Sunday, December 28, 2008

Old Friends . . .

Joy, Ava and I piled in Gamma and Gampa's minivan and headed West this morning. Destination? Victor, New York. Specifically the home of Brian, Kim, Morgan and Adam Usselman.

Kim, while someone I was not very close with until our Senior Year, is one of my very best "high school friends." I use quotes because, 14 years removed, we have much more friendship and shared time outside of the friendly confines of Groton Junior Senior High than we ever had in them.

Not only was the Usselman family there but Ma Boo (what Morgan and Adam lovingly call their Grandma Ballow) and my dear, sweet Dr. Laura Rendano (and her new boyfriend Tom) were there as well.

We had a lovely afternoon with them. Ava got to play with some kids that (at 4 and 6) were older than her school class mates but younger than her cousin, Lexy (9) and I got to spend the afternoon with three women who have been true friends to me throughout the hundreds of pounds I have gained and lost in my life and who only ever believed in and wanted the best for me.

It was very emotional to go to the Usselmans. Brian, usually very quiet and somewhat stoic in nature greeted me with a "you look good" and then Mrs. Ballou and Kim (both of whom were notably skinnier than the last time I saw them too) proceeded to lose their minds when I walked in the door. Hugs, kisses, tears, shouts. It was fun. Laura arrived much later in the afternoon and, being a loyal reader of this here blog, knew to keep her cool (smile) but she said kind things none the less.

Laura, Kim and Mrs. Ballou are very special people in my life. They were, outside of my family, Chris and Darren Delenick and some DC friends, the first people I introduced Joy too. I would dare say that they were the most important - outside of family - people I introduced Joy too. If they would have had any issues or reservations . . . I don't know what I would have done. LUCKILY they knew, from jump, how amazing of a woman Joy is and they gave her their blessing.

I guess I needed the approval and the "endorsement" of these women on my success since surgery and on my life after surgery almost as much as I needed them to give Joy the thumbs up. There are not many people in this world that I want/need/care about their approval on these sorts of things but . . . these women are special! Very special.

My Groton Girls (as I might refer to them plus Melissa (if I was going to give them a nickname)) always loved me and got me and encouraged me and supported me and I never felt heavy or depressed or whatever when I was with them. They were always just fun to be with and we have, collectively, seen each other up and over and around several mountains. They are the types of friends you truly love because we can go six months, a year, three years (whatever) without seeing each other but the minute we get back together it was like there was no time in the middle. The fun and the laughter picks right back up as we catch each other up on life in the meantime.

I saw Joy and Mrs. Ballou having some secret chat in the kitchen at one point and Joy was crying. I can only hope they were happy tears about how far we, as a family, have come since the fall of 2003 when they all first met Joy (or something like that). I can't believe Mrs. Ballou would make Joy cry for any other reason.

Anywho, it was lovely seeing the ladies (and Brian and Tom and Morgan and Adam) and I hope that I don't have to go almost two years before I see them again. I promise I won't!

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