Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Soul Sister

This is Erin and me circa 1995 on a mug she bought for me....
I can't remember what for though I'm sure she will enlighten me.

You might have stumbled across her name here and there on this little blog 'o mine.  She likens herself to the "Ugly Naked Guy" (you know the once in a while character from Friends?) of my blog.  Except she's anything but ugly....and I hope she's not reading this naked right now.

Because that would be a bit strange.

Although not entirely surprising.

That's Erin for you though.  My best friend in the whole world.  Eternal Soul Sister.

She never ceases to amaze me or laugh me off my ass.

And I can guarantee you that you've never, ever, ever met anyone else like her.

She is someone who knows no bounds.  Who loves life more than anyone I know.  Who lives life more than anyone I know.  She is an awesome force of nature.  She is full of wit, charm, beauty (I see her smiling from ear to ear right now, she loves this shit).  She is the living definition of charisma.

See what I mean?  Pure charisma.

If you met her you would know what I'm talking about....

We met half our lifetime ago.

At high school.

I was the new girl and rumour had it I was stealing her thunder....and her boyfriend. (I don't believe this to be true and if it is, it was entirely unintentional)

And although I hadn't met her yet, I just knew I wouldn't like her.

Yet, somehow, that all changed moments after she tracked me down in an empty high school hallway.

My back was to her as I was making my way to my locker after another lame pep rally for our school's football team.

"Hey!  January!  Hey!"

I turned around to see this girl with peircing blue eyes and a determined skip to her hop making her way toward me.

I did know her.

Erin was the terribly dressed girl (she was a flowered palazzo pant, knit vest attached to shirt wearing girl while I was more into the ripped jeans, flannel shirt Kurt Cobain-style grunge look) in my Biology class that constantly had her hand in the air, answering questions with questions of which sounded like complete and utter gibberish to me.  I was astounded by her eloquent intelligence on a subject I knew less than nothing about. (to this day Erin is the smartest person I've ever met). (oh, and I dropped that Biology class quicker than a hot potato).

"I don't hate you."  Says the girl with the bluest of blue eyes I've ever encountered.  Her words were bold.  Straight to the point.  Her energy was like a whipping intensity that engulfed me and intimidated me at the same time.

And I hate feeling intimidated.

It was flight or fight.

"I don't really care if you hate me or not." was my flippant response.

I steeled myself for hers.

She didn't flinch.  But simply stared at me for a moment.  Sizing me up I suppose.

And then.  She asked me this....

"Wanna come over to my house for lunch?  I live right behind the school.  We can have bagels and cheese."

She had me a carbs and cheese.

And so that remains the day that I met Erin O. (this is how my husband refers to her).  Or Emo (her initial's) as I call her most of the time.

Our friendship moved forward with times of hilarity and times of turbulance.

Though our lives could not be more different now given that she is a brilliant business woman sans children and I, a much less than brilliant stay at home Mother.

She is super type A personality (if you were at my bachelorette party you would know what I speak about - she was otherwise known as Bachelorette Party Planner Nazi) and I very much Type B.

She reads business and political magazines for fun, I consider People magazine gossip intelligence at its best.

She wants to be and do and see a million things at the same time (and usually does - planning a wedding across the continent, moving countries and getting an MBA while having a full time career no less is what she accomplished last year while I feel incredible accomplishment when I've managed cleaning the floors and vacuuming in one day while taking care of the boys - still a great feat nonetheless).
Teaching Adrian how to smile for the camera - love this.

At her engagement party due any day with Finley

She is outspoken, opinionated and ambitious while I'm mild mannered, more diplomatic (though not entirely), and only marry and befriend the ambitious.

She used to take her parent's car for joy rides before she ever got her license.  Never in a million years would that have ever occurred to me to even dare.  She was a wild child in every sense of the word.  I would only dream to be.

She was a great athlete while I would've been lucky if I served a volley ball over the net.  Underhanded.

She is a shoe whore.  I have no interest in shoes and would consider myself to be a ... well, I used to be a jacket whore.  Since kids any kind of fashion has pretty much depleted along with my breast size.

But as different as we would seem to one on the surface, underneath it all we have so much in common.

We share a serious love for music.  Emo bought me my first cd - Alanis Morrissette's Jagged Little Pill. And singing 80's tunes at the top of our lungs while driving is what we do best.

A love of good books and astrology...many an hour we'd scour the shelves at the funky bookstore downtown, Mandela, that smelled of patchouli incense, sitting on the floor reading to each other our moon, sun and rising signs.  She's an emotional Cancer, I'm a boring old soul of a Capricorn.

