Karen is my friend. No, make that a great friend. We met in Charlotte in September of 2003 right after she moved from New Jersey. A mom from my playgroup had met her in Dean & Deluca and invited her to come to our weekly gathering. I was hosting that chance playgroup and she took a gamble and showed up. I am not sure anyone can explain what exactly draws people together as friends, but I think that we both would admit we connected and the rest is history.
We’ve enjoyed countless cookouts, nights out, play dates, shared the joys of pregnancy and the sadness of miscarriage; we welcomed her second daughter and then the arrival of my Cooper; she sat with Paul and me for hours in Cooper’s hospital room until they took us into surgery when he was six weeks old; we watched and loved each others children like they were our own; celebrated the highs and hung on during the lows of our husbands careers and covered everything in between over a hot cup of coffee or a tall glass of wine.
Inevitably, she moved as they followed Andrew’s career to NYC in the Fall of 2005 and we moved here to Atlanta doing the same thing for Paul’s career in the summer of 2006. It was hard to imagine that we would ever be living in the same city again. Karen and I managed to keep up with one another and our adventures on the phone since she rather detested email. Sometimes the time between chats would be longer than either of us would prefer, but such is life with kids, businesses and chaos. After the birth of her fourth daughter Alessandra in March of 2008, Paul and I flew to New Jersey to celebrate her Baptism as we became her Godparents. It has been difficult over the years to make the distance in miles appear smaller and cover all the details of our lives in fragmented conversations between running errands, preschool, pediatric visits and grocery store trips. But through it all we maintained, persevered, laughed and cried.
Through a course of unpredictable events, soul searching and a career change, Karen, Andrew and “our girls” have found themselves here in Atlanta. This time we are practically neighbors since they’re right around the corner from us. Neither of us knows what he future has to bear and we wonder and secretly fear that one of us would be pulled away to a new city venturing down the nomad corporate highway chasing the greenback and new opportunities. We have learned over the years how valuable friendship is and have both come to appreciate that the adventure that is life is best experienced and shared together.
For now, what is a sure thing is that our children have fallen into a routine together as if they had always been pals, our families have shared more than a few meals together celebrated anniversaries and birthdays, drank our fair share of wine and plenty of coffee, laughed a lot, confessed our fears and are hanging onto our hope for the future. A hope for many things, but above all that happiness is abundant and chaos under control.