The drive is 11 hours. 11 long hours. Perhaps the longest 11 hours of my life.
The drive to Georgia was full of anxious anticipations. The good kind of anticipation. Not the bad kind, but the good kind of flutterbys in the stomach. You know, constantly fidgeting and fiddling, and a whole lot of clock-watching.
The drive back to Arkansas, however, was full of moments of tears, spurts of sobs, and long moments of quiet reflection on a precious few days with a friend that is no longer a friend. She’s family.
I wondered how exactly I would be able to find words to describe an experience that allowed my cup to not only fill up, but run over. I went through periods of deciding to stick to the facts. Just run down the trip in typical Rascal Raising travel-log style. But it didn’t seem enough. I debated just not blogging about it at all; keeping my memories safe in me, and at the same time sparing all of you the details and schmooze of a weekend that is really very hard to verbalize. But just as precious moments in the past that I swore I would never forget have started to lose their details in the recesses of my mind, I know that realistically these few December days in Georgia will eventually haze into a blur….not losing significance, but losing the little details.
I’ll be fair to you. I’m going to warn you that the rest of these words in this post are for me and Tiffani. Though I do tend to write for an audience on most days, this day is going to be for us. If you don’t want to read any further and just want to skim through the pictures, I give you full permission.
I always knew that I would love Tiffani. Since the very first time I read one of her comments on another friend's blog, she and I had so much in common that it was almost absurd. There has not been a day since the beginning of this summer that has gone by without some kind of contact. We mostly chat online for hours on end ever day, but when that doesn’t work, we text. Or tweet. Or email. Or call. So I knew meeting the skin that went with the heart that had just become a part of my daily life would be beyond wonderful. I knew we’d laugh. I knew we’d talk for hours about nothing and everything all at the same time. I knew we would still finish eachother’s sentences. The only thing that I was hating about our meeting was that I knew after our meeting face-to-face, our computer way of doing things wasn’t going to be enough.
I have to admit I was anxious about the kids and the husbands meeting and hanging together for such a long period of time…all going in blind. Tiffani and I both expected the husbands to be a bit on guard just because though we assured them that we KNEW eachother, they were still committing their families over to relative “strangers” for several days on end. And you just never know about kids. Some kids mesh and some just don’t. And though we had discussed at length how we thought the kids would get along swimmingly, you really just never know.
To say it far exceeded expectations would be the understatement of the century.
The husbands gelled like Magellan. Sharing long talks on all things manly over M&Ms; exchanging knowing glances of “these crazy girls;” and stepping way beyond the bounds of being polite for the pure sake of humoring the wives with eachother.
I have never seen all of my children so happy all at the same time. If there was anyone made to be friends with my children it is Connor and Julia. If I tell you that we did not hear ONE squabble in the 4 nights and 3 days we were together, you wouldn’t believe me. But it’s true. There was skunk hunting and craftiness and lego love and slumber parties and Nerf gun battles and game playing. They dressed up, pretended to be Santa, and giggled at the same jokes. Even Julia, being the only girl, didn’t seem too fed up with all the testosterone. She and Tate played so incredibly well together and all but sealed up the deal that an arranged marriage is definitely in their future. And when we left yesterday, all 5 kids begged us not to. And there were tears. And confessions of best friendships. And true mourning of the separation.
Tiff and I already knew how special and unique our friendship was, but when you throw in comfort and ease on e.v.e.r.y. dynamic of the family….it just makes it so preciously sweet.
We all fell into fast step with eachother. We do things the same way, so it was incredibly easy to just make myself at home. We left dishes in the sink and cuddled up to watch tv. We fed the kids mac-n-cheese and snuggled up for slumber parties in the bed with that precious puppy, sweetie-pie Sugar. We drank massive amounts of coffee and forgot to bathe our children and ate cookies for lunch. We pulled our hair back in greasy masses and ignored dirty laundry all over the floor and together bemoaned the angst of 5 year olds who can't tie their own shoes. And even though I know it sounds hokey and cliche, it felt like home.
In addition to huge amounts of jammie time and unkempt hair, we did get out quite a bit, too.
Adam and Tiff took our family to the world famous Varsity. Oh.Dear.Me. Delicious doesn't even do it justice.