The Fishy Kiss

Happiness comes in many variations. I have always been a big fan of the fishy kiss, it makes me happy.

Sure the Eskimo Kiss and the Butterfly Kiss are good options as far as fun kissing goes, however, I have been captured on film more often than not with the fishy-kiss-look. Here I was 18 years old and super classy. That’s my friend Robyn at her graduation, we were a year apart and she had been one of my closest friends in high-school. We did everything together, had a zillion sleepovers, had quadrillion private jokes, gave each other the case of the giggles and could make eye contact and know what the other person was thinking. We’d send each other friendship cards and she’d make me the best mishloach manot (a Jewish tradition of giving your neighbor 2 cooked foods with different blessings) around the holiday of  Purim. She’d fill a huge basket with jumbo sized chocolate bars and bags of chips and jumbo sized Mike and Ikes…it was heaven. Likewise, when she turned 21 I gave her a huge bottle of Absolute Vodka with lots of pretty ribbons, we got each other, almost always.

Over the years we kind of lost touch, reconnected for a bit because we lived in the same town as married couples and then had sporadic email correspondence once I moved countries.

As teenagers we would often go to her sister’s house for the weekend to ‘get away’ and we would always be bombarded by her nephews who were real cuties and we always fishy-kissed which would cause them to giggle. It works on my kids today, still. I love watching their faces try to make the fishy lips and when we finally connect – the smiles and giggling are contagious. Someone captured the oldest nephew giving me a fishy kiss at my wedding but it doesn’t look kosher so I’ll leave that one out. Of course, he’s like 20 today so that could embarrass him!

They were 4 sisters and I loved everything about their house. Even though one sister was married with children and not living at home I still felt like a part of their extended family. I was invited to all their affairs and I can still walk their old house in my mind. I can visualize the painted portraits of the girls as children that graced the wall of the dining room, I can remember the smell of the upstairs bathroom, I remember her younger sister coming home from a trip in LA where she saw the pilot show of FRIENDS, I remember hanging out in their pool, lounging on their deck, making tuna sandwiches, watching movies in her basement, everything! We even spent 2 summers in the Catskills together and “studied” abroad for 1/2 a semester. She forced me to get my driver’s licence when I was 20. We’d travel to work together and even once, the car broke down on the highway and we had to go on foot to search for a phone to call for help. She’d drive because I had no license and I’d throw quarters out my window over the top of the car to try to hit the toll booth basket. We made mix tapes and got our nails done. We did everything together!

Life has a funny way though of separating you from your good friends as you choose different paths. While she went back home and studied locally and married one my classmates, I went off to NYC to meet lots of new people, make new connections and branch out of my cocoon. Even though you move on its vital to hold on to old friendships, to remember who you were and how that helped you to become the person you are today.

As we grow older we see certain events though various lenses. While some of my friends have had parents that passed on or they themselves struggle with still finding out who they are and where they fit in, I feel my sensitivities are heightened to their emotional needs. I have always been an emotional person. I cried at Kleenex commercials…the fabric of our lives…and at movies…ET phone home…crying is nothing new to me. It does not embarrass me, I dunno’ maybe it should.

But today I cried, and not because I was at the dentist and she hurt my face, or because the bill for 10 minutes of work/pain was pretty steep but because I found this picture.

There is another fishy kiss picture with my dad that I came across and that made me think of Robyn as well. She just recently lost her father and now that both her parents are gone I feel emotionally overwhelmed for her. I  emailed her my sympathies and we’ve been in contact, but I wish I could just give her a big hug.

We often find solace in, and seek comfort in solid old friendships. I know I feel this way about her even though we never speak on the phone and we are probably really different as adults than we were as kids. It is my hope that my children are creating those bonds as they grow up.

We steer them in the right direction, we bathe them, we dress them, we try to make sure they look presentable so at least they look appealing enough to make friends. Once they are out on their own though, they are…out on their own. I watch my children as their friends come to pick them up for activities or to just hang out and I am pleased. Most of their choices are solid. There is the occasional argument, but that’s normal, especially with girls, and they make up quickly.

I just hope that one day my girl’s will find their Robyn. Someone dependable. Someone trustworthy. Someone they will laugh with so hard they may tinkle their panties (can happen to anyone!). Making this kind of friend is pivotal in your life. If you haven’t already, I say, what are you waiting for? Let the fun begin. You’ll thank me for it. I promise.

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