What mattered was us! Every year, once, twice or as much as possible the 3 of us got together, played together, for sleepovers always talking late into the night, almost always with ice cream.
And this happened every year without fail before we were even in charge of our schedules. First it was nursery school so we didn’t have to plan that. Then it was planned for us. An 8-week cross country teen tour that our parents snickered and signed us up for to ditch us for an entire summer. We are each from families of 4 kids, so we forgave them when we became parents.
Then a shared house on Martha’s Vineyard before college sleeping all 3 in the same room for 8 weeks, talking late into the night about our escapades with boyfriends and dates. It was the year Jaws was being filmed so we had stories. I was making tongue sandwiches at the Deli for Richard Dreyfuss and Holli was getting picked up by handsome and way too old Roy Scheider at her cocktail job and Deb was driving a horse and buggy tour and falling in love with a local big wig.
Then there was college and we were separated but not for long. We found each other each summer and even during the first jobs in New York and Boston. We made it work. We got married and had kids and still we made it work.
Holli and her husband moved to the village my husband and I had bought our first house in and our kids began the nursery school through high school cycle together and we shared friends and it was easy to stay connected. And Debby came to visit from Boston or we visited her.
We got together as the kids grew and of course for every big event happy and sad. No planning required.
Every year for 6 decades we made it work. At least until Covid. Friggin Covid! And for the first time ever the 3 of us went 18 months, almost 2 years, without being together as a 3-some. Zoom was fine but it just didn’t cut it.
But when Covid allowed for us to plan, we rallied around golf. Holli had started way before us. She’d showed us the ropes. By our 50’s we were all golfers. And that became the new rallying cry for a visit.
In April, Debby texted us, “I know it’s early but I’m praying it will be safe for you to come to my July member guest. ” And miraculously the next day it was my member guest and we had our 3 day sleepover plan.
Our calendars and the world threatened to interfere. Holli had to go abroad for a work trip but she would be back in time. And she didn’t even waiver at the 7 hour drive from her summer home in NY to the Cape. She just did it! The Delta Variant was emerging and we were wary but not deterred.
And then there we were, magically, together.
“What is different about this visit different we asked each other?”
“A lot! We were vigilant, we were determined, we were fully committed to saving space for US despite the pressing in of the outside world.”
And during the visit there were so many opportunities for it to backfire.
Deb had bought me my favorite chocolates. “Please don’t leave them out or Kacey (the dog) will eat them.”
“No worries, I’m sure I will eat them all right away, the whole box.” But I didn’t. And as we had our morning coffee Kacey was in my room eating dark chocolate bark with almonds.
“Shit, she ate them.”
Deb was going to fix this! “I will get her to throw up, it will be fine. And Kacey was chomping away on bread soaked in hydrogen peroxide that Deb was feeding her to get her to regurge.
“OMG – we can’t leave for golf” I said, “I will stay with her. What if she dies?”
“No way,” Deb was insistent and worked her magic to get a neighbor to check on the pup.
And if that wasn’t enough, the kids needed stuff too. They were calling. But that would have to wait too and they were messaged — “Sorry, can’t talk can I call you later.”
“But Mom, I have a question.”
“I’m with my buddies.”
But, we weren’t totally ruthless. We did lower the bridge across the moat from our girlfriend castle for short moments. Facetime with the grands of course— all 3 of our faces peering in crowding the screen cooing at the kids- and then BYE BYE (For now).
“Can you pick me up at the ferry, I got an earlier boat?” my husband texted me. We had finally ventured out to dinner and were about to sit down.
“Sorry, I can’t, Just sitting down with Deb and Holli, you understand, take an Uber.” Holli said, We can go pick him up. And that’s when it crystalized what was different.
“No, an über is no big deal, he is so fine with it. It will cost $20 and he will be home in 15 minutes but we have this one night outdoors at this restaurant, just us. I don’t want to give this up when an Uber will suffice.”
And that got us to name it – naming what we had been doing. We had created a sacred space for our friendship. We had reserved and guarded and created a virtual barricade around us. A friend castle complete with moat and closed draw bridge which we were in charge of opening and closing.
It was the quarantine wake up call.that got us to notice what we had reserved for us during our entire lives.
“Our time together is sacred !.”
And we talked about how easy it is to let it slip away. Being pulled away by the needs of our families and pets and texts that needed to be answered. But, we were vigilant and held OUR space dearly.
And that last night, the 3rd night, we sat and talked and talked at dinner about this and about the passage of time and how we manage to honor our special time together. And, after we walked around the streets of Edgartown with our mocha chip ice creams keeping to our tradition.
The last morning and Holli wasn’t up yet —so — Deb and I jumped on her bed.
“We only have 3 more hours….get up! Let’s bike to the beach.”
But it was not over when we said our goodbyes at the ferry.
The texting began immediately and there was us all over again — move over Dr. Seuss!
F: “I don’t like it when you go, on that boat or in that car. I don’t like it when you’re too far.
D: Me neither, me neither nor do I.
H: But do you like us in a cart or do you like us when we fart or do you like us when we played pickle or do you like us when we tickle? I love you here and there and everywhere!
D: I do like us in a cart, I do not like us when we fart, sometimes in the pickle, but always when we tickle.
F: I love you both on the water on an island and on my bed. And I like everything you both said. I like to make you bagels and poached eggs and toast and I never care who ate the most. I don’t like when your dog eats my chocolate and then she has to vomit but I do like that she’s peeing and pooping up a storm But I would like my chocolates back now so please come back and bring me some right away because I cannot wait another day!.
D: I love us on the water, I love us on the links, I love to sleep over, but would appreciate toothbrushes on the sinks. I love to sit and talk and talk whether it’s on the deck the beach or on a walk. Let’s not wait for more, I need to be with both of you whom I adore.