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What Should You Hold Onto Forever?

Last weekend I attended the surprise birthday party of a childhood friend. Eighteen women around a large table in a private back room of a downtown restaurant, the noise level high, the atmosphere charged. The only one I knew at the dinner was the guest of honor; the 16 others a blur of blowouts and lipsticked smiles.

As we waited for the birthday girl’s arrival, I chatted with others, exchanging answers to “How do you know Eden?” Many went to college with her, the rest fellow Soccer Moms. I was the only from way, way back. Like third grade.

My Nana Banana used to save things, her kitchen stocked with items dating back to something she received as a wedding present. I loved those old-fashioned garlic presses and juice extractors, the silver tarnished, the style obviously pre-Bed Bath and Beyond. Our family joked about Nana’s affinity for holding onto things forever. Unlike Nana Banana, I am not a saver of stuff. But I am of other things.

Eden and I became friends 37 years ago. Although our lives have taken different paths and we rarely see each other, communicating once or so a year via email or text, there remains a bond, a shared collection of adolescent memories that shaped who we have become and, at least for me, brings comfort in my daily life. A happy childhood is the foundation for a happy adulthood.

During the party, everyone took turns telling their unique story of when they met Eden and their favorite shared memory. For anyone having to reach back almost 4 decades, they might have trouble coming up with one memory. For me, I had trouble choosing one. Those memories, of which there are many, feel like yesterday. Maybe that’s why I feel like a kid at heart. The “kid” hasn’t left. I hope she never does.

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