The Mountaintop – Epilogue

(Several people had asked me “So you climbed this mountain together; you’ve done x, y, z…what’s next?”  There is no one better to answer that than another of the Women of Winesday — one who perhaps has a bit more perspective-by-way-of-distance on the climb than any of us who went through the looking-glass.  Now: eee‘s epilogue…)

i’m honored to write about friendship, and in particular, about the women of winesday (wow). i didn’t participate in the mount whitney climb, and my distant view of the mountain isn’t as compelling as their first-person narratives. but we all have mountains and molehills, peaks and valleys in our lives, and these women have supported me through my hardest climb yet.

ms and i have had many parallels in life. we’re two years apart in age but we grew up in the same so-cal suburb, with its spanish-style homes on tree-lined cul-de-sacs, and teenage boys with fake ids and pick-up trucks, and clean-cut missionaries on bikes, and swimming pools on hot summer days, and shaded paseos created just for long runs. we went to the same high school, swam laps with future olympians, admired/abhorred mrs. lund’s reject rules, and had boyfriends who later announced they were gay.

we joined sororities at and graduated from the same university. we have more degrees than we know what to do with. we’re international women of mystery, as evidenced by our passport stamps and uncanny ability to speed through airport security. we’re women of sport, and philanthropy, and wine.  we’re women of the pen – or these days, of the keyboard – and write for fun, out of compulsion, or for emotional reckoning.

we’re also women of divorce. exactly one year ago, my beautiful then-life shattered like glass and my ex and i filed for divorce – an emotionally and physically devastating decision that left me ambivalent, confused, disheartened. at the same time, i accepted a job that offered opportunity, travel, personal and professional development, and a new home 3,000 miles away. i figured there was nothing left to lose, so i picked up the broken shards of that life, packed a few dry-cleaned outfits in a suitcase, and moved my life to cacophonous, fabulous nyc.

in my first week of work, after i posted something on facebook about being on the east coast, ms sent me a message inviting me to winesday. despite our mutual friends and affinities, we had never actually been “friends,” except in the i-have-1000-friends-on-facebook sense. i didn’t know ms, but i said yes.

(i have respect and admiration for people who “come from a place of yes,” who are up for new things, who affirm and confirm. it’s very easy to say no, to restrict, to shut down. saying yes is generally much harder, more vulnerable, yet bolder and more worthwhile.)

i fell hard for winesday. my friends have fascinating lives across all sectors. the ladies and i share support, witty banter, a mutual aversion to pants, a love of jesus band-aids, themed parties, tiaras, spontaneous photo shoots in dirndls and holiday sweaters, and a mop-like mascot named roo.

(sweater party 2010)

(winesgiving 2010)

my fave theme is still “chilean minesday,” which featured chilean wine and meredith’s veggie chili – hardhats optional. and although there’s a conspicuous lack of horn spoons at ms’ upper east side home, at least we all now know what they are.

moving to new york, i took the pieces of my life and created something new. it looks a little different, but it’s lovely. in many ways, these friends have been the glue.

what do i love about the women of winesday? we laugh. we accept each other with unconditional love and without judgment. (this was huge post-divorce, when i lost some of my nearest and dearest friends who couldn’t weather the storm with me.) we show up – sometimes with a casserole, or puff pastry, or soup; always with wine. (i have a near-perfect attendance record when i’m in new york. i’ve even joined a winesday via skype.) we say yes. whether it’s to cheer for a friend running a marathon through the city streets, take impromptu road trips to dc, hike in camouflage pants, grab drinks on the upper east side, escape to a ridiculous fantasy world known as “spa castle,” or CLIMB A FRIGGIN MOUNTAIN, we say yes.

i wasn’t able to join the ladies on the mountain, and although i thought ms would disown me as a friend (i still have my penitent text message saved), i’m still here. and now we have a new adventure! (you know when you wake up and you’re not sure if something was a dream or reality? THAT.)

two nights ago, in a flurry of tweets, several women of winesday spontaneously and enthusiastically committed to running the napa marathon next march. ms’ birthday weekend, wine, sunshine, california…. this time, we said hell yeah.

(And so begins the next chapter for the Women of Winesday…)

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