Food.  Oh the gastronomic meals we've had over the years at restaurants.  Erin, probably more than my husband (sorry honey), is my absolute favourite person to dine with.  There is nothing better than sharing good wine, great conversation and fabulous food with your best friend.  The plates of cheese and crackers we've consumed with bottles of white wine or champers while discussing our latest issues with the men in our lives, random gossip and the meaning of life amongst many more topics.

We can't stand phoniness.

We both LOVE the beach.

Ahhhh the beaches of Mexico...

We have the same wicked, warped sense of humour (of the likes is reserved for her and I so unfortunately for you, you will never see it here)

Our family and friends mean the world to us.  I truly consider her family to be my family and my family to be hers.  I absolutely love her parents...and I adored her sister.

Which brings me to this.  

I've never had a sister.  I've always wanted a sister.  She had a little sister...but heartbreakingly lost Kristen to the hateful disease of cancer 3 years ago.  I have no idea what she went through or has gone through since dealing with the loss of such a beautiful person.  I don't even pretend to know because I can't possibly imagine.  All I know is that I was there as much as I could be though less than I wanted to be because I had a 5 month old baby and my husband was away on business.  However, what I saw in her that week was an immense sense of strength and courage that I could only hope to have in the event of something that tragic happening in my life.  She stood tall and strong with a tremendous sense of grace for all that paid their utmost respect for her and her family.  I was so incredibly proud of her...and I am still.  So, so much.

Erin is the ying to my yang to be cliche about it all.

But's it's also like this.

Recent phone conversation;

Erin "Seriously, every time I hear somebody say 'Lady Antebellum' I want to punch someone."

Me "Totally."

I mean really, who names their band Lady Antebellum?!

She can tell me the weirdest, random, most obscure thing and I'm totally there with her.

Quite simply put, we get each other.  With a look, a smile or a squeeze of the arm.

And though we've been provinces apart for over 8 years we've ALWAYS been there for each other.


Through the hormone infused days of high school including a never to be forgotten trip to Mexico, stressful days of university and college, to first apartments, awful break ups, terrible restaurant waitressing jobs, family dysfunction, road trips, crazy camping nights as teenagers of which will never be divulged on this blog, hospital trips and broken bones, bad fashion, out of control parties at her parents house where furniture may or may not have ended up in the pool and many a cigarette ash may or may not have landed on her parents pea green carpet, many, many, many long distance phone conversations, loss of family, loss of other friendships, Vancouver visits, impulsive tattoos, Sex and the City marathons dissecting episode after episode, too many wild and crazy wine soaked nights and a few less of wine sipping, deep discussion nights, karoke, Mexico(again) weddings.....babies.

My wedding day...

Erin's wedding day...

My, oh my how far we've come dear, dear friend of mine.

Who knew?

Who knew that this is where we'd be 16 years ago?

You, taking the business world by storm.  Me, taking on my family by storm.(yes, that is how it feels most days at this moment in time).

You, living too far away.  Me, wishing you were closer every day.

Every single day.

How I miss you.

So, so much.

And how I wish we could celebrate your 33rd birthday together.  It's been 7 months since I last saw you as a beaming bride.  What a fabulous day that was.  But it's just over a week until we meet again.  And I cannot wait.

33 huh?  Wow.  Not a significant age, nor age number but another birthday nonetheless.

And I know how much you love your birthday's.

You said you were more excited to read this than for anything else on your special day and I sure hope I didn't disappoint.

It's interesting that though our life paths have gone so differently and though we live so far away from each other that I feel just as close if not closer to you than ever.

Happy Birthday Emo.  I hope it's the best one yet....your first as a married woman, a wife.  Now that is something.

And now I will end this birthday letter to you exactly how we always end every. single. phone conversation...

I love you.

Favourite picture of us.  Ever.  XOXO


Lisa said...

I love this whole post. My BFF and I have been friends since we were 16. I understand.

Happy Birthday Erin!

paradigmjohn said...

Great story honey. You're friends and family posts are truly may favorites.

Kristin said...

What a beautiful tribute to your friendship with Erin. Got me a little teary at times! I linked in through Erin's fb post.
Hello January, I am Kristin. Born and raised in L.O, but actually met Erin in Vancouver in 2006. Although I don't know Erin that well, I do believe that you have captured Erin perfectly in this post. This post confirms everything amazing about Erin that I suspected! And what a beautiful friendship. Love it.
Always great to find a Mama blogging about motherhood and all things chaotic and lovely! ; ) Nice to meet you.

Ellen said...

This blog nails Erin's breath-taking personality, smarts and charisma. I don't know two people who are more different but you compliment each other. If the two of you were a champagne Erin would be the bubbles and you would be the flavour. Erin would be "what makes your nose tickle" and you would be the "smooth going down".

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Shell said...

This is so, so sweet! I'm glad that you have a friend like this!