I don’t really have a best friend. My husband, of course, fills the official title, but, aside from him, there isn’t that one person I speak to on the phone every single day. It’s not something I’m sad about, but it is something I’m aware of, and ponder occasionally. Maybe it’s a big club, now that Instagram and Twitter have become our de-facto check-ins. Or maybe I’m just not a phone person. Oh well.
To me, friendship isn’t about hours clocked, anyway. It’s about the instant reconnect. No matter how much time has passed, you pick up right where you left off, and you pick up seamlessly.
Take the other night’s dinner with Becca and Stephanie. I’ve known Becca for ages, but the frequency with which we get together is pretty rare. We’ve been in each others’ homes only once or twice, and we have a meal three times a year, tops. Yet she feels like a cousin. We use the same references and descriptors, we make each other laugh and we generally just get each other. That kind of easy transparency belies our barely overlapped calendar. A few years ago, she introduced me to Stephanie, with whom, once I got over being starstruck by her “SVU” cred, I felt that comfort level, too.
Given our infrequency, there is a lot of ground to cover when we sit down, but we work quickly. The night began with Stephanie complimenting my dog’s instagram (@MyHigherStandard), which she followed up with an announcement that her cat now has a handle (@therealtacocat, which is a pretty brilliant handle for a CAT). That led to comparing the Berkshires vs the Hamptons vs the Catskills, which led to the perks and pitfalls of our respective weekend commutes. Because of my day job, there were, of course, the requisite discussions about everything from who makes the best eye cream or flake-proof mascara to chemical sunscreens vs physical ones to which colorist does the best highlights in New York City.
What we did not discuss was food, or food-related topics. Maybe because stealing practically half of Becca’s Veal Milanese off her plate was enough food focus, or maybe because my knowledge of the aforementioned beauty topics trumps either of their scoops about restaurant gossip. But it’s probably because we had more important things to talk about. Like being stepmoms.
We’re each at different points on the stepmom path. My two stepkids are the oldest, which might explain why I consider myself more the older sister than the second mother. Stephanie’s stepdaughter has just started college, but way on the other side of the country, so she’s adjusting to the new distance. Becca’s are young, as is her own child–ages much younger than mine were when I met them–so she is the most immersed, living with little humans who are still forming. Combined, our individual experiences cover a wide swath, so advice was being passed as often as the wine (and Becca’s veal)
Walking home afterward, I thought about how important gatherings like these are. I used to host girls dinners fairly frequently. Six or seven friends would come over after work, and, more than appreciating not having to cook or the good wine someone brought, everyone seemed grateful to catch up, many not having seen the others in ages. The regularity of those dinners waned as Bertrand and I started shifting our entertaining efforts more toward weekend dinners with new friends up at the Berkshires house. Priorities shift as life does. It seems for the better, then a night like this happens, and you realize how you need more of them.
Time to pull out the good china. How hard can veal Milanese for six really be?