We’ve been coming to Virginia to spend time with Mary and the girls for a long time now. Living in Buckhead/Sandy Springs, it is “tough” for kids to have a normal perspective when surrounded by McMansions, luxury cars and people saying things like, “I can’t believe we have to go to Costa Rica again.” Mary does very well for herself and her girls go to private school, and want for nothing. Her neighborhood is nice but the people seem a little more down to earth than mine. It’s the kind of neighborhood where kids knock on your door and ask, “Can you come out to play?” and everyone knows everyone. In other words, it’s the perfect Trick-or-Treat neighborhood. I grew up in a neighborhood like that. There are definitely memories of adventures outside my home that my parents had no idea about. Because we’ve been coming here regularly, Chase and I seamlessly pick up where we left off.
MY BESTIE BETH
Another reason I love coming to Virginia, is my best girlfriend from college lives in Alexandria. Every year, Chase and I get to spend time with her, her husband (Nigel) and her 5 children (and counting).
Whenever we get together, it is “controlled” chaos. A typical visit usually includes: Yard-Play-To-The-Death matches, Nigel smoking a cigar, Beth & I chatting in between yelling at kids, then going out to dinner where food is flying, then a trip to Candi’s Candies, swimming at Nigel’s parents, then back to the house for games until people fall asleep with crumbs on their lips. Day one. I also like the fact that they way things like, “God’s will…,” or “He is just inspiring my righteous anger!” It isn’t meant funny, but it kind of is.
There are people in my life who were not born my sisters but they are the sisters I have chosen and Beth is definitely one of them. The kids love Chase and he is more like a cousin than anything else. Chase is big brother to everyone and it’s times like this I am most proud of him. I will confess I am not the greatest phone person (ask Cliff), but I love sitting with my girlfriends and catching up where we left off. Every time Beth and I talk, I inevitably learn something or take something away that makes me feel loved and reaffirms why I love her. After I told her about the new sleeping arrangement in the Wright house, she said, “Kathryn, I know it is so tough and I’m so proud of you.” It took me a couple of days, but just hearing her say that practically made me cry. No one knows your life, but it’s nice when you have friends who support you, when you bitch about your new housekeeper or your husband. If you don’t have a friend who tells you she is proud of your marital sacrifices, then you be that friend.
I read somewhere that rituals are what strengthen relationships. Whether it’s the daily text you send someone, the lunch date you have with girlfriends every sunday, or the annual trip you make to see someone you love. You need an “every” with the people who you want to miss you when you aren’t around. Beth and I can’t let any visit pass without reminding each other that we used to dance in our underwear (in public!), smoke cigarettes, and drink coffee and biscotti late into the night.
Going home doesn’t necessarily have to be a place.
Until next time…