Fortunately, because I live in a bustling area of the country, people come and visit, and that fills my heart like nothing else. It reconnects me to other parts of myself and my life my history. And sometimes I just need that. I had two very fortunate weeks last month.
Sara called me on a Wednesday. Her daughters were competing in the Cheer Nationals competition in Anaheim and she would be in town for the weekend. Could I swing a visit? I had to! I'd never driven to Anaheim (yes, yes, I know.) but I now have a GPS unit in my van which has decreased my aimless, tearful driving considerably. I took Conor and Aiden with me and we headed down to the Anaheim Convention Center on that Saturday morning.
Sara is one of the greatest blessings that has ever been given to me. Truly. We met when we were both newly married and about-to-burst pregnant with our first daughters. Our husbands were both in school. We talked every single day on the phone. Every day! About everything from gardening, to Homemaking crafts, to marriage, to what-to-do when the babies (fill in the blank). We also went walking many nights at the school track, sometimes with other ladies, and talked some more.
Over the years our friendship deepened. We each had more babies. My husband graduated, hers went out of state for medical school (taking her with him, gasp!), and I moved to another town too. But still we talked, not so much every day, but often enough, and intensely. With Sara, I rarely chit-chat. We like to get to the heart of the matter. I hang up the phone with Sara and have things to think about. Sometimes for days.
When my first marriage was in trouble, it was to Sara's house (she was now back in Mesa) I fled for a week with my children to sort things out. And Sara doesn't just take me in whenever, she takes me into her heart. There's no lip service with Sara. When my husband did leave, and I embarked on four difficult years of limbo, the phone calls picked back up. So did the prayers. Sara is that kind of friend. She knows every detail of my adult life, I think. And I derive great comfort from her being a second witness. She has great insights and I trust her completely. Being with her, as with other "old" friends is like coming home. So, of course I was driving to Anaheim.
We had about three hours together, in between cheer competitions (her girls did great!) and since we don't talk as often these days due to hectic lives, we got right to the heart of things. All the meaty issues. Of course, I didn't want to leave, but even when I had to, I left feeling full and reconnected. And loved. I know that girl loves me. And love her I do.
And then, as if I wasn't already the luckiest girl on earth, my sister-in-law, Sarah, called me to tell me that they were coming (to Anaheim!) to Disneyland for a family vacation and wanted to work out a time to come over and spend a day with us. Yes! I couldn't wait! Sarah is married to my brother Josiah and they have four of the most adorable children ever. I am the oldest of nine children, Josiah is number three. I miss my siblings and I regret that life has scattered us across the country so that we don't all have the opportunity to raise our families together.
I had started school that week and looking forward to their visit calmed my first-week nerves. I cleaned and I planned and re-planned our dinner menu over and over again. When I saw them walk up to the house, it was as if I had just seen them, even though it had been more than a year, but that's what I love about familiar people. When I hugged Josiah and Sarah, they don't know, but I choked back tears, because it just felt so good to be with family. To have them in my home, to have them in my arms.
We had a great time eating (Josiah picking every last vegetable out of his dinner and scooting it to the side of his plate), playing Wii, talking, laughing, telling stories from our youth (apparently just when Josiah was about to get off for stealing a bunch of fire extinguishers from our elementary school because his friend took the heat, I came home and manipulated a confession from him and turned him in. Darn it. That sounds just like me), more laughing. Adam played card games with the kids, Sarah played the piano and sang. The house was full of cousins. I just soaked it all in and tried to store it away. I never wanted them to leave, but the late hour demanded our fun come to an end.
The moral of the story is, I love visits! Please visit!