More than a decade ago, I set out to write a book. I had a concept – “Becoming Good Women” – it was based on the idea that my grandmothers were these very good women, and how would my generation grow to be good women as well?
I was *just* wise enough to realize that my fresh out of college self wouldn’t really have a clue for a long time how the whole “becoming” thing would unfold.
I had a notebook and one day my friend saw the notebook and decided to read it. She walked into my apartment and threw it at me. Yelling. “I SWEAR TO GOD IF YOU DON’T FUCKING WRITE I WILL LOCK YOU IN A ROOM UNTIL YOU DO!!!!!” (Those weren’t her exact words, but she can’t remember shit, so I can take creative license with her words. You get the gist.)
My grandmas had different lives. Different challenges. So I’m not saying that their paths were easy (oh no, not easy), but there was a simplicity to their choices …. one marriage … one man … one home for decades at a time … one job … one small town … one church …
A decade out from writing that first page in that notebook, I look at the choices we have made – between my closest friends I can think of marriages, divorces, broken engagements, lots of sex, even more sex toys, foreclosures, multiple states, abortions, no arrests . . . oh wait . . . no . . . there was an arrest in Mexico . . . so scratch that “no arrests” thing, HPV, DOA, DMV, Zima, funerals, hospitals, children, weed, quitting smoking, adoption, therapy, weddings, quitting smoking, hangovers . . .
I’m quite sure our grandmas know very little of our experiences, and my head spins to think of them having any personal experience with most of this.
I remember at the first wedding of the group, the flamboyantly gay wedding coordinator said, “Oh you think ya’ll are open now? Just wait another twenty years and see how open you are!” (He said this just after two of us had a picture taken with our little pinkies twined together . . . a sign of solidarity poking fun at … uh …. someone’s … uh … little pinky. little bent pinky. Anyway.)
Next summer will mark the 20th year since these best friends began entering my life. It’s taken a while to find all the kindred spirits . . . sometimes it’s taken me longer than I like to admit to realize the person in front of me was, indeed, kindred. We’ve had conversations that opened with, “So I had a fart gone wrong . . . ” we’ve questioned some sanity (“Why did you take the Nutella home? What were thinking? reply “I was thinkin’ I was gonna EAT IT!”) . . . we’ve cried and we’ve smoked and we’ve prayed and we’ve loved. Which, three of those last four I know my grandmas did, too.
My grandmas had friendships that spanned decades – people born in the same town and buried in the same cemetery 90 years later. My friends and I are getting ready to start our third decade together – and with all the choices we have available to us I am suddenly still and awed and realizing how very, very lucky we are to still be choosing each other all these years later.