We have had a very busy few days at the Homiller house and Will and I are still scrambling to get ready for our Thursday departure to Puerto Rico. As you may imagine, the two of us have very different “scramblings” – one by a commercial real estate attorney who has a closing on Thursday (yes, I said the same thing…aren’t we going to be in Puerto Rico on Thursday?…the nerve!) and one from a frantic stay-at-home mother whose own mother has requested a novel (I kid you not) outlining a daily schedule, foods, activities, etc. for her four-day babysitting adventure with Frances and George.
But please don’t fret; I refuse to complain about the preparations involved in leaving for a tropical island with my husband and only my husband…alone…did I mention that I was excited?! I will say, however, that after 3 ½ years of packing for vacations with children I am fairly certain I could pack for just myself in about 15 minutes—no diapers, wipes, diaper cream, pack ‘n play, two to three outfits a day, at least two PJ’s, snacks, books, toys, pacis, special shampoo, special toothpaste, “friends” (heaven forbid you pack the wrong one!), combs, brushes, teeny-tiny rubber bands, matching hair bows for each outfit… you get the picture. Will and I have decided to pack only carry-on luggage (no bag checking) and I am 100% sure I can do that. I am not sure I could have said that pre-Frances, but I now realize how much I can live without on a vacation when I don’t have the children to worry about (an unexpected life lesson found behind the platitude “children give your life such perspective”).
This may very likely be one of my last (if not the last) post before we leave for Puerto Rico and I couldn’t go a week or more without mentioning my recent visit with one of my favorite people in the entire world—Julie! Julie and I met when we were 14 years old at the Virginia School of the Arts (recently closed down—and I know I promised to write about this!) and she has been my best friend to this day (along with the other Three Musketeer, Brooke). I have known Julie and Brooke longer than I have not known them – 20 years. Isn’t that an incredible feeling? We are rarely able to see each other with Julie living in Chicago and Brooke living in Miami, but when we do meet up we pick up exactly where we left off and don’t miss a beat.
|Me, Brooke and Julie in 1994 (don't worry, we are in costume)|
|At Julie's wedding, 2006|
|At Benji's wedding, 2008|
|Julie and me at Brooke's wedding, 2009|
|Brooke and me at Julie's wedding, 2006|
Julie and Brooke know everything about me—even more than my husband (gulp!). They have been there during my most dark moments and my greatest successes and they have never once judged me. They are like daughters to my parents and I feel like a member of each of their families. When I started dating Will, they (quite literally) accepted him with open arms, hugging him the first time they laid eyes on him. To me, that was just who Julie and Brooke are—to Will, he couldn’t stop talking about their unconditional acceptance of him from day one. And to be fair, all of my high school friends are on par with these traits—Sarah, Nic, Benji, Steve (both!), Chrissy, Jaelyn, and Mary. To be friends with this group is to be the richest person alive.
|Brooke, Benji, Chrissy, Steve S, me, Nic, Mary and Sarah (at my wedding, 2004)|
|Jaelyn, Julie, Chrissy, Brooke, me and Sarah at Brooke's wedding (2009)|
|Joe, (Julie's) Steve, Benji, Nic, Steve S. and Ron (Brooke's husband) at Benji's wedding, 2008|
|Sarah, me, Julie and Brooke at Julie's wedding 2006|
Julie, Brooke and I have all recently become parents and it is unfathomable to me that our children don’t play together every day (or ever for that matter). But Julie and I cooked up some plans for next year during our recent visit and with the hope that our kids will all meet and play together in the somewhat distant future.
|Julie and Steve with Frances, April 2008 (ugh - I look so very tired here)|
Julie met her husband, Steve, when we were all in high school—he was a local Lynchburg-er and we were all bunhead dancers trying to make a career out of the impossible. As cliché as it sounds, Julie and Steve were simply made to be together…forever. To me, they always had a very old-world romance; even though we were 15, 16, 17 years old, Julie and Steve were not your typical high school couple. There was no drama, no fighting, no hurting each other for the sake of attention—they simply loved each other. And though a decade (or more) passed between high school and reunification, they found each other again and married shortly thereafter. Needless to say, we were all thinking “FINALLY!”
And now Julie and Steve have an adorable little boy, Byron. I loved this little man even before I met him the first time last May and this trip again he did not disappoint:
It was wonderful to catch up with Julie and her brood, even if it was MUCH shorter than I would have liked.
|My beautiful friend and her beautiful boy|
|Steve, the ideal father|
|Julie, Steve and Byron with Steve's mother and step-father|
|The happy family!|
But I know that the next time I see my Julie, Brooke, or anyone else in the gang we will reconnect in an instant and begin making new memories to cherish for years to come.