I got to meet up with a friend last night I used to work with in New York as she was in town briefly for business. We were peers when we worked together years ago. We would shop together after work, go for lunch, and chit chat about our lives like old friends. We lived through sepetember eleventh together. I was across the street when it happened, she was in the big black building next to it (the Deutche Bank building, which was badly damaged from the collapse and essentially condemned). I will never forget taking the train to ground zero during a lunch break for the first time, both of us, since it all happened. I think it took us several weeks, maybe months before we wanted to see it. We stood speechless while workers with construction trucks cleared layers and layers of rubble; much I imagine was filled with the dust from human bodies, plane parts, office materials, and walls. I never felt so grateful to be alive and before I could think I threw my arms around her thin body with tears in my eyes and told her I was so glad she got out of that building alive. She was still immovable and frozen, she had a much closer possibility of death than I did. A much different experience downtown that day. I understood her thoughts, she didn't have to say a word.
It had been about 4 years since I last saw her, long before I became a mother. The title under her name in the email said Director and I couldn't feel more proud to know her and felt eager to congratulate her on such an accomplishment. Because I know the work it must take to get that title. I looked up at that HR ladder for many years aiming for such goals for my future. I remember hearing about a home she bought and I couldn't wait to ask her about it.
As I drove across the Bay Bridge to meet her at San Francisco International Airport, I thought about how different our lives are and what we would talk about over dinner. Would I blather about motherhood and offer all the secret details no one talks about? See this (pulling a nursing pad from my purse) it looks like a coaster, right? I have to wear these in my bra! And the placenta, Mike told me it looks like ground beef. This second time around having a baby, I actually love it and spit up doesn't piss me off anymore, it's just sort of expected. I had a great day at the gardens today, we played outside for four hours! When summing up motherhood in my head, I couldn't figure out how to bring her up to speed on the whole experience in such a short amount of time. The highs and lows and everything between. I pass the city of colorful houses stacked like pretty rows of dominos. The water glistens and the sun is going down. Every direction I look is like a postcard picture.
I got there early and it was like we never skipped a beat. We conversed freely and carelessly with laughter and history and future. It was so fun to see her again and feel young again. How odd that 4-5 years ago would feel so young, but that's the best way to explain the feeling of reflecting together on the experiences life has given us since then. Who knew we still had some changes and growing up to do?
The lights on the bridge do not impress me, I miss New York bridges. That Verrazano at night always stole my heart. I wonder about the career I let go of and what the title under my own name would be by now. Then I smile at my intentional decisions I have made for my own life. I can't wait to snuggle my newest baby waiting for me at home so I can cuddle and nurse him into a dreamy slumber. I hope she comes to visit again. I didn't get a chance to tell her how much I love my new job. And I want to hear more about her awesome life, too.