This is a story about three girls who still think they’re twenty years old. But in fact, these girls are all turning forty, and these girls are headed to Mexico late next week to celebrate the milestone.
These girls are me and my two oldest friends, Sarah and Shannon, both of whom I’ve written about many times, sans permission. This is another one of those ask-for-forgiveness-not-permission posts, so I’m going to take some creative liberties to share our history with you, and they’ll likely read this post on their Tuesday morning commutes and shake their heads at my antics. That’s our usual pattern. (I’ll load my words up with hyperlinks, so that you can read more about the backstories, if you’re so inclined.)
I’ve known Sarah the longest, since we were twelve years old and became attached at the hip in grade seven. We met Shannon in our first year at the University of Calgary, and we quickly became an inseparable trio. Using our first initials in a brash acronym, we established the ASS Tour, and made sure the three of us went on a short annual getaway. Back then, our getaways meant road trips and small towns and hostel rooms and Missy Elliot mix tapes. We would take a weekend in Red Deer here or an overnight in Edmonton there, and once drove West for a week in Kelowna and Vancouver, through forest fire smoke and rock slides on the Coquihalla highway.
In 2002, I moved to Toronto, and in early 2003, Sarah moved to Washington, DC. Shannon stayed in Calgary, and I’m not sure if we ever spoke about it in depth, but in the back of my mind I always thought we’d all move back. However, life happens, careers grow, marriages take place, babies are had, and somehow we all found ourselves living wonderful lives 3500km apart. We still make the effort to see each other regularly, usually every second Christmas in Alberta, and the odd time we’ll uncover bonus visits like work trips or concert weekends. We managed a few days in NYC in 2011, the week after my miscarriage, at a time when I desperately needed them to help me heal, and our last big trip was in 2014, when we went to Vegas to see Britney Spears and relive our Uni days.
My memories of those adventures, and my memories of the three of us in general, are overwhelmed with laughter. The kind of laughter that makes you gasp for breath and squeeze your sides and wipe your tears. The kind of laughter that annoys your husbands and wakes your children and makes everyone else roll their eyes. We’re gone for four days, and with some creative scheduling at Burlington Sports & Spine, that’s only meant one shift off for me during our busy Winter season. It’s a short trip due to the realities of busy lives, but those four days will give us time to reflect and reminisce, and most importantly, to laugh; and the Mexican sunshine, the sandy beach, the tacos and tequila, well, those won’t hurt either.
This year’s ASS Tour is going to mark our milestone birthdays (although, ahem, I’m the youngest and my birthday is still nine months away), but more importantly, it’s going to mark decades of friendship, support, love, and connection.
They are the friends of a lifetime.