Friday night I had cocktails with 3 women I've known for 25 years. Well, one of them I've known since kindergarten which is, ahem, a bit longer than 25 years. The other two, I've known since the mid-80's when we all went to high school together. And I hadn't talked to them for 20 years.
Remember the movie Grosse Pointe Blank? That's where we went to high school.
It was a local "mini-reunion" at a bar.
We had tried for months to schedule this meeting. Literally finding holes in our schedules over a period of 6 months. Finally someone wrote that we just had to pick a date months in the future and just go.
So October 9 it was.
I was not what you would call friends with two of the women in high school. I was on the tennis team with one, and sort of just knew the other one by name. But never ate lunch with them or went out to parties with them.
Strange, then, what happened 3 days ago. They look fantastic, and essentially just like they did, with better hair and clothes. I will say that I look pretty much the same, minus the spiral perm and bangs, as I did then.
It was surreal. We talked about leaving Michigan, and how we wended our way to Colorado. We talked about people we grew up with, our teachers, our current lives and our children.
But you know what we bonded over?
How is it that after 20 years of not speaking that within 60 minutes of re-meeting, we are talking about someone's stroke after doing IVF, my 4 miscarriages, another's blood clot and another's ectopic pregnancy?
Sure, the second round of drinks helped.
But I was struck by how much we were able to connect. It was like worlds colliding at first, seeing these two women that I hadn't seen since the first George Bush was president and East Germany was still a country.
As we talked, the worlds stopped colliding and started meshing. The 4 girls from 1989 were as familiar as the street I grew up on but, unlike that street, those girls with big hair and bigger dreams had morphed into accomplished, wise, secure women with love and loss and tragedy and triumph within and behind us.
The ease with which we spoke of these things surprised me endlessly.
I told my husband I'd be home at 7pm. He texted me at 8pm wondering if I was okay.
Really, though, the point of this is not that, but this other.
One woman, let's call her New Mom, divulged that she had tried to conceive for 10 years (starting in her 20s), and suffered a stroke during an unsuccessful round of IVF. She just adopted her daughter and is blissfully happy.
Another woman, let's call her Zahara, revealed that she was adopted. We had no idea in high school. She explained that she loved her family and never felt different because of the way she came into their lives.
Then my friend, let's call her Lynn, recently suffered her third pregnancy loss, an ectopic pregnancy after the 2nd round of IUI, and lost one of her fallopian tubes (but thankfully not her life).
Lynn is the friend with whom I am still in regular, close contact. She is also in the middle of hell, and attempting to figure out what to do, and when to do whatever it is she is going to do, and how to proceed in general while not entirely breaking down. Lynn is in limbo: completing another round of IUI while contemplating maybe, but not really, but maybe adoption.
Before the happy hour Friday, there were supposed to be 6 of us: another woman, who has 2 or 3 kids, and a man, who just had his first child with his wife. They both cancelled at the last minute. We debated about still going and decided that we really had no good reason to cancel.
But I think those cancellations enabled the discussion to be about building families.
There we were, four women who had not seen each other in 20 years and had never shared a drink or a meal. And New Mom is talking about how happy she is with her new daughter and how they were matched within 3 months. And Zahara is talking about how wonderful it was to grow up adopted. And I looked at Lynn at one point, Lynn who is contemplating the next step if the IUIs do not work, Lynn who was listening to all of this information.
And I thought, once again, that the universe is not subtle at all.
And I love that about you, Universe.
I do not know what the outcome will be for Lynn, or whether she will adopt or conceive biological children. Or both. But I do know that New Mom is going to forward her adoption agency info to Lynn.
What I hope and pray for is that this time next year, Lynn is able to hold her child in her arms.