I have been asking myself recently, "Do I live in Fargo, ND?" Since the time I've lived in the Kansas City metro, I've never experienced snow and cold like this. Wednesday we had snow that stretched my commute from 30 minutes to just under 3 hours. Needless to say, I took Thursday off!
When I'd finally decided I wasn't going to try driving to work, I lay on the couch and slept a good 3 hours longer than I normally would. I suppose my body is trying to tell me I need to slow down, that the human in there needs more rest than I'm giving her. I finally decided it was time to be productive and chose to go through boxes of things we'd packed up from my parent's house and I hadn't touched since it landed in our big spare bedroom. Thus began my roadtrip down memory lane and wondering if my child or children will be as lucky as I have been in the friends department.
The bulk of the boxes I worked through contained pictures from my entire life. I started by looking through a scrapbook my mom put together for me when I graduated high school. There were so many people in there that were important to me and most of whom are still very much in my thoughts on a daily basis. I don't see any of them often enough but I sure do hope they're all doing well. I followed the scrapbook up by going through tubs of photos that were just in envelopes after developing. For those of you who don't remember, developing photos means they're in hard copies with negatives. I spent hours looking through them and want to share with you who I saw and what I hope my kids will get to experience as I did.
The Aalbers Girls
I have to start here because much of my life was spent with and around the Aalbers girls. I think I've mentioned them at least once before. My "Aunt Dawn" babysat me off and on my entire life. She isn't really my aunt but that's what we always called her and that's what she'll always be to me. She and her husband, Mikey (I called him that too), had 6 girls. I repeat, 6 girls! When we fit me and my sister into their family lineup, we almost fill all 8 years, with one or two exceptions. It goes something like this: Michelle, Kathy, Beth, Brooke, Me, Megan, Kimberly, and My Sister. There was never a lack of someone to play with and always something entertaining going on. Each girl had something interesting to bring to the table. Michelle was the oldest and she sometimes came to our house to babysit for a week during the summer. My favorite year she brought a suitcase full of dress up clothes and we dressed up and sang silly songs on our front deck. Kathy was second and she was probably the most quiet. She was also a very good musician and I remember her playing multiple instruments, mainly trumpet, when we were at her house. Beth was next and you would remember her if you met her. Her laugh is contagious! I can't forget that sound! Brooke was a year older than me and my closest friend. Brooke hated it when you "got into her bubble" which made me try to hug her all the time of course. We spent a lot of time together and I can't even tell you how many memories I have of her in my life. From pushing boys out of her treehouse to sharing chicken pox to walking the gravel roads around her house...the list just goes on and on! Megan was next and she was mother hen to my sister. She took care of Sarah nearly all the time. I don't know what it was but Sarah listened to Megan...and Sarah didn't listen to anyone! And a year older than Sarah was Kimberly who was one of Sarah's closest friends. Kimberly was and still is unique and Sarah was much like her. They got along fabulously so you'd usually find Megan, Kimberly, and Sarah together whenever we were all together.
I found post cards from Michelle when she was traveling the world. I found pictures of all of the girls at my birthday parties. I found Beth's wedding invitation and photos from the trip I took with her family by car to Colorado for the big day. I found countless pictures of Brooke and I doing all sorts of things, mostly outdoors, and Sarah's room at home still has pictures of Megan and Kimberly hanging on her boards. I guess what I hope for my kids is that there is one family or a set of friends that they find in their memories and pictures, that they can look back on and remember how lucky they were to get to know that family. I hope that they remain good friends, even though they may not see eachother enough. The Aalbers family is that family for me. Many of my childhood up through high school memories involved the girls.
Peter and Alex
Every year, my family has gone and still goes to a resort in Minnesota called Cozy Cove Resort. We started when I was 9 and over the years, other families have come with us. The most predominant of these was Amber Scearcy (Kain) and her family, sometimes extended family. We always went the same week from year to year and low and behold who was always there? Peter and Alex. Peter is 3 years older than me exactly; we share a birthday! Alex is my age as well as Amber's. Though we often only saw the boys when we were on vacation, we always stayed in touch via letters and later via emails. I had a box FULL of letters from Peter and Alex only. Alex even went to the same college as I did and Amber was there for a semester too. Peter, on the other hand, ended up in Iowa not too far from my house. I found so many pictures of our times in Minnesota and of the boys that I just couldn't help but include them here.
