Oh, and if there was an overnighter, we were there! One time I even joined a small crowd roller skating from Rancho Cucamonga to Newport Beach. At night. (Unfortunately, no one bothered to tell me that the girls were driving out and only the guys were skating. I couldn't keep up and ended up riding in the bed of a pick-up truck.) If you were to drive it back then, it would have taken about an hour to get there on the freeways. We arrived at sunrise.
So, of course to be included on such a trip, I felt like one of the cool kids, right? Well, as cool as you could be if your big social events all revolved around roller skates.
Somewhere in that year of being 15, Jennifer and I, totally rocked the 80's style. I always blow-dried my hair and then used a curling iron to make it just wavy. Bangs. She either sported a perm or her hair was crimped to perfection. Eyeliner. Super tight jeans with oversize shirts. Oh, and we both had mouths full of braces.
One night we happened to spy this new guy. Kinda cute. Tiny little OP shorts and a shirt with a collar. Curly hair. And these massive skates like we'd never seen before. He was fast and athletic.
I ceded to Jenn when it came time for a "lady's choice" skate. Here's what I learned later.
His name was Norm.
He was older.
A hockey player.
And they were called Roller Blades.
Norm eventually became one of my best friends. I have now known him quite a bit longer than I have not. We had some wild days together, and might enjoy recounting those stories privately, but wouldn't necessarily want to share them with the world. Thus, when Norm turned 30, he instituted a new rule: Pre-30 Days. Anything that happened before you turned 30 could no longer be mentioned. He's serious about it, too. Five years ago he half-heartedly claimed he was moving on to the Pre-40 Days rule, but there's not as much to put behind from 30 to 40, so it's not hard and fast.
Norm has been such a huge part of my life. When he met the guy who would become my first husband, he pulled me aside within minutes and said, "What are you doing? You can do so much better than this." Because I am sometimes a complete idiot, I tensely replied, "No I can't" and then married the
He started dating Angela when I was pregnant with Corey. Corey and I stood up at their wedding. She's as awesome as he is. Their 14th anniversary is coming up this fall.
When I met Tom and thought he was pretty special, I arranged for a dinner with Norm and Angela. Norm gave his blessing by the end of dinner, which was good, because I already felt like Tom was the guy I was supposed to have waited for.
Tom and I married about five years later. Norm, Angela and her mom were all present. They even helped with setting up the day before.
Sometime around Norm's 40th birthday, we started hanging out less often. I'm not exactly sure why. And when I became pregnant with Madelyn and then Fynn, the calls became even less frequent. (I can still count on a birthday call where Norm will recount the convoluted mathematical equation that allows him to remember my birthday. It's a tradition.)
I know they've struggled with fertility issues. And I know that Angela has some severe weight issues, and hockey player Norm seems to be following in her footsteps. It seems plausible to me that either or both of those could be factors in their willingness to get together. But I also wonder if it's not that at all. What if I said or did something to offend one or both of them? What if Corey took something while we were at their house that last time? What if I'm just boring or we just don't live in the same higher home value areas and they're embarrassed?
Whatever it is, I'll probably never know. We're not that close anymore that I could really ask. And whatever the reason, it's not bad enough to end the friendship. I do still get calls. My calls are still answered. But our invitations frequently aren't. Or I will hear that they're going to come, but they don't and we never know why. When someone does show up, it's Norm to a party, alone.
Last year Norm stopped by here unexpectedly. Very unexpectedly since we live too far enough away for the casual drop in. I burst into tears. Honestly, I can't remember if this was right before or right after Fynnie was born. I'm sure hormones played a part, but still...
Which all brings me to today. Today I received an invitation to a surprise birthday party for Norm's 45th birthday. It's for this Saturday. Tomorrow. The invitation came in the form of an email addressed to "family and friends," but I was the only recipient. Sure, sure, she could have taken the time to BCC everyone, but who does that on a personal email? And she has rented out a facility on a Saturday evening. I know the economy's down, but could that really have happened before 10:20 this morning?
We are not going. For a legitimate reason. We already have a party for one of the girls' friend's first birthdays tomorrow afternoon, followed by a baseball game that evening. I RSVP'd saying I'm sure they'll have a great time and we'd love to hear about it later.
Between you and me? I didn't really want to even send that email.