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Like Riding a Bike

I have just gotten in from having dinner with my cousin Peggy.  Growing up, my Aunt Franny and Uncle Ricky had two children – Peggy, who is 9 months younger than me; and Rick, who was 11 months younger than Bean.  We lived down the street from my grandparents, and any time Peg and Rick would come, Bean and I would be there.  We played together great as kids, and often had sleep overs at my Aunt Franny’s house as we were growing up.  We put on little shows in my aunt’s basement, and we read comic books together, and we just always enjoyed being in each other’s company.

My mom and dad divorced, and we spent almost all of our weekends with our dad; and eventually, my aunt and uncle divorced, and Peg and Rick spent a lot of weekends with their dad.  We got too old to still be doing skits in the basement, and with us living in Jersey by then and Peggy and Rick in Northeast Philly, we didn’t get together as often.  But I always felt a special connection with Peggy.

Over the years, however, we sort of fell out of touch.  We were at each other’s weddings, but I had not seen Peggy’s daughter since she was a year old (she is now 16), and I had never seen her son (who is now 12).  Since we’ve been back in Jersey, we’ve emailed occasionally and tried to plan to get together, but with her schedule, my schedule, the kids’ schedules, it just never seemed to get off the ground for us to get together.  But she emailed me the other day and asked me to get together for dinner, and tonight was the night.

We met at the Italian Bistro, and I have to admit that I was a little nervous.  Peggy’s life has taken a much different direction from mine.  She is a vice president of a bank and has a very high profile business position.  I am my kids’ mom.  I thought we’d have nothing to talk about, and I worried that there would be long periods of silence and conversation that would end up being about the weather.

Well, just like riding a bike, once you learn how to ride, you never forget.  Once we got back together, it was like we were never apart.  It was so easy to talk to her and catch up on what we’ve done and how we’ve been for the last oh so many years.  We talked and talked, and our dinner stretched over the course of more than 3 hours.  And I hated for it to end!   I knew Jim and the kids would be wondering about me, but it was so great to have that time with Peggy.  I wish I had 3 more hours I could have spent.  After I got in the car and was driving home, I started thinking of all the things I wanted to ask her about – how her brothers are, how her dad is, how her husband is!   We talked about our kids, our parents, our childhood. It was so great to share memories and talk about how our experiences with things we shared growing up were so different for each of us.

Part of me was tempted not to go through with the dinner, fearing that I wouldn’t be “smart enough” to hold up my end of the conversation, or worried that our lives would be so different that we would find no common ground on which to meet.  I’m so glad I went, and I hope we get together many more times in the future.