We moved to our little burg in October of 1999, when the kids were 3 and 5. School had already started for the year. I dropped The Boy off at his Pre-K class with his teacher, "Mrs. Jones" and then took The Princess to her preschool class across the street.
As I walked across the campus searching for The Princess's classroom, I saw a young woman walking briskly and purposefully towards us with a huge smile on her face. She came up to us, towing her adorable little girl with big blue eyes and long, golden curls along beside her. "Hi!", she chirped, "You must be Mommie Dearest and this must be The Princess...I'm Lola and this is Courtney - they're in the same class! And your son, The Boy, is in Mrs. Jones' class!" I gaped at her in confusion, trying to take in this torrent of information and she continued talking and smiling. I must have looked a bit confused because she hastened to explain how she knew so much about us..."The Boy is in Mrs. Jones' class at _____School and she is my mother, and I saw the class list and saw that The Princess would be in Courtney's class and wanted to welcome you!"
The Princess and I followed humbly along in Lola's wake as she entered the classroom and introduced us to the teachers and other children. As I left the classroom, I looked back at The Princess. She and Courtney were talking and giggling happily together and were inseparable from that point on and for many years after that!
Actually, so were Lola and I.
Lola took me under her wing and introduced me to other mothers. She included me in playdates and girl's nights out and lunches. I don't even know exactly how it happened, but she became my burg guru and my best friend. She knew everyone (or so it seemed) in our little burg. We have carpooled and gone to birthday parties and sung karaoke and ordered umpteen gazillion pizzas over the years. She always arrives early when we entertain to help me set up and she always stays late to help me clean up.
She also never lets me take her picture so I had to crop and get creative to find these!
Once, after I had an emergency appendectomy and was supposed to be taking it easy, she showed up at our house and announced, "You need to get out of the house. C'mon...we're going shopping!" I protested that I wasn't able to walk very far and really didn't have the energy for shopping, but she waved away my protests and said that she had everything all planned and not to worry. Since she had "that look" in her eyes, I realized that it was futile to argue with her and so I capitulated.
She was right. She DID have everything planned. She had borrowed a wheelchair and she pushed me through the mall in the wheelchair that day. She was also right about me needing to get out of the house. It was a great day...and we also have a story about Mr. Wonderful and his housecleaning methods which we still chuckle about to this day - but that's a another story for another day!
Lola and I have vacationed together, with 5 kids between us but sans husbands, several times. We have so much in common it's ridiculous. We also have some major differences - she loves what she refers to as "the happiest place on earth" and I detest what I refer to as that "rodent infested hellhole" which is a couple of hours south of us. She is a die hard Republican and I'm...you know...NOT!
The five kids at the beach...
Posing at the beach...
My kids love going to the beach with Lola because she isn't a big scaredy-cat like their mother...she takes them out past their knees (which is my limit) to the sandbar to look for sand dollars...while I stay on shore and take photos and have a cell phone handy in case they are attacked by Jaws and I have to call 911.
Hey, SOMEONE has to be the responsible one!
More vacation photos from you know where...
As I sifted through years and years worth of photographs, I realized that I have very few of Lola and none of us together. Thus, I was reduced to using these "nostril shots" taken by a munchkin child.
In spite of our differences of opinion, we have remained steadfast friends for the past ten years. Our friendship has survived the children attending different schools and having vastly different activities. It has survived family crises, which we have helped each other through. It has survived illnesses and hospitalizations. It has survived contentious presidential elections and churches splitting up.
Lola is funny and kind and generous and loyal. She is the one person I know I can call at any time of the day or night and know that she will drop whatever she is doing to help me out. She takes care of my kids and my pets (when we are out of town) and the house...and me. She lets me borrow her van when I need something larger than the anteater to haul something in. She has been known to nag Mr. Wonderful for me when I have a birthday coming up. She has more energy than the energizer bunny. She doesn't judge me, ever. We both know each other's secrets and all the skeletons in the closet. She knows why I didn't speak to Mr. Wonderful for an entire week after my birthday one year and why we needed to get a new mattress. My kids think of her as their "other mother."
She knows everything about the 70's and 80's...I'm not kidding - EVERYTHING! She is the goddess of 70's and 80's trivia.
I feel so lucky to have Lola in my life. She is an amazing, special, beautiful soul and I am so thankful that she decided to be my friend.