05 November 2005

Happy Birthday Mabel!

Gertie and Mabel - 1988
She is a friend of my mind...The pieces I am she gather them and
give them back to me in all the right order.
- Toni Morrison

Today Mabel enters her 39th year. And we enter the 20th year of our friendship. She is my wonderful, sweet, brilliant, darling friend. I cannot imagine my life without her. She is my connection to reality. My compass.
Mabel didn't like me at first. I walked up to her and started talking. She tried to walk away and I followed her still talking, too oblivious to realize that she thought I was a dingbat. She realized that she couldn't shed me and accepted her fate. She became my friend.
God brought us together when we were both going through some very rough times. Polar opposites that fit together to form a union of friendship, loyalty, and trust. We came from very different lives, but at that moment we were on the same level and could totally understand each other when no one else could.
There are millions of moments I can think of with Mabel. Being roommates in several crappy apartments. Crying together over stupid boys. Mabel and I teaching others the fine art of jumping in the fountains downtown and charming the cops that stopped by to let us. Each of us eating an entire pint of vanilla Hagen-Daz ice cream with frosted animal crackers while watching movies. Driving around in her P-O-S orange car with the windows rolled down laughing our asses off. Playing New Order or The Cure as loud as we could and singing along. Wherever we were, we could always get everyone else to dance.
Oh, we had soooo much fun. And we took care of each other. Even when we fought and weren't speaking to each other we still kept tabs on what the other one was doing. The way we always made up after a fight was that one of us would show up or call the other one to talk about something that was going on. We couldn't stand not to have an opinion about what was going on with each other.
Mabel became a grown-up long before I did. She still put up with me and mothered me a lot. She finished school and got her teaching degree. She got married. She moved to another state to start her career. We still occasionally talked. But there was a distance while we transitioned. This is where most people would stop being friends. But we still were, even without speaking. We went a long time until one day she just felt like she should call. I was going through a strange time in my life and her timing was perfect. I really needed her. We went from not speaking for three years to talking every day again.
She just knows when I need something. She will call me right when I am going to call her and cry on her shoulder. When I had a horrible miscarriage, I called her from the hospital collect and she listened to me cry without saying a word for 45 minutes. She helps me formulate my thoughts and she listens to what I am really saying. She once drove six hours out of her way with her husband in tow on her way back home from a cross country trip to check on me in person because I sounded funny on the phone. In spite of what I am saying she always knows what's really going on with me.
She has been a constant source of love for me. I don't feel I could ever do enough for her. I try very hard to be a good friend to her. I do my best to remind her that she is doing a great job in her life. She is a psychotic perfectionist. She gets mad at herself for not figuring out stuff that takes other people years to get in 10 minutes. She will look at something and figure out a plan immediately. She manages to do more things in a day than most people while taking care of three kids by herself and then bitch that she isn't doing enough. That's why I get to be her friend. I remind her that she is doing enough and that she doesn't have to have everything perfect.
When we became friends, we were just babies. Then we grew up and had babies. During the next twenty years we get to watch our babies grow up. We are Aunties to each others children and we each know all of their stories. Our children have two moms. I am comforted to know that if anything were to happen to me, my children will still have me. Mabel will keep my spirit around for them.
I wish I could do more for you Ms. Mabel. You are the best friend that I have ever had and I adore you. Thank you for taking care of me, listening to me, and being there for me. You are truly a wonderful person and the world is a better place because you are in it.
Happy Birthday!
Love, Gertie

5 comments:

crazyvirgo said...

that is the most wonderful friendship and gina you do amazing justice to your friend. you guys are lucky to have each other.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MABEL. not only do you get the coolest name in the world award, but damn near the best bestie ever.
i think a tear actually escaped my cynical, cemented eyes.

mabel said...

Gertie-
This is the best present ever. You have been the greatest, most loyal friend, and the only REAL family I have. We have been through hell, big hair, bastards, and birth - together.

Crazyvirgo is right, I have THE best bestie in the world! You keep me breathing when it seems too hard, and drag me kicking and screaming into reality. For that, I will always be thankful. I love you Gertie, you are the sister God knew I needed. Here's to 20 more! Mabel

Jan Buckman said...

What a wonderful tribute to an extraordinary friend. Gina, you are a very very lucky person. Mabel is too.

RBrown said...

Hells bells, Mabel and Gina, I'm still trying to get my friends to read my blog, meanwhile you're writing this beautiful tribute to your bestie on yours. Without ever having met either of you, I just know you're lucky gals to have one another.

Happy b-day to you, mabel...hope it was a great one!

Nicole said...

This made me teary- How blessed you both are- and I have pictures with my hair that big (and bigger) I am ashamed to say. . .