The six of us look upon each other as family. For various reasons, some of us have smaller families, or have families who don't live in town, or can't stand the families we do have (KIDDING, MOM!!!), and we have now built a family around our friendship. We celebrate holidays together, we camp together, we travel together on occasion, and since high school, there has rarely been a Saturday that goes by that we are not at one house or another for 8 or 10 hours, eating dinner and yelling at the kids. While in Disneyland, one of the kids (we don't really know who anymore- if anyone does, please enlighten me), came up with the idea of amalgamating all three last names to make life easier when making dinner and hotel reservations. We now refer to ourselves by one made up last name, and it has made life infinitely easier for all of us (but not for confused restaurant hostesses who are trying to figure out if we belong to some weird polygamist sect, and whether we're sister wives or they're brother husbands...).
Part of the reason our friendship works so well is that there are 3 of us women. Realistically speaking, the men would stay friends forever if the 3 of us girls died, but only because they've been in the habit so long that they wouldn't know what else to do for Saturday dinner (hmmm.... who would cook, I wonder???). We all know that women are the driving force behind ANY friendship!
In 20 years, the three of us have managed to drive each other crazy quite nicely, thank you. I can't even BEGIN to think of the stuff we've done that's driven someone else nuts- I don't have that kind of spare time. But here's the sweet part. In a group of three women, NO ONE can possibly be pissed off at the other two all the time!!! That means there is always a buffer- someone is ALWAYS on your side (or your imaginary side, or at least thinks your crankiness might be at least PARTIALLY justified, or just doesn't feel like arguing with you about it), and is willing to listen to what you have to say. There is always a vent. It's not like a friendship between two people, where if you get pissed off at each other, you're kind of stuck- we ALWAYS have someone there to talk us off the ledge. It's twisted, it's weird, and it works. (And no- this will not be a surprise to my best friends while reading this- we know perfectly well what holds us together.)
Our kids are all the same age (with the exception of my last two kids), and they have grown up together. I am continually amazed that 8 kids who are so different and have such differing personalities can enjoy each other's company so much. I remember years ago, we used to discuss our friendship and worry that eventually the kids would grow tired of spending every Saturday together and rebel ("NO! I'm NOT GOING! I can't stand any more of Auntie's stories! Tell her to write a blog or something, but get her OFF MY BACK!"), and it hasn't happened yet. There are the occasional Saturdays where the kids have somewhere they want to go, or something they'd rather do, which is going to happen any night of the week, but on the whole, they are pretty good with it. Seeing as the oldest one of them is now 17, we may have worried unnecessarily. Some weeks a few of the kids are missing, and maybe another week some of the adults are missing (generally though, even if the parents can't be there, we make a point of picking up or dropping off the missing kids so they don't miss out), but overall, we all see each other on a very regular basis. It works for us.
The six of us have so many inside jokes that it's almost a completely different language to anyone who doesn't talk to us on a regular basis. We once tried making friends with a new couple and it went miserably, horribly wrong. Firstly, we had to explain the inside jokes. Then we had to try to find inside jokes that included them. Then we had to figure out how to relate to a childless couple when our own darling progeny were running around them in a tiny living room, dropping food on the floor and crying over scary tv commercials. (This last part isn't actually true. We rarely let the kids come upstairs when they were that age. They were loud and annoying, and utterly defeated the concept of 'relaxing Saturday night'.) We really made an effort with this couple, till we finally realized that they had committed the fatal flaw of not having known us for the last 20 years. This is a hard mistake to fix. We had to let them go.
I haven't gone so far as to make any sort of formal promise to my best friends that they won't end up in this blog, because they know I don't have to. They know too much. If I ever mentioned something embarrassing they did, the speed with which they would retaliate would make your head spin. They would share details of things even I am too classy to mention before I ever had a chance to hit the 'Publish Now' button. If the two of them worked together, they could turn me into a quivering, emotionally shattered, sobbing mess in less time than it take to utter the words "inappropriate carpet burn". They would destroy me.
And I love them for it.
So that will be almost the last of what I have to say about my best friends, except the occasional mention in someone else's humiliating episode. Although they are a huge part of me, and everything I do is a product of the person I became over the course of our friendship, and although we do more stupid things in a week than most people do in a lifetime, they are sacred to me. And apparently even I have my standards.
Love you guys.