Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nothing's Sweeter Than Suzi...

This past weekend we took a road trip from Western New York to Central Pennsylvania to surprise my dear friend, Suzi, at her going away party.  It was a bittersweet weekend and as today is Suzi's moving-away day, I feel the need to gush about her just a wee bit.

I first met Suzi when our babies were just months old.  We were both new transplants to Pennsylvania, our husbands fresh into their Ph.D.'s.  I remember our first meeting - I remember feeling like her sweet midwestern drawl sounded familiar somehow, and I remember thinking that we were meant to be friends because she said the word "pop" instead of "soda" just like I do.  I also remember telling her that if she wanted to be a part of our playgroup she had to bake something (I'm such a meanie!  But truth be told, we were talking about our love of baked goods and I knew that this chick could BRING IT.  Boy, did she ever!  Suzi's dessert recipes are now legendary amongst our playgroup friends).

There is something so special and everlasting about forging a friendship in a new town with a new mom who is from some far away place just like you. Both of us had our babies in State College, away from our families.  Both of us had newborns that had (and still have) intense personalities with their own sprinkling of medical issues thrown in just for good measure.  Both of us were utterly bewildered whenever our sweet Pennsylvanian friends said "a quarter of" instead of "a quarter to" whenever they spoke about the time.  Both of us came to State College, not necessarily of our own choosing, but because we were proud Ph.D. wives.  In the end, I think we both ended up loving Penn State and the family of friends we found there more than we could have ever imagined.

Through the years it took for our husbands to pursue their own academic successes, we laughed, cried and drove ourselves towards happy ice cream pie-induced oblivion together. Suzi was there to invite us over for Thanskgiving dinner when we had nowhere to go, she was there to help me craft hairbands that matched Inara's first Halloween costume, to sew a sentimental flower onto a gifted baby carrier, to always listen as I blathered on endlessly (and usually tearfully) about stressful advisors, departments, deadlines, dissertations, job hunts, interviews, moving, and finally graduating. She did all this and so much more - without question, with such grace, and with way fewer swear words than me.

Now that Suzi's husband (Dr. Jim is in the HOUSE!) has completed his Ph.D. program, I find myself in a strange position.  On the one hand I want to be the same friend that Suzi has been to me all these years.  I want to be excited for her, to tell her that we are so happy for everything her family has accomplished together, that moving far away (all the way to Missouri!) means only the start of bigger and better things.  But I also don't want her to go.  When we moved from Pennsylvania a year and a half ago, somewhere deep inside I just always always expected it to stay exactly the same way as when I left (because let's face it, I'm immature and I think that the world revolves around me).  And to be honest, I simply can't imagine a State College without you in it, Suzi, dear.  It's just not fair.

Being a grown up really stinks sometimes.  I wish I could take all the wonderful friends that we've made since moving to the U.S. and stick them in a box to carry around with me wherever life takes us. Can someone please get on that?  Because I'd really really appreciate it.

Suzi, you are such a bright, shining star.  And we miss you already.



 The Giraffes are from a shoot I did for Suzi's business, Starbright Baby - we had so much fun that day, and she named the Argyle one after Inara.

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