The last time Jaimee, Jess and I were all in the same room I’m pretty sure we were 19 and 20, drinking illegally and talking about boys. It was Jess’s going away party. She was leaving Mizzou to attend college closer to home and the man she would end up marrying. Jess and I eventually lost touch shortly after, and though Jaimee and I continued to hang out frequently throughout college, our communication drifted and became more and more sporadic as the years went by.
It’s your typical story of friends you miss, but just don’t know what you’d say if you got back in touch with them after many years. What would you have to talk about other than recounting stories of the times you used to drink a whole bottle of wine on your own BEFORE heading out to the bar?
Then, as I waddled in from the mailbox 8 months pregnant, I found it, a birth announcement with a picture of a boy with eyes unmistakably his mother’s. Jaimee had a baby! I sent her a congratulatory card and included my number and email, and while I can’t remember who called who(m?), somehow we managed to get back in touch. Through a back and forth email chain I came to find out that Jess gave birth to a little boy around the time I had Kendall, and then was pleasantly surprised to find a comment on this very blog from her shortly after.
Suddenly, we were all back in touch, conversations as effortless as we left them back in Columbia, MO. This time instead of talking about hangovers, sales at Express and J-School teachers, we covered topics like breastfeeding and colic and postpartum horror stories (if you think I had it bad, you would cry hearing what poor Jess went through).
Over the last year we’ve exchanged emails and phone calls and pictures of our little boys, hoping out loud every now and then to all get together again sometime. The opportunity finally presented itself last week when I travelled back up to Missouri to meet Scott on a business trip. The three of us were pretty spread out across the eastern half of the state, but, committed to seeing each other, we all drove two hours to the St. Louis Zoo on Tuesday.
Despite the early and long drive, despite completely depriving three boys under two of their morning nap, despite all the factors that were against us, it was a MIRACULOUS event and not a single tantrum or meltdown was had. We met at the zoo, not so the boys could learn all about animals, but so we would have an appropriate venue to keep them strapped inside their strollers while we talked. We knew there was no way in hell we would be able to carry on a conversation if we had to chase them around.
We pushed and talked and walked in circles, occasionally breaking to squat down, point and say halfheartedly, “Look. There is a bird. Can you say bird? Anyway… as I was saying… breastfeeding hurt like a bitch.” We were totally phoning it in on the parenting front, but I don’t think the boys knew any better. The real work came when we went to lunch at the Boat House. All three boys, apparently, have an unhealthy obsession with ducks and nearly ripped our arms off trying to jump in the lake after them. Then we exchanged more mom stories while taking turns pulling away knives and sugar caddies from them at the table.
It was a weird/cool full circle moment of life. I don’t think we could have ever guessed 9 years ago that the next time we’d all be together our conversations would be about boys under the age of two and misuse of a sippy cup (if considered a punishable offense) would be the only illegal drinking going on. It’s a fun bond to have, and it’s been wonderful getting to know these girls all over again. Who knows… maybe in 2026 when they all three graduate from high school, we will come together again in Columbia, MO and send off our next generation of Mizzou Tigers.
Until then, one thing is for sure. There are many more phonecalls and emails and meetups in our future, and hopefully some legal drinking, too.
Kendall and Micah will both be 15 months soon and Owen is nearly 20 months