kickin’ it in the kitchen

we must have been eight or nine years old when we started spending our quiet time in the kitchen. i would be staying the night at the bestie’s. we would be played, dinnered, bathed and ready for bed. but something always kept us from bed: the giggles. my gran would say that our giggle boxes got “turned over” and she was right. whenever the lights would go out, no matter where we were, we would burst into laughter… the two of us. it was best at nanny’s house. she would let us laugh and talk into the wee hours of the night, always sayin’ “i don’t know what’s got you two girls so tickled”. truth be told, we didn’t know either. something about being in the dark with your bestie is hilarious to your soul. you don’t think so? give it a try. serious. right now, this weekend… invite your bestie over, sleep in the same bed and see if you can possibly resist the urge to burst into tears with laughter over you don’t know exactly what… see?… i told you.

there are things that are funny to us as individuals, and some that are funny on the whole…  but it is only special things, ‘very’ special things that are funny to us.. the “us” being you and your best friend. now, i don’t know how you and your best friend interact, but me and mine? … well, we share almost everything. so, when it comes down to the little things that make us laugh, they are plenty. and we share. we share all of them, so the laughing is fruitful and intense. sometimes including tears, snorting and arm flapping (like a wounded sea otter).  sometimes there is laughter over something, and sometimes over nothing. sometimes we try to share but forget along the way and end up laughing over a nothing that was supposed to be a something. or vice versa.

after thirty plus years of friendship, i would have to say that our inside jokes are deep. not deep like cosmically, but deep in the fact that they refer to something from long ago. not something from last week or last month, but something from years ago that only she and i know about. those “inside jokes” are not meant to be exclusive or instigatory, just historical. we have history. we have laughs that have stood the test of time. there are some things that cannot escape us without a soul-shaking guffaw, and there are others that pass without being noticed. it is the guffaws that i cherish and revel in. it is the guffaws that make the private time so healing. we forget about the world, the problems, the finances and whatever else — and we deal with us, right then, right there.

with that said, our quiet time, our funniest times started in the kitchen. we would have already gone to bed, lights out, giggles on, giggles off and then we would get up and sneak into the kitchen for a snack. there has been a rolling butcher block island since i can remember. when we were ten years old or so, we would sit on the kitchen counters with our feet on the butcher block. there were always snacks left out: the evening’s baked goods, fresh fruit, experiments, gifts or whatever. the kitchen counter always had something to offer. we would often sit with the refrigerator open, for the light, and giggle our way through the next hour or so. what was so funny, you ask? i don’t know. i couldn’t possibly tell you. you’d get a better response from a pair of eleven year old girls than me. but it’s those moments that have bonded us for all of time.

you know her name by now, right? the bestie? it’s shannon.  we’re going on thirty five years soon.  that’s a lot of years to know a person. we grew into, out of and back into each other. we shared everything as children, fought over principles and points of view as teens and have been inseparable as adults and mothers. we need each other. our kids need each other. we have never denied ourselves and we will not deny our kids. we’re family. and even though blood is “thicker than water”, it’s our water that we cherish so much. i love my bestie. i really do.

as adults, our silliness has had to diversify. we cannot stay up until all hours, we cannot stay out all night and most importantly — we have to share what is making us laugh. our kids are interactive. they love and hate each other as well. they get along and want to kill each other as often as we let them get together. and just as expected, they will hold onto each other for dear life rather than be separated. the three of them are of different ages and stages. they need different levels of stimulus and this can result in a social meltdown if not treated properly. the middle ground is the key: not too advanced and not to simple…. but teamwork is required.

i struggle to keep the kids in line. i beg and barter and still have to ask for more. the bestie, well, she’s a teacher. whippin’ kids into line is more of a job skill than it is a special skill. she’s better at it than i am, but since it’s part of her daily routine, we tend to share the responsibility of keeping everyone injury-free. no one wants to do what they do for a living and then have to come home and do it more.

almost everything that we do has something to do with the kitchen. cook in it, eat in it, pass through it… whatever. the kitchen is our hot spot — our homestead.

dear friends… i drafted this post more than a year ago and what a difference a day makes, huh? i’d be remiss not to tell you that shattering events have all but dissolved this loving friendship. 😦 i remain broken hearted over it, wishing that we could have worked it through, came to a common ground and moved on. but that’s not the way it is. it’s been almost a whole year since i’ve seen and shared with my bestie and her kidlets. all of our birthdays have come and pass without a gathering, hugging, sharing, cupcaking, brownie-baking good time. our lifelong friendship is severely wounded and appears to be dying. or most likely — is already dead. there was even character slander and name-calling. i’m so ashamed. i’ll never give in though. i will always be here for her, for them. if you can, fans and friends, never give up on someone. there may be anger, hatred, disappointment, betrayal, lies, fears, compromises and much more, but love conquers all (if you let it). why post the post, you ask? because nothing changes the past. not the now and certainly not the later. back then, we were “we”. now, we are “she” and “me”. things have changed in the present and perhaps for the future. but the past is where the memories are and these are some of my favorites.

to my bestie, her family, her kidlets — to her any and everything: i love you all dearly, and miss you even more. things haven’t been the same without you, without us. should you need or want me, i’m still right here. i cannot change what has happened, where things have gone awry, how we’ve changed or what’s separated us. i can only say that life is not the same without you and i never thought i would know this. we will never get back what we had, but we can always start anew.

~ forever your bestie!

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