Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Last Standing Sunbeam

Today I had a long talk over the phone with one of my best friends, Chloe. Last week, when Janine and I were driving home from Utah, she called and told me that her boyfriend Matt had proposed, and she said yes.

I was not totally surprised, but very excited. Our conversation was brief, as Chloe's family was over, and since then we've been playing telephone tag to really catch up. Today we finally got in touch with more than each other's voicemail, and she related the whole story. Matt's proposal was sweet, and suited Chloe to a tee. She's now embarking on a journey of frenzied wedding preparations that I hope I can help with.

This past week has left me plenty of time to reminisce and reflect about what this means for our friendship. Chloe and I have not only been friends our whole lives, we are two parts of a trio, the first member of which got married in summer 2008. That's us at the top of the page; Chloe, me, and Kylie. The pictures a little old, we took it on the last day before we began embarking our separate lives in college. I remember we were a little teary eyed that day. We knew it was the end of our close friendship as we knew it. From then on we'd all be living more separate lives. Chloe's engagement signifies the next step in our increasingly spread out trio. We were still getting used to having one boy tag along, but two? I've become the minority as the single girl, and it's making me feel nostalgic.

So forgive me if this post seems long winded and pointless. I'm in a reminiscent frame of mind.

Chloe, Kylie and I met in the winter of 1988. Actually, the other two may have met before, but that's when I was born, so that was really when the trio started. Our families were all in the same ward or church congregation, so I'm guessing our introduction may have gone something like this:

Chloe's mom: Karyn, I see you've had a little girl.
My mom: Yes, isn't she cute? She has red hair.
Kylie's mom: Wow, my baby girl has red hair too. Though yours is a prettier red (sorry Kylie, I had to)
Chloe's mom: Just think, all our little girls were born in the same year. They'll be in the same primary class growing up.
My mom: How nice.

Of course that is less then accurate. All I know for sure is as far back as I remember, Kylie, Chloe, and I have been friends. And we were all born in the same ward. However, out of all the friends I've had through my life, people have come and gone, and some stay in touch and some don't. But the only friends that are not related me I've kept constant since I was born are these two.

We were in the same Sunbeam class, and occasionally refer to ourselves affectionately as the Sunbeams of 1990. I hope we have the year right on that, we were 3. We grew up together in 8th ward, and lots of other kids came and went in that time. Some of them we even liked better then each other, but there was always us three, and by the time we were twelve, we were the only three our age. Our poor primary teachers at that stage. I don't think we ever shut up.

I remember almost every Sunday we'd beg our parents to let us go to one of the other's house to play. On the times when they let us we'd always have wild adventures. We went through the Barbie phase, Beanie Baby phase, and several other 90s trends together. Our favourite games though were when we played house in the playhouse in my backyard. That or the trampoline.

By the time we were in jr. high the obvious differences in our personalities were obvious. That plus the fact we went to three separate schools led us to form our main groups of friends separately. But still, all three of us hung out together. Interestingly enough, we all went to the same high school, yet that was where our separation really began.

When we were about 16 or 17, the boundaries of our stake changed, and Chloe's family was switched out of our ward. A few months later my family moved to a new development and a new ward. The day we realized we were no longer going to be together the way we always had, we were very dramatic. We cried, hugged, and insitsed to our parents that we must get together that afternoon for one last hurray.

Oh to be 16 again.

We didn't do anything that momentous. Except watch Gidget Goes Hawaii, which always send us into peals of laughter and reminds us of the so called "good old days." And that was the beginning of the change.

High school was also when we started our annual ski trips. Our tradition began with the memory of a Young Women's ski trip we'd taken when we were younger. Chloe and I were both experienced skiers and went zooming down different mountains. Kylie on the other hand, took half a day to get down the bunny hill with my dad teaching her how to turn. Oddly enough after that experience, Kylie still loved the sport, and wanted to go again. My family invited her to come along once, and Chloe was invited to. She couldn't make it, but had a brilliant idea instead.

We were all grown-up to a mature age of 17. We could drive, or at least she could. Why didn't we go just the three of us? And so a tradition began. We try to take one day to go every year. It's harder now that we actually have expenses, but we have had some great times. I even remember one year where we drove to Kimberley and stayed over night. We built memories of all snow blading together (which is better by the way), the hockey team in Kimberley, Chloe throwing snowballs at the boys she thought were cute, and Kylie ramming her head into a tree. Good times.

The summer the pair of them left for university left us all feeling nostalgic. I was a grade behind them, so I was staying behind in high school while they ran off to the "real grown-up life." Kylie went to Lethbridge, and Chloe ran away to Virginia. The last time we got together, we went to the zoo, took the above picture, and cried. We are very dramatic sometimes.

That was the beginning of our separate lives. We'd always had lives outside the group, but this was really different. We were living in different cities, we only stayed in touch through facebook and when we'd get together during the holidays.

One night when I was in my first year of university, Kylie gave me THE CALL. If you haven't guessed what that is, refer to the beginning of the blog. I didn't even know she was dating anyone so I was considerably more surprised then when Chloe called.

The day after THE CALL, Chloe phoned me at school. She was then in Ontario going to dental hygiene school and we spent an hour on the phone crying and wondering what was going on. My cell phone bill that month was not fun.

I admit we were a little skeptical of Brendan, this boy who'd swooped in and was stealing the heart of our beloved Kylie, but thankfully we found him to be quite respectable and pulled our act together enough to host Kylie's bridal shower.

And suddenly we had this new person in our midst. His name was Brendan and he was attached to Kylie's arm. He was funny and just the right amount of quirky to suit our Kylie. We liked him in spite of our own selfish desires to keep her to ourselves.

And now we have come full circle and here we are again. Only this time, it is Kylie and I speculating to the side. Also this time, the news is less shocking and mournful, as 50% of the spectators are married, and want everyone else to join them in that life. When I make THE CALL, no one will cry, they'll be relieved I'm finally catching up.

I spoke to Kylie last week about Chloe's marriage, and this Matt character we will soon have to welcome into our expanding trio (note: it is still a trio. Husbands only serve as add-ons. They are not fully functioning members of Sunbeams 1990). We both like him, but we couldn't help talking about "the old days" when we were all single and confused. Then Kylie posed the question I knew she'd ask.

"Elena, are you interested in anyone right now? Anyone I should know about?"

Typical. One person takes the plunge and we all need to dive into matrimony. Still, I appreciate her question. Since Kylie's engagement when we thought she was single, we've gotten better at communicating these facts. The answer was no, for those curious relatives reading this page, but I assured my friend, when there was news, she would be among the first to know.

So here's to my fellow Sunbeams; Kylie, Chloe, and tag-alongs Brendan and Matt. A new chapter in our friendship is beginning when marriage is the norm and I get to play the role of the crazy single friend. It's been a fun ride so far, hasn't it?

PS - House of Laughs. What's your problem?


Kylie Groft said...

This is my favorite post :)

Eileen Young said...

Enjoy the fact that you are still single & make the most of it. In the meantime learn ALL homemaking skills so when Mr. Right comes along you'll not only be proffficient in making pies & quilts but you will focus your time & talents pampering 'your man'!!
s-o-o : 'seize the day'