Georgia's On My Mind

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.

Then we headed down to Centennial Olympic Park to look at all the Christmas lights.  And were so surprised when we got there!  The big water fountain that is shaped like the Olympic rings was gettin' after it with a music show.  It was spectacular.  The kids were mesmerized by it all.  It was truly breathtaking.

I also was taken to the infamous Sock Shoppe.  And though I'd heard of all of its sockaliscious glory and heard of the heaven which exudes cheap undies....I had NO.IDEA.

(Tate was the resident photographer of the Sock Shoppe venture...he kept bugging everyone for pictures instead of letting us shop.  Silly boy.)

And I ate grits.  True Southern 'Jawjun grits.  Only because I promised Tiff I would.  And I have to say...they weren't terrible.  I did clean my bowl though.

And we got our craft on.  We had both been wanting to make some type of Advent Calendar for our families, and we decided on Muffin Tin Calendars.  We totally gave up on being able to use our calendars the first few days of December, just so that we could make ours together.  And I'm SO very very glad we did.  We spent that whole day in jammies, singing along to all kinds of music, and crafting the day and night away.

And the final products:

Cute, huh?

And then it was time to say goodbye.  And it might have been the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  Because it is not fair that someone that is so deeply intertwined in my heart has to be 11 hours or a $300 plane ticket away.  If anyone understands how unconventional our relationship is, it is Tiff and I.  We get that it is weird to meet on the internet.  To share things with people that you've never met.  To commit your family over to strangers just on knowledge of what lives in the computer.  But even though Tiff and I can't verbalize what our relationship is or means...we get it.  We get eachother.  And there are no words available to express the joy that my heart felt those few couple of days.  There were times that she and I would just sit and stare at eachother...hard to believe that it was really real. 

I feel so incredibly blessed that my Jesus peeked inside my heart and chose to give me the desires that are there.  Tiffani's family was more amazing than I could ever have imagined, and our experiences together were priceless.  And completely irreplaceable.

So incredibly blessed.


My Dearest Tiffani, Adam, Connor, and Julia:

Thank you so much for not only inviting us into your home but into your lives and hearts. I feel like a broken record, but I still cannot believe how well our families just picked up and took off with eachother.  It was like we had been lifelong skin friends, and it was truly beautiful.  Words don't exist to explain it, so I'm going to stop trying.  We all have our time together tucked safely away in our hearts and minds, and it will be safe there.  I'm so glad that God blessed us with the time together that we had, and I am more than anxiously awaiting our next reunion.  We miss you an unbearable amount.

Always My Love,


Kendra said...

Hey, I get the whole feeling connecting thing with someone you only have met on the internet. I married one! I am envious of your friendship. I wish I had a friend that close. It is a treasure and you are lucky to have found your kindred spirit.

Jessica said...

Amazing! So sorry for you that you have to live so far away from one another =(

Andrea said...

Friends like that sure are hard to find!

Cathy said...

Not weird at all.

A blessing, indeed.

Something my heart prays for and desires as well, and I'm SO SO SO glad that you and Tiff have found that!!

mimi said...

Awww, that was so sweet Amber!!
Sounds amazing....the pictures are so fun. Oh what I would do for those fries...onion rings and dawgs.

I thought The Sock Shoppe was a burger joint?? That store looks like fun.

theelizabethhighsmith said...

If it wasn't 20 degrees outside I'd obey by inner calling of onion rings and chili dogs my mouth's watering...i love the parade of the bras in the sock shop photography. i'm so glad your time was so sweet and that i had the privilege of meeting you and i'm so sorry your heart is aching.....ya'll will just have to come back now, y' hear.

Michele said...

So very.very sweet. I hope both of your hearts heal very soon. I'm so glad y'all have such a special friendship/sisterhood. .. and so very glad you girls made such special memories over the last week.

Gretchen said...

I cried all the way home from the airport after dropping off my Island Girls. The only thing that comforted me was the fact that I knew it was a precious taste of what heaven will be like. It was that good. That's why it was so hard to say g'bye. Going back to "real life" while blessed, is still...not for sissies.

Terry Lewallen said...

Amber- I LOVE IT!! So happy that you and Tiff got to meet in real life and that the families hit it off so well. Looks like Georgia could be a fun destination more often! When are they heading to AR???

Becca~TimeWellSpent said...

I'm so thrilled you had a wonderful time and that everyone clicked and got along so well.
I totally get how hard it is to be far away. That's how I feel about my sis. It's HARD to be away from someone you love so much and want to be near and have your kids grow up together.
As far as friends go, while I have many wonderful friends and a few kindred spirits my husband and I have yet, since we moved out here, to find a couple we both enjoy. That is such a rare thing!

Jenny said...

This is a wonderful friendship. It is sad that you have 11 hours between you two.

I really enjoyed reading your post. I'm usually not a fan of long posts and therefore don't read them. But this one grabbed me. I could feel all the emotion and could even smell the ambiance (which was a little gross at the greasy hair part :). I do like the bras in the picture at the Sock Shoppe, too. Real life is so much fun.

Carpool Queen said...

I'm going to have to bust Tif's chops for not taking me to the Sock Shoppe.

Next time!

Kellie said...

Thank you for sharing a bit of the RascallyBelle love with us. What a great time for y'all.