We get to be the very first girlfriend she ever has.
A few days ago, Annika and I were jamming out in the car to Des'ree. (Of course, you know Des'ree, right?) I think it's actually important that this post have a soundtrack, so go ahead and get to know her. Click and read on, please. :)
So, anyways, we were jamming out to Des'ree and I glanced back at her in the rear view mirror. She was laughing and pretending to sing and waving her arms around in imitation of the crazy, one-handed dancing I was doing (safely) while driving.
An interesting thought hit me: "This is a fun moment for me, but this is defining stuff for her. I'm doing this because I've always done stuff like this, but she's just now getting old enough to dance and sing and have fun in the car. This is new to her!"
And as I flashed back on all the memories I have from college and high school of driving around with girlfriends, windows down, singing at the top of our lungs, dancing like crazy in the backseat, I began to connect the dots back farther and farther until I hit the memories of me and my Mom, road tripping to Atlanta and belting out Garth Brooks on replay.
I have so many fun memories with my Mom. On that same road trip, she let me color my face with highlighters like it was 80's makeup and we took funny pictures together. When I was in middle school, she loaded her car full of giddy pre-teens and drove us through the neighborhood blasting KC and the Sunshine Band. (We thought we were so wild.) When I turned 21, my mom bought me my first martini at a hooka bar and we danced to Armenian music. If you know my mom, you know she just loves to have a good time. But the impressive thing is, she was never been "too grown" to have a good time with her middle school daughter. She didn't categorize having "adult fun" separate from having fun with me. She would rock to the California Raisins if that's what I wanted to rock to.
She just liked having a good time with me.
And you know what? I really think it made a difference in the kind of girlfriend I grew up to be.
I've never really wanted to be friends with a girl who didn't know how to just have clean, good fun. I knew Lindsay B. and I would be great friends when I spent the night at her house as a freshman in high school and, once we got bored, we ended up giving each other crazy makeovers and taking pictures. And then we got them developed at Eckerd's the next day. Do you remember waiting to get your pictures developed before you could see them? You only had 24, and you'd just cross your fingers and hope there were a few good ones.
While other high school kids were experimenting with sex, drugs, alcohol, and whatever else was exciting on the weekends, on Friday nights my girlfriends and I were usually drinking virgin margaritas and trying to dye our hair with black tea while quoting Meet Joe Black. I'll admit... sometimes the margaritas weren't quite-so-virgin... but all that ever amounted to was more laughing and an earlier bedtime.
Its not that we didn't get into any trouble. We snuck out and trespassed and damaged cars that we weren't supposed to be borrowing. But, we snuck out to watch a meteor shower together, we trespassed into fancy model homes after dark to do photo shoots inside, we threw out the alignment on my mom's Pontiac when I drove it through a field, trying to have a picnic in the wildflowers.
Even in college, we had so much fun doing the same kind of crazy stuff. Just us girls. Not needing anything else but food and laughter and music and windows down.
And come to think of it, one of the waiters at our wedding reception said they'd "never seen a crowd dance so hard for so long. Especially not a sober one."
I think back on the encouraging, sharpening, fun friendships I've been so blessed to find in my life and I really think it wouldn't be a stretch to say that my friendship with my Mom helped me know how to find them.
Helped me to even want them.
Helped me to be that kind of girlfriend.
And I figured, with Mother's Day coming around the corner, it was the perfect time to say thank you.
Thanks, Mom, for being my very first girlfriend!