(this is definitely a click the pix post)
Nineteen years ago, when I matriculated a prestigious woman's college on the East Coast, I met a girl named Anna. We were from different Carolinas, but we must have had something more important in common, because we have been friends ever since. We were in my first study group in college, we had the same major and we had overlapping circles of friends. We both held important positions on the college newspaper. We even liked the same royal blue. We stayed in touch all through school, and then periodically we'd touch base in the years that followed. She attended our wedding, and came to various oyster roasts that P-daddy and I would host. The last time I saw her was at our last big social event on John's Island, when I was pregnant with G. Shortly after that she met her partner and we were both busy, building our families. She moved across country, and that was that.
When we moved to WA, surprising everyone including ourselves, I was relieved to know someone was out here from back home. Anna lives in OR, and I was anticipating seeing her again soon after our arrival. It's not difficult to explain how I (and my P-daddy!) feel about Anna: we adore her. It is, however, unsatisfying to put it so simply, though: it doesn't impart the tapestry of affection and history, love and confidence we have for and in her. She's a good egg.
Anyway, when we arrived in Federal Way, she immediately made plans to come visit us. Alas, on the appointed day, we had a two day old so we asked her to postpone her trip. Then, nursing school started for her. Three years later, we finally got our visit! In she came, like no time had passed.
Yet it had. Eight years. It is always marker on my personal time line when I see Anna, but for my part, that meant three children, four houses, three vehicles one career and a cross-country move later. We discovered we'd both gotten into much healthier, physically fit lifestyles. We are both much greener than we'd ever been before, eating well and trying to tread lightly. We're in similar mental processes, trying to live mindfully and simplify our day to day. She's into yoga, I like pilates. We both have the established "grown up" households we'd try so hard to envision back in the day.
Time marches on for us all, yet with my entire life consumed by child and family, it is actually confusing to me to try and realize her perspective on my life here. My entire childbearing phase has passed her by. She'd never seen me with a child of my own, much less three children. She's never seen me nurse a baby or change a diaper. She asked me "What does homeschooling look like for you guys?" and I couldn't answer her. I-- the woman who will drop everything to talk educational theory--found myself loathe to go into it because I didn't want my time with my friend consumed by it. It shocked me, but the day after she left, it hit me.
I said to Anna repeatedly while she was here that in college, she'd always "seen me." She looked through the craziness and saw who was actually in there. I think I wanted that here, too. Here was someone who knew ME. As a woman who has disappeared into her life and family, I wanted to be seen as who I am. I wanted to be me. And for a few hours, I had the chance to explore who that even is.
We have plans to get together again very soon; I am happy we get to get to know each other all over again.