Today, marks the birth of my best friend’s sons. They are 19.
I met these boys when they were two, and while I could recount countless, horribly embarrassing stories about them – ‘cause I knew them when they hated wearing clothes – I will, instead, focus on their amazingness.
One year ago today, I woke up hungover. Severely hungover. I was in my best friend’s guest room.
It was the morning after my dad’s memorial service. It was a simple service at his golf club. I was asked by his friends to lead a story-telling session. Then, it was like pulling teeth to get people to speak. I told several stories, some of them I’ve written about here. Finally, some people spoke – more to make me feel better than to share. I remember feeling like I was alone and out on a limb – my stories making sense only to me as the wine started to really kick in. Then, just as I would get a little nervous, a fresh glass of wine would appear in my hand – my family and friends making sure I was never without. Liquid courage.
I was driven home that night by my best friends. They took my contacts out, put me in bed, then just stayed with me while I cried. A lot. Something I hadn’t really done yet.
The next morning I woke up. My entire being ached. It was the remnants of alcohol, but also the feeling of permanence – he was gone.
I got up, slowly, and went to the bathroom to shower. But I couldn’t do it.
What if I got in the shower and didn’t feel better at all? In fact, what if I got in the shower only to get out to find that my dad was still gone?
I sat on the edge of the tub, fully clad in my pajamas. That’s when one of the twins, an 18-year-old man-child, walked by the bathroom.
“Morning, Mollycox,” he grumbled as he shuffled past, trying to walk the sleep off.
Then, just as suddenly, he reappeared in the doorway. He looked at me, took in how I’m sure I appeared, and came over to me. He perched himself on the side of the tub next to me, put his arm around me, and said simply, “I love you.” Then, got up and left.
I went back to bed and was awoken by his brother a couple of hours later. He was going to work – on his birthday no less – and wanted to say goodbye. He kissed me, said “I love you,” then left.
On their 18th birthday, they gave me the gift of understanding – “We know you’re hurting. We’re so sorry. We love you.” It gave me the strength I needed to rise that day and shower.
So, on this, their 19th birthday, I will not tell the stories of how they would speak in a bizarre language only they could understand; or how one time, the fit they threw at a store was so over-the-top that security wanted to know if they could help; or how even after being at school all day, they would come home and strip naked before they would hang out with us; or how jumping naked on the trampoline brought them incredible joy; or the time that their dog, Froggy, got a lit cigarette caught in his hair, and we kept screaming “Stop, drop, and roll, Froggy” while their mom chased him around with a hose.
Oh…wait…I guess I just did. I guess they’ll provide the understanding, again, when they realize that I am the one who also provides embarrassment.