I went to the New York Botanical Garden with two of my girlfriends on Saturday. It's shocking to think I have never been there when it's right in the Bronx and so close to home, but it's true. It was really beautiful - peaceful. serene, relaxing. We went for the Frida Kahlo exhibit, which was nice. They had only 14 of her paintings there, so that part was kind of a disappointment. But in the conservatory, they had a whole exhibit of plants that are indigenous to Mexico and which you would see in Frida's garden as well as her paintings. I thought that was very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
What struck me most about the day was just spending time with these particular friends. I have really only had one friend throughout my life who loves art and museums, and that's Jose. He and I generally head into the city once or twice a year to catch something at MOMA or some weird exhibit he has found in SOHO or something.
Finding out that these two friends of mine, who are fairly new friends made over the past couple of years, are art geeks too made me so happy. Making plans for this day was so easy and it all just fell together.
Louise picked Shari and I up at my house, dropping their daughters off to play with mine. As we drove to the Bronx, we talked about everything. These ladies don't hold back. I told them my niece was being baptized the next day, and that led us into a talk about religion. Louise plainly and matter-of-factly said, "Well, I don't believe in God so I didn't have my daughter baptized." She never even paused to consider whether we would think this was blasphemy or that she was the devil and we'd no longer allow our girls to play with hers. She just said it, because it's who she is. And she knew that she was speaking to two other strong-minded women who respect other's opinions and cultures, so even if we didn't agree with her, we would accept what she had said and not judge. Of course, Shari and I both went on to say that we did not believe in God either, but we did baptize our girls. It led to a wonderful discussion of religion and the world and America where we shared ideas and opinions and had a wonderfully civil conversation.
Later on, we ate lunch outside at the Gardens - tacos and Mexican beer from the food truck, there to support the Frida exhibit. We talked about family, men, marriage, children, dreams, race, gender, fears, aspirations...all in such a grown up and mature way. And on the ride home, we continued with the talks, and then back at my house we talked some more,
After we went our separate ways, I sent them a text saying that I had such a good time and thanking them for joining me (along with sending them some selfies we took). Louise replied that we needed to do more fun grown-up stuff together, and Shari replied with the title of this post - that she was so happy to have friends who are so like-minded but yet still so unique. I thought to myself, what more could you want?
It's really all you can hope for in a friend: someone who thinks in the same way you do, but who is true to herself and is her own person. I feel so lucky to have these two ladies in my life.