When it comes to friends, I am a rich, rich woman - the Bill Gates of compadres. I've always gratefully accepted this bounty but this weekend has brought a wonderful new revelation - a concept I hadn't fully grasped before.
Beyond the interest on my 401K, the passage have time has brought forth another great perk: My friends have gotten together and spawned a whole new generation of people that I REALLY dig. For years, my friends' kids have often been just cute short people whose faces I saw in Christmas card photographs. Lately, however, I've been getting to know them as people and they are a friggin' blast. They are also LOUD but hey - that's what happens when you're fairly new to Earth and have a lot to say.
The kids pictured above are a perfect example. (This photograph was taken around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday night, mere minutes before we went and toiletpapered somebody's house.) I have been pals with their moms since high school - together we have endured love, loss, run-ins with the law and lots of sisterly support.
Daughter of my wonderful pal, Debbie, Hannah is the blondie on the left. With her own modeling portfolio and three older brothers - she is both tough and beautiful. (You can find her on doll packages at a store near you, though she is since 'retired.') Nathan (in blue) and Tanner (with arm outstretched) are two of those brothers, whose main job is to "make sure no one kisses or harasses Hannah." Nathan is an actor and comedian in training and has inherited his father's great skill; Dad Greg is one of the funniest people I know - and I know A LOT.
Meanwhile, Tanner is already a rugged individual. He'll be one of those guys that either flies his own bush plane over the Alaskan wilderness, runs his own surf shop in Mexico or quietly becomes a powerful business tycoon. Whatever he does, he'll be independently content cuz that's his vibe.
Daughter of Andrea, Samantha is on the right and she was one of my very first friends in this generation. (Here we are again, in a parking lot fashion shoot in Santa Monica.) We have been in Wild West shows together and once loitered together for three days at petting zoo. Some of you may have seen me sporting the famous cowhide purse? Well, it was Samantha who picked it out. I'll carry it until it wears out or until PETA finds out and rips it off my shoulder - whichever comes first.
Sam is 14 and like her mother, doesn't mind telling you off in one breath and then laughing at herself in the next - a very lovable combination. Also like her mother, she is fierce, stunning and fearsome on the volleyball court. Both she and Hannah are the peak of their "OMG!!! OMG!!!! OMG!!!" take on the world which is hilarious when I realize that I used to be exactly like them. It's hard knowing all there is to know at 14 - it all goes down from there.
Another "kid" that I saw this weekend is, amazingly, no longer a kid at all but a real man.
When I first met Aaron, he was just two years old and very short. Now he is 22 and much taller. He is the "Mr. Son" of my dear friend, Heidi, whose birthday we celebrated this weekend. Because he is Heidi's son, he was raised without television and tons of real-life adventures which may or may not have anything to do with the fact that he is one of the kindest, gentlest deep thinkers I know. Aaron just graduated from UCLA with a degree in history, minoring in Art History. He is very zen and quite accustomed to bending down to hug people like me, who adore him.
This here is the daughter of my pal, Kathleen, who I've known since First Grade or so. Technically, her name is Emma but I know her simply as Gumdrop or, in cases of supergreatcoolness, "The Mighty Gumdrop."
She has a great brother too, named Devin (see below) - I used to call him "The Little Prince" but he needs an updated name that pinpoints his inherent studly coolness. I fully expect to see Devin on the cover of a Wheaties box someday, winning the World Cup for the U.S. I didn't actually see either of these kids this weekend but I came across these photos while penning this post and thought I'd throw 'em in the mix because I consider them friends as well, even if they don't know it yet. (Also, Gumdrop has a brilliant business plan - I'm hoping she loops me in at some point as an investor... it pays to remind her how far back we go. Business politics and all that - wink!)
There are ton more 2.0 kids I could mention here and eventually will, as the friendships grow and the adventures continue ... I'm happy to be that 'crazy Aunt' person who will give it to 'em straight and take their advice on what it means to be cool, once again, because I have surely forgotten.
To all my friends: Thanks! Now, go make more!