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Ashlee is Mama of one darling boy. A 28 week early bird, now 1 and some change, doing beautifully. She lives near Chicago with her sweetheart husband and French Bulldog. She's a thinker not afraid to get her silly on. Babywearer, veggie queen, photography nut. Before the domestic days Ashlee was pursuing a future in developmental psychology but has happily shifted gears in favor of staying at home and couldn't imagine doing anything else. In her free time (ha!) you can find her whipping up babyslings, holding down the fort at Mama Speaks and spotlighting as an Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor.

The Fifth Grade

My best friend Katie got boobs in the fifth grade. I'm pretty sure she was aloud to shave her legs then too. It took much longer for me. I think this is when we first started to notice we were different. And even though I am exactly 16 days older than her, I always looked up to her as if she were much older than I. I'm sure our families had something to do with... I am the product of divorce, my parents split when I was 8 -my older brother and I were separated. Her parents hugged and kissed in front of us and she had the coolest older sister and a super cute little brother. They did things together and occasionally would even gather around the piano and sing Elton John or Beatles songs.

We'd been in the same class since third grade... we were in the "gifted and talented" program at school so our classmates stayed the same from then on. It was held at the school I'd always went to, right at the end of our dead end street. She rode a bus to school from the neighboring city. We were inseperable in school and out. And while we each had our own separate friends, we were always with each other. We'd set up a video camera and record the "Katie and Ashlee Show" with my little sisters as guests- I have to admit we were pretty funny. We dreamed of moving to Soho after high school, living in an apartment similar to the one in "If Lucy Fell", the usual girly things. When I got in trouble and was put on restriction my parents didn't limit the TV, I simply wasn't aloud to socialize with Katie outside of school.

When we started middle school, we saw less and less of each other. We didn't have any classes or lunch together and each started spending more time with people from our own towns. But on the weekends and breaks we'd still get together... my mom was getting ready to re-marry and they were building a new house in a town about 45 minutes away. She'd come with us to the "property" as we used to call it, unable to say that it would someday become where I lived. We'd sit and talk in the field, daydream, make plans about building a club house in the cove of trees all the while secretly knowing we probably wouldn't spend any time there together.

As the time for me to move got closer our parents seemed to start to limit the time we spent together. She was there when I needed her though- my mom was selling our house and had a showing while Katie was over. We were told to stay in my room. That they'd come see it, but to stay in there. We did everything we could to sabotage the sale- plugged the toliet, made the faucet drip, and not so quietly whispered about how happy I was to move since "such and such didn't work in this old house".

Despite our best efforts the house sold, I moved, and when you're 12 years old long distance phone calls don't make the best of friends. We'd still see each other on weekends when I'd go to visit my dad. But my home situation was undesirable to say the least and I began to change, started smoking cigarettes and hanging out with older kids, ran away from home and was always getting myself in some sort of trouble. Her family welcomed me just the same, but I think we both knew that things we once shared were becoming few and far between.

Soon we didn't talk for months then years. We both grew-up, graduated, went to college. I got married. Then I found out my brother-in-law who was 13 at the time was friends with her little brother. We started to email each other - it was like no time had passed, but we lived on opposite sides of the country and had our own lives. Eventually David and I moved back home to start a family and Katie finished school and moved back home too. I had dreams of reconnecting but we never stuck with getting together to catch up.

Then she surprised me and showed up to my baby shower with her mom. It was SO great to see her. In all of the crazyness of the day I didn't have much time to talk, but I loved the fact that she was there.

All this to say that while it's sad that we often grow apart from those we love, people we have so much history with- It's a part of life. One of my favorite parts of being a parent is the ability to revisit my own childhood. Things I thought once forgotten come flooding back at the strangest of times. And I am facing the fact that some day Xavier will be in the fifth grade, he will have a friend that gets boobs or moves away. He will realize he is different. He will get his heart broken, experience love, loss and the like and while we can give him the right tools we will have to sit back and let him go through it. That's scary!

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  • Blogger Adventures In Babywearing says so:
    3:32 PM  

    This was wonderful. I think we all should write something like this- what we remember about fifth grade... what else it might spark in our memories! I might do that as my next post! top

  • Blogger Adventures In Babywearing says so:
    7:48 PM  

    Check out what your story has sparked! Several people have already posted their elementary memories and are tagging people all over blogland! top

  • Blogger Nicole says so:
    12:02 AM  

    That is a cool story. I think that it is awesome that you reconnected with your childhood friend. Very sweet. top

  • Anonymous Bea says so:
    10:03 PM  

    Am I one of your sisters in the blog? IF you have the video I would love to see it. I know it seems like a silly question, but I can honestly say I can't remember how old i was when my mom and your dad got together. I remember we were close. That was a good time. The bad times were why we couldnt be close, I tell myself that but really I cant remember everything. Maybe its just that you moved away. Maybe you know. I would like to be close again. true sisters, true friends. again. I looked up to you, like you did Katie. and now I look at you and your beautiful, natural. I read your blogs and you seem confident, and I like that. I look at my life and feel like I am following your path. and I don't think its a bad thing either. married to a wonderful man and waiting to become a mother. top