Do you have those friends who are more than friends? They are family? I would dare to say that I have quite of few of those from the life we have lived in the military... but there is this one family that we have been friends with since I was in 2nd grade. I met this sweet girl named Becca in my 2nd grade class, Mrs. Elwell, many years ago. Early in the year I had my birthday party (September) and she came to my party. From that moment on our families are best friends/family for life. Becca and I were the same age and Lil Sis and Jessie (Becca's little sis) are the same age. Brittany and Jessie have remained best friends during their whole life. Becca and I have always been best friends, but more like sisters... meaning- we hung out with different groups in school, we don't talk on a normal basis like the Littles, but when we come together.... it has been like no time has passed at all.
Our moms have been best friends for all of these years as well. Truly, growing up it was always our families together. We have been through so much together. Their mom, Genny, has for sure been a second mom to all of us our whole life. As a preteen when you have attitudes, I remember Becca and I getting attitudes that our moms were always together... but today looking back, I see what a blessing that was for all involved. Many people do not get the chance to have ONE amazing friend in their lifetime, let alone a whole family. Genny has been such a special person in all of our lives and has always dropped anything to be there for us. It saddens me for those that never experience what we have had the opportunity to experience. It was great too because last year, Genny was able to come vacation in California with my family.... we had a blast. Genny is not just any other person to my kids either- she is MIMI!
Our families have always been inseparable. We have been through so much in all the years we have known each other. We have been through life changes, growths, kindergarten graduations, divorces, eighth grade graduations, surgeries, softball, vacations, heart break, LOVE, drama, fights, childbirth, weddings, death, plus so much more. If you have a house with 1 teenage boy and 4 girls following behind him this is much what is was like as we were together so much. Genny and her girls were always such a big part of our brothers' life as well. Shane adored these girls and they were his family too. Genny and Shane had such a connection that he was not afraid to let others know about. When I tell you we have been through so much together, this is the truth. This family has been there for my family in ways that we don't even realize. The biggest time I think of is when Shane passed away over three years ago. They were with us the whole time- physically and in spirit. But they also were also SO careful to keep a distance when we needed it. I remember when we were going through all of it in the beginning how I would tell them- you lost him too. He was THAT important to all of us. He might be my blood brother- but he was about the SAME brother to them as me... because of how close our family was. It is hard to remember during your grieving times that others grieve too... but I always tried to remember that these girls were hurting just like me and my girls.
A week ago today my mom called me and told me that Genny's dad was being put on hospice. I was SO confused because I did not realize things were so bad off. Apparently no one did and we were all shocked that things had gone downhill so fast. On Tuesday morning my son and I were walking to the library for reading time when I just suddenly thought "well, if he passes away I have to go!" Within 10 minutes my mom had texted us to tell us. Britt and I texted back and forth not sure if we could get. Well, obviously being a stay at home mom, my schedule is more flexible... but I wasn't sure what the husband would think. When husband came home from his lunch break he told me he thought we should go. I was shocked.. but there was my answer. I have never been able to just up and go and be there for people when needed because of the life we live in the military- but right now I am close enough, even for just a minute, to be able to be there. Sister was able to get the rest of the week off and we waited to hear what the arrangements were. We had decided to go ahead and go even if we could only be there for the viewing. But it worked out we were able to stay for all and leave as soon as it was all over on Friday around lunch.
Now I don't know how many people will even understand this next part... but here is why we went. I honestly have not seen their grandpa in many years. I remember as a child going over there and visiting with their grandparents. I remember them having two chairs sitting beside each other and only separated by a small table. I remember Grandma being the sweetest little soul and even today I feel completely comfortable with her. As soon as we heard he had passed away we knew we just had to be there... We had to go there and just be there for these girls in the picture above. They have never ONCE hesitated to be there for us... and we would do the same. That is what family is about. I was so thankful that my husband understood that. He thinks so much of Genny and loves her so much and he really felt that Britt and I just... needed to be there. I really can't explain it anymore than that. When our grandpa died it was like Becca and Jessie lost a grandpa of their own... they were closer to him in a lot of ways growing up than grandkids sometimes are to their grandparents. My grandpa loved this family as his own. Genny and him were so close as well. Though there was not the same closeness with us and their grandpa, we had to go. And we are so glad we did.
I got up at 5am on Wednesday morning and got finished getting ready. By 615