I mentioned in my boarding school post that I had three very close friends during these years. Two of them got married years ago (one while she was still a student), and the third has remained unattached until very recently. She's had a few boyfriends over the years, but I never really clicked with any of them, until last summer she brought her latest partner over to New York and we met up. They had already moved in together, and immediately I could tell that they were right for each other, so it was no great surprise to hear, a few weeks ago, that they are getting married.
One of the real downers about living abroad is that you have to miss out on occasions such as this. I really can't fly back to the UK in May - we're moving back in July and shelling out for another flight, when we're in the middle of trying to move, is just unrealistic and unaffordable this year. So I won't be there to see this girl I've known for over 25 years tie the knot. While I wouldn't say we are still "best friends", we still met up regularly while in London and there will always be a special understanding between us.
Since I've been in the US, I've missed out on several 40th birthday parties and at least two other weddings. Several friends have also had babies who I have yet to see. While of course this isn't the end of the world, I do feel that this is the stuff of which memory is made: those moments and milestones won't happen again. Seeing the photos on Facebook just doesn't quite cut it.
So on the May bank holiday I will be wishing I was a virtual guest at my friend's wedding in Warwickshire. She's also one of the last of my friends to get married, so in a way it feels like the closing of a chapter; the wedding years. Getting glammed up and dancing the night away before stumbling back to some B&B and trying to find the key. Drinking too much champagne in country churchyards, Oxford colleges and formal gardens; all those typically English weddings we've been to. The one in Norway where we all jumped in the fjord at midnight (that really happened). The one in Devon where the marquee nearly blew away in the wind. The ones we took the children to as babies, fearfully shushing them in the church.
I just hope I get to go to some more before the next generation start getting hitched....