This weekend, one of my oldest friends got married.
She's back in our home state of California and it made me miss her even more. It made me miss so many aspects of life from before we started touring the country on the military's behalf.
My friend Alora, who became the latest member of the Mrs Club, and I have been friends for 11 years. She's the first person I met when I switched high schools after my sophomore year and someone with whom I've always just clicked. We've always just belonged. Even when too much time had gone by since we'd last seen each other, because sometimes that's the cruel fact of life, we always noted how it was "always the same no matter how much time has gone by". She's the girl who drove a round trip of about 3 hours to come to our baby shower, and was only able to stay about 45 minutes due to work. I've always meant it when I say she's my sister.
Then there's Jake's godmother, Gabby, whom I met 8 years ago and has been an unstoppable force in my life. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and someone I've always been able to depend on. It was her and our friend, Cynthia, who stroked my hair and told me that Gary'd be home soon when he left for his first tour overseas back in 2005. She was my rock. She's the friend everyone deserves to have; you can come exactly as you are. No need for cute clothes, or fancy things, or even a face free of tears. She makes you feel whole when you feel like you're falling apart. She's the one who screeched into the phone both times I told her I was pregnant. She's just the one.
My friend Ashley and I were reunited when we both got jobs at the same home improvement store. We had known each other since we were little, playing on soccer teams in our early teen years and later playing on all-star teams and travelling all over California during tournaments. She's always been real. She's someone who gets it when you feel you can't make sense of it outside your own head. She's sweet and understanding, but someone, just like my other aforementioned lady soul mates, who's also been able to laugh with me until we're sure we've wet ourselves.
And, it's not just about the friends I had from way back when. It's also about the friends we made back in Kentucky. Before Gary got back from his second deployment, he kept mentioning this guy he met, Weeks (his first name is Rob, but ya know....military),who became a staple in our house. He came over all the time and we'd spend the night laughing until we looked like seals with no sound coming out. He was so stoked to learn when we were pregnant with Jake and dubbed himself "Uncle Weeks" when J was born. He's never far from our thoughts.
Not to imply my family isn't everything I need. These boys and our one on the way give me happiness I'll never be able to describe and make me feel more blessed than I know what to do with. But, these people are part of a small handful of absolutely incredible people who add a fullness to our lives I couldn't imagine without them. These are people I ache to have know our kids instead of just know of them. These are people I want to be able to walk in our front door, without knocking, and rub up on my belly and grab food from the cabinets.
Even the people like Amber, whom I've known since the 3rd grade, or Whitney, whom I met just a couple years ago, are people I haven't been in the same room with for sooo long, but are people who've helped shaped me into the person I am today. All these friends are family.
That's what's so so hard about military life. You have these people who mean so much to you, but your station takes you away from them. And, it's not to say we don't make friends where we go. I was actually with a friend a couple weekends ago who told me I have the pregnant glow going on---so I instantly decided we're BFFS. But, I miss the people I've grown with, who have seen me through some of life's biggest events.
So, as I sat here thinking about these people I love, I made some executive decisions. We're not having a baby shower this time because we, basically, have everything we need, but we're going to have a meet-the-baby shower. When Gary gets back from deployment, and has block leave, we're going to, just like at the end of last deployment, go on vacay as a family, but we're also going to make our way to California and let those people who mean more than words to us meet our newest addition. I want them to touch our kids' lives the way they've touched ours.