I’ve known Gina and her family for 33 years. She’s the closest person I have to a ‘sister’, me being an only child, and having a friendship that long, is a rich well to draw many shared memories from.
My parents actually introduced us as friends, when I was 11 and she was 8 in our provincial neighborhood of Clifton, NJ. They were out walking our dog and saw Gina (also an only child), playing in her yard. I imagine my parents said something like, “Would you like to meet our little girl who just lives a few blocks away?”, and Gina, in her bubbly 8 year old self was like, ‘Sure’.
And so began our childhood friendship. We went to different schools, so our times together included sharing play dates during the humid Northeast summers, or going down the shore to where her extended family had summer homes., We went to each others churches (Roman Catholic for her, Episcopalian for me), experiencing different ways of seeing the world.
We took trips together with my family, a long road trip to Arizona and a train trip to Montreal.
As we became teenagers, our friendship learned to bend and flex within our own social circles. She came with me and my friends to that amazing Bon Jovi concert I’ve often reminisced about.
And then we both moved out of Clifton and began our journeys as young adults going to college, moving across the country and back, still keeping in touch through letters (pre-Internet) and phone calls.
We’ve had times in our relationship, just like siblings probably do, where we didn’t talk for awhile, mad about this or that, and then when we finally did talk or admit our mistakes, the relationship resumed on yet another level.
We’ve both seen each other through every long-term relationship or marriage, through deaths or health crises in our families, through career changes and existential searches for meaning.
I’m grateful and quite happy for knowing her, and now, as we both are counselors, sharing a common goal of helping the world reach clearer understanding.
Eileen Dey 2014