I get a notification for an audition Tuesday. Don’t get excited, it’s unpaid. It’s a commercial for a mobile application that will be used on their website and will also be the start up video when the mobile application begins. “What are you passionate about? Tell us in sixty seconds.” Huh? It provides sides, so I click on the link. There are two monologues to choose from. Geez, a monologue. It’s only six sentences, but still, if they’re providing the sides now I should have it memorized by the audition tomorrow. One monologue is obviously a mother passionate about her child’s education. The other is a girl passionate about fitness and staying healthy. Easy choice. THEN it says to prepare my own monologue from a list of ideas/topics, including: relationships, politics, religion, work, sports, pets, family, friends, shopping, cooking.
I start to write a monologue about field hockey, but it doesn’t feel right. I decide to write about my passion for friendship. Weird to say it that way, but I’m sure that when I go into the audition I will definitely be excited to talk about my friends. I try to copy the other monologues in length and style. Keep it short and interesting. Obviously I talk about ‘Girls Weekend’, a weekend I organize once a year with 11 girlfriends from high school.
This of course, has a backstory, and once again, Aunt Jody is the culprit. I might be getting this wrong, but I think Aunt Jody is the one who started her Girls’ Weekend with friends back in the day. They would all go down to Wildwood, NJ. Later in life it became a full week down the shore. As I got older, it would happen that they would be holding Girls’ Weekend the same week that my family was staying in Ocean City, so the ladies would graciously invite “the girls” over: meaning my mom, myself, and my sisters. No boys allowed! That was a rule. “Oh, but Chuckie can come, too, just for a little.” Chuckie is my Dad and they all still treat him as if he is little Chuckie, Jody’s little brother. My Dad was the youngest of five, so I get it, but it’ still weird. He loves every second of their attention, though, so he gladly joins us. My sisters and I stay over one year. It was towards the end when Aunt Jody was sick. She couldn’t make it.
Karen and Phyllis (two of ‘the girls’) are asking us how much time we spend with our friends and how often we get together. I just graduated college and I’m busy with work, so it does get a little hard sometimes, but I still hang out with my friends. “You NEED to make time for each other. It’s important.” They tell us how they’ve been doing Girls Weekend for, gosh, forever, and how much it means to each of them. I nod and yes them, just listening to everything they say. I love when they tell stories about Aunt Jody, and even my Dad, that I never heard before. Karen talks about “Eleanor” and what a tough lady she was. That was my grandmother. These are the best stories.
Then Aunt Jody died. It was the first time in my life someone close to me died. I know I’m lucky that it didn’t happen until then, but God, did it suck. Something amazing came from it, though. “Girls’ Weekend” with my own crew: LMonny, Kelly O, Michele, Heather, Stevers, Colette, Christie, Sloss, Jackie, and Schultz. I had to have Girls’ Weekend. Luckily, three of my girlfriends have shore houses, so it’s been back and forth between the three of them for the past six years.
Every year I make invitations and send them out (so much more fun than an email). The first year I included a note about Aunt Jody. And every year since someone makes a point to make a toast to my Aunt Jody at some point. Every time I try not to get upset.
This year, after I made the decision to move to California, there were so many things I needed to do and figure out. The No. 1 thing on my mind was organizing Girls Weekend. I was home for the first two weeks in November, so I made it for the first weekend. I used to try and make a somewhat itinerary, but that was just silly. Most of us don’t get to see each other very often, so when we do, it’s just non-stop chatter. We talk, we drink, we dance. Mimosas are top priority. We always like to try and head to the beach for a little, even in November. It’s fun to go in sweats.
There was a suggestion the first or second year to go “out-out” like to a bar or something. None of that. We are literally in sweats the whole weekend, and my stomach always hurts from laughing so much. We usually do a Christmas Pollyanna exchange and put on Christmas music, even though it’s a little early. In recent years, a lot has been going on in all our lives, but this year was pretty crazy. I was moving to California, Jackie just got engaged to Pat, and Schultz decided to tell us on the first night that she’s pregnant! Repeatedly, throughout the weekend, Kel kept saying, “This is the best Girls Weekend EVER.” On Friday, they gave me a going-away present: a scrapbook of our friendship. Each of them made different pages. I’m in love. It was the nicest thing and I’ll cherish it forever.
Over the weekend everyone kept asking me the same thing. “How do you feel? Are you excited?” At that point I felt nothing, really, I was just excited for Girls’ Weekend. Since I’ve been out here, they have all been nothing but amazingly supportive. Texting, calling, skyping. When I was in college, a lot of my girlfriends told me how they hated high school and they met they’re best friends in college. Don’t get me wrong, I have amazing friends from college – a few I consider my best – but my high school friends know me better than anyone ever will. I am so lucky to have the best, most awesome-est friends in the world. They get me through every rough day, even when they don’t know it.