobbe in an exercise class for pregnant women.  I'd just moved to a new town and didn't know a soul besides my mom, and it seemed like a good way to meet people I'd have something in common with.  Three of us were due about the same time, and exercised together like graceless dancing elephants until we delivered.  We got together afterwards and compared our babies: Mine was smallest, Karen's was the boy, and Bobbe's?  The likeliest to be able to live up to being named after not one, but two English Queens. 

When the babies were less than two months old, Bobbe and I got bored and took a road trip to Philly to visit my brother and sis-in-law for a weekend.  New moms, we loaded the back of her SUV to the gills with full-size strollers, suitcases full of baby clothes, diaper bags, and in Bobbe's case, an entire bassinette.  Two car seats in the back, and two grown women taking turns sitting back there to keep an eye on the babies, taking breaks every five minutes to nurse one or the other of them: We were utterly ridiculous and had no idea that we didn't need any of that stuff really.  We laughed at ourselves over that trip every time we thought of it for years afterwards.

When the girls were 9 months old Bobbe moved to Tampa.  "Come and visit anytime!," she said, and meant it.  So Tampa became Citygirl's and my winter getaway.  We came every year for a week or two.  I have pictures of Victoria in her naked-except-for-fingerpaint stage.  I have pictures of little girls trampolining.  I have pictures of Citygirl pinwheeling into a pristine backyard pool in the January sun.  I have memories of Bobbe talking her pediatrician into seeing Citygirl for one of her many ear infections.  Of meeting her church friends. Of sitting and talking and talking and talking about nothing and anything and everything on the lanai. Of shopping for real bras together once we were done nursing (I had never had a professional 'fitting' before. Bobbe insisted. She was right - who knew?  Take her advice, ladies - go and let some total stranger measure your boobs.  Your boobs will thank you). 

They would come north in the summer.  We went camping together, drinking Bailey's Irish Cream beside the campfire next to giggling girls cooking marshmallows over the coals (I insisted. To Bobbe's chagrin, Victoria loved it.  I think it cost her a fortune in camping equipment over the years).  We lay on our backs on a thyme-covered hill watching the stars, and stayed there long enough to know it was the earth moving under us and not the stars moving over us. 

One memorable week we traveled to visit, bringing all of Citygirl's siblings, my brother, sis-in-law and their two kids.  I overheard Bobbe say casually to someone on the phone, "Oh, no, not this week.  I have nine houseguest so I don't have any extra room." Whoohoo! I was the one who finally filled her house to CAPACITY!  That was the same week that we went for desert at a local restaurant, only to discover that the President was eating dinner there! The memory of Bobbe's excited thumbs-up dance in the middle of the street when she learned this news still makes me laugh out loud.  Victoria and Citygirl spent an evening stalking former President Bush.  Ask them about how successful two fifteen-year-olds can be at outwitting the Secret Service. 

When the kids got older the visits got less frequent, but it didn't change the fact that Bobbe was one of the best friends I ever had.  Her willingness to go the extra mile, driving me and my Babygirl to a doctor's appointment that was literally a 384 mile round-trip while I did dialysis on Babygirl in the back seat of her car was just one more example.  And we used the time to talk, and talk, and talk about everything and nothing and all the things that cement a friendship between women. 

My brother once said, "I don't 'get' you and Bobbe.  You don't seem to have anything in common."  On the surface of it, I suppose we were very different people.  But our friendship began at a time when our lives had everything in common:  A focus on the love of a tiny little girl.  We had no nearby family, and no friends who wanted to hear us brag about every blink and bowel movement.  And once you bond like a sister, you stay sisters forever.

I miss you to the moon and back, Bobbe.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Arriving Late......

It grieves me terribly to admit that I was late to the wedding.  Not late-late - I was in time for the ceremony.  But I was a full hour later than the time Citygirl told me to be there.  And I'll never be able to make that right, really.

But here is how it went:

I had asked a friend of my Mom's to come to the house to help get her ready, and I was to pick her up at 8:30 AM.  The house was packed, or I would have had her spend the night, which she typically does on Fridays anyway.  She doesn't drive and there are no early buses on Saturday, but since I only had that task and getting myself ready it shouldn't really be a problem, right? 

I called her at 8:20 to let her know I was running a little late.  She was running even later. "Could you get me about 10?"  Criminey, TEN?  Well, it is what it is, right?  And it isn't like I'm some kind of makeup freak - I can shower now and then all I'll need to do is slip my dress on. 

