Memorial Day just passed and that only means one thing. I ventured to Pennsylvania to see my favorite riotous clan. The riot kids are growing up fast. More on them a bit later.
During every visit I consider the friendship between me and the riot mom. Next year it will be 25 years since Riot Mom and I met. Its almost a miracle that the friendship has survived as long as it has.
Riot Mom and I met a couple of days after our freshman year in college. We were teenagers when we met. We lived in a “suite,” more like three black doors facing a kind of empty area. There were seven girls crowded into these three rooms.
Riot Mom walked by on the first day and we started talking. It wasn’t exactly friendship at first sight. We’re actually very different. Riot Mom is more of a traditional sort. She was the first person I met who actually talked about marriage and children as a thing she was going to do, instead of something distant that only old people did, like what I thought of it as.
Riot Mom had a boyfriend at the time, a fellow who was a devotee of a style of music called hardcore. I don’t exactly know how to describe it. Imagine a very small room with very loud music and a young man wearing pants that are much too big for him, screaming into a microphone. SCREAMING. Not singing. Screaming. That’s hard core music. I know I sound like a 2,000 year old codger but even then, I did not understand it.
Riot Mom would attend these “shows” and wanted me to come along so she wouldn’t be alone. Her boyfriend would be socializing with the hard core kids around these shows. The hardcore kids would have these discussions for hours about how some band has their video on MTV at midnight and therefore they had sold out. Riot Mom and I really found this funny and rolled our eyes at this.
One day Riot Mom and I left the show to go to a newsstand down the street. The lead singer of the hardcore band we were to see that night had said “this song is dedicated to my girlfriend” and then screamed — MEAT IS MURDER into the microphone. It was time to go. At the newsstand, I saw a bunch of paperbacks with the covers ripped off that the guy was selling. I picked up a magazine and started flipping through the pages. The owner of this place came up to me and said — this is not a library. The library is up the street.
This is obviously when you’d need a friend.
The friendship with Riot Mom, as I have mentioned in previous entries had some pretty rocky times. We butted heads a lot over the years, especially about our different approaches to life. The best way to encapsulate the friendship was something my mother said recently. The person who used to call you weird in college is now your best friend.
I don’t even think best friend describes our friendship. I think we’re more like sisters.
This past visit really captured that. Three out of the four riot kids are still in school, with the mini riot kinda just getting the hang of walking and talking. So, we went to have coffee in a lovely place in an even lovelier place in called Doylestown. I ordered a breakfast bowl with avocado and a hard boiled egg, just to annoy Riot Mom, who despises both of those things. There was also bacon in my bowl. We sat and sipped coffee really slowly.
I realized that Riot Mom had done this to catch up with me on my current concerns, personal and professional. Riot Mom had lots of good advice about the things I’m going through. The visit to Doylestown was also quite fun because she brought Mini Riot with her and he had the best breakfast ever — chocolate milk and bacon.
I think about the friendship a lot when I go there and how it evolved over the years as we evolved as people. We’ll never see eye to eye on a lot of things but we’re there for each other when things get difficult.
The Riot kids are growing up fast too. Riot 15 still rolls his eyes at me a lot but is a super considerate kid who loves his brothers and is good to his mom. I tried to convince her to let him have Instagram and we reviewed youth slang, like snack and spilling the tea. Riot Mom rolled her eyes at me when I asked Riot 15 if they still say “on fleek.” Riot 8 is rapidly evolving into a copy of his mother, complete with crazy food issues. Riot 7 listened very intently to the audio tour at the prison we visited. Mini Riot seemed to learn a new vocabulary word every hour.
Needless to say, the visit was spectacular, as always. I’m always amazed when I visit that Riot Mom and I managed to stick out the difficult times in the friendship and to get to a point where we’ve evolved into something that is closer to family than just simple friendship. One day you are having a conversation with someone in a dorm hallway. The next day you are making jokes with their 14 year old son.
Take it in because it will pass you by quickly.