Once upon a time, seven years ago, I graduated from college, married my sweetheart, then followed him across country far from family and friends, so he could go to culinary school. Not long after moving to New York, I managed to land a job recruiting graduate students for Marist College (which probably only happened because I somehow tricked my boss into thinking I was older than I was).
It was 2007. I was 22 years old, fresh from college, newlywed to a husband who was already deeply entrenched in restaurant life, living in a brand new state, and working in a job where I was not only the youngest of the college employees in the office, but also younger than some of the student workers. I’m a hard worker and I love a challenge, so I mastered the technical portions of my job relatively quickly; but let’s just say navigating higher ed office politics took me a while longer, especially in the very special place that was Marist College’s Graduate & Adult Enrollment office. It may have taken some time, but two years later, when I left Marist for the greener pasture that was the Bard MAT program, I had developed some incredibly wonderful if somewhat unlikely friendships among my coworkers.
It hardly seems possibly that I have only been friends with Margarete and Laura for five or six years, and yet photos with giant baby bellies don’t lie. Over the two years that I worked at Marist, I learned so much from these women and grew to love and admire them. By the time that I was expecting Nora the two of them were my best friends in New York, offering so much more than just advice on dealing with office drama.
Margarete became my model for super mom. Both Chris and I continue to look toward Margarete’s and her husband’s relationship as an example of how we would like our marriage to be. We think she is an incredible, strong, and wonderful person, which is why we were honored to have her at Nora’s birth and why we named Nora after her.
Laura gave me the courage to think beyond the status quo. She encouraged me to dream big and take the next step when it was clear that I had outgrown my position at Marist; without her words of wisdom, I never would have dared to apply to Bard let alone take the job when it was offered. It was because of Laura that I built my first website and realized my inner nerdy love for web and graphic design, which led me to the work that I currently do. She is so supportive and I know she never stops recommending me to people.
Both Margarete and Laura cheered our decision to leave New York, even though it felt sad to move far away from friends. Since we left New York, they have been faithful about visiting me (also this, this, and this), often bearing gifts and happily spending time with my girls and hubby as well. A little over a week ago, Margarete and Laura came out to visit me in Fort Collins. They came to see the sights, play with Nora and Zara, spend some girl time together, and, most importantly, to celebrate my happy July no-cancer news.
Friendship is an amazing thing. Five years ago, Margarete, Laura, and I all ended up working in the same office at a liberal arts college on the Hudson River. If you had told us then that we would end up being long-lasting friends, I’m not sure we would have believed you. We are all different ages and we are all in very different places in our lives. The three of us now live in three different states. Only one of us still works for Marist. We only see each other once a year (if we are lucky). Even a husband or two has wondered why we are all still friends. But we are. Despite all of our differences and the time apart, we can get together and it feels as if no time has passed at all. We each bring something different to the table and we each love one another for our own individual spirits.
Always, I will be thankful for these women and that they have made me part of their lives. And from the moment I hugged them goodbye after a much too short visit, until some yet-to-be-decided date for next year’s reunion, I’ll be counting down the days until I see them again.