The funny thing about the four of us is that I was always head over heals for Peter and Amber was the same with Alex. When we all outgrew that phase, we were still great friends. I haven't talked to Peter in quite some time as he went into the Peace Corps, got married, and is now living in DC but I still wonder about him and think about him this time of year, given our birthday is coming in just a few days. Alex is living here in the KC Metro with his wife but again, I don't talk to him too much either. Amber lives in Seoul, South Korea with her husband and son. I talk to her now and again via Facebook but I haven't seen her in a couple of years. Still, she's one of my oldest and closest friends so of course I wonder about her now and again. Every year when the first weekend in August rolls around, I think of the three of them and wonder if they'll be there or if they're wishing they were like me. My hope is that my kids have long distance friends like this, people they'd do anything for and always wish the best for. Some of my best memories are vacation memories with Peter, Alex, and Amber. I just hope my kids find a couple of friends and they feel the same.
Mike and Sarah
I met a lot of really important people in college but two of them probably saved me. I say "saved me" because they're the two that made me see the light, so to speak, in relationships and helped me out of my shell. I met Mike the first weekend I was in college. Amber had met him and his roommate and we, along with Amber's roommate, decided to go to a college party. I was nervous. I didn't know these guys and I had never been the partying type. However, Mike and I hit it off from the get go. I spent the majority of my freshman year in Mike's dorm room, watching tv, talking, etc. After classes, that's the first place I'd go, and if we were gone for a weekend, I'd always stop by to see him when I got back or when he got back. I spent a lot of long nights talking to Mike about life, relationships, etc. and to this day, I consider him one of my very best friends. I couldn't have been happier when he met and married his wife, Anne. I wouldn't have picked anyone better! And that, I think, is one of the marks of really great opposite sex friendship.
Sarah was, is, and always will be my best friend. We met my sophomore year during sorority activities. I don't really know how we got so close but over time, I was never anywhere unless Sarah was there. While talking, we discovered that her older half sisters babysat me when I was little too. Sarah is the person who got me out of my shell. We were "bad" together which was so good! Even today if we get together, we know some sort of shenanigans are going to happen. Sarah is the one person that I can get into a fight with and we know that we'll still be best friends anyway. She's the one that I listen to the most, too. I remember a specific instance when Sarah said to me, "Renee', what are you doing??" I didn't like it, but she was right and all that did was reinforce our friendship more. She was my Maid of Honor at my wedding and even my husband considers her family. We don't talk too much because we hate phones but that doesn't matter much either. I have a picture of the two of us on my nightstand so she's the first thing I see when I go to bed and the last thing I see before I go to bed. She's still my best friend, no matter what!
I hope that my kids have people who tell them what they think and it only solidifies their relationships. I hope that my daughter knows she can have a friend who is a guy without anyone assuming they're anything more. It's good for a girl to have a guy's perspective, especially on other guys. And I hope that she has that one best friend who can say anything to her, even the things she doesn't like, and she remembers that her friend only wants the best for her. Friends like these are rare and priceless.
I'm sure I've skipped people along the way but in my picture sorting adventures, these are the people that showed up the most and the friendships that I hope that my children are blessed enough to have themselves.
So that's the post. Below is my Week 31 picture. My body is now sore a lot of the time but I have no big complaints. At the end of the day, I know I waddle but I just don't care. My back and feet hurt nearly constantly in the evenings so I just can't bring myself to walk all that normal. My wedding rings are also a little too snug. I took them off this afternoon and I still have red rings where they were. I guess I might have to take them off for a while which will make me very uneasy. Otherwise, I'm good. Still all belly and haven't gained a pound in 4 weeks! Don't worry, the doctor says that's fine and I'm right on track!
|Week 31, Only 9 Weeks to Go!!!|
|I wouldn't be myself if I didn't screw around a little bit, too!|