Mom had been showered by an aide the day before, and I got her up and tried to get her moving:  Meds, breakfast, coherency.....not going with any speed. 

People came and went needing help with one thing or another.  At some point I sent someone out to the truck with my keys to get something for's all a blank. 

Near 10 o'clock, I went to grab my keys and leave, and.... no keys.  No problem, Hubby has keys.  But....No Hubby!  He's gone someplace for God alone only knows what reason, so I backtrack on the keys.... and call my nephew.  "J, what did you do with the keys after you got the stuff from the truck?"  "Ummm....I might have left them IN the truck."

Oh. My. God.  And Hubby has the truck.  And he is not answering his phone.  And it is now AFTER 10 and I am supposed to be home already and dressed and CRAP.   Just as I am about to have a major private meltdown my sister-in-law pulls up to the curb.  My brother had forgotten his computer and he needed it to run the sound for the wedding.  Excellent!  Please please give me a ride to pick up Mom's friend?

No problem.  Except that no one ever warned me that my sis-in-law drives like a Chihuahua on speed.  "The speed limit here is 30.  We don't have time for a ticket, you can't go 50 on a city street and OMG THAT LIGHT WAS RED AND I AM GOING TO DIE BEFORE MY DAUGHTER GETS MARRIED!"

By the time we got back home it was 10:30, the time I was supposed to be at the wedding venue.  Mom still wasn't dressed and her ride was arriving in half an hour, and I wasn't dressed and I still didn't have a ride either. 

At some point you just give up, you know?  I could either rant and rave or I could make my Mom's day pleasant, so I took my time, did her hair, got her dressed and helped her get into the van at 11.  By that time Hubby was back, and I helped him fasten his cummerbund and got into my dress. 

And then there was that one really, really bad moment, when all the stress of the morning hit:  I'd lost a little weight since I bought the dress, and I needed to pin the dress to my bra to cover a small gap.  I looked in the mirror and I just couldn't do it myself, and I started to cry, "I need Bobbe.  I just need Bobbe!"  But she's gone and she won't see my daughter or worse yet HER daughter get married and OhMYGOD Bobbe....

Thank God I'm not a makeup person.

I arrived at the museum at 11:30.  I missed the family portrait time with the photographer, so there will be very few pictures of me in that fabulous dress.  But I arrived in time to help my precious baby with a last-minute wedding-dress wardrobe malfunction that I hope helped her forgive me for adding to her stress on her special day. 


Monday, September 7, 2015


I've been in weddings, as bridesmaid, but the last time was probably close to thirty years ago.  If there was a rehearsal dinner I don't recall, honestly.  What I DO recall about that wedding was rear-ending another car on the way home because I was so sleep-deprived during my pediatrics rotation (but I digress.  No injuries, no car damage, no delay, it was all good, right? Right).

Citygirl's rehearsal dinner was held at the museum where the wedding and reception were held, using the same room Make A Wish used to reveal Babygirls's Paris trip.  Citygirl's minions had made it lovely - flowers, table runners, atmosphere - lovely. There were seats for exactly all those expected.  The museum's courtyard was all set up for the big event, and could be seen from the windows. 

They had a caterer, a local Pakistani restaurant to honor Citygirl's heritage on her dad's side.  Her Auntie in Pakistan had gotten Citygirl's and her Beloved's measurements and had lovely traditional Pakistani clothing made for the event.  The rehearsal went was looking to go well, and then....

People just started to show up.  Those who did had reasons to be there, some of which even had something to do with rehearsing for the wedding, but....suddenly seating was, well, off.  And the caterer somehow forgot he was in America and started running on Pakistani time (I know. I lived there for a while. If an invite said "7 PM" for the love of ALL that is holy do NOT come before 8:30 or your hosts will still be showering and the servants will not know what to do with you!).  The resultant chaos went unnoticed by the majority of the guests.  And who knew my Ex could be so gracious a host?  Kudos to him, and a Boo/Hiss to what was our favorite restaurant!

After the rehearsal dinner there was a cocktail 'hour' (or three) at the hotel where most of the guests were staying.  It was very lively, but I have to say that all I consumed was about 10 glasses of ice water.  It was fun watching the crowd of Citygirl's high school friends act like they've always acted together:  High spirited, happy, and loving.  It was wonderful seeing them blend in with new family and old, welcoming all.  Citygirl and her Beloved have between them a solid base to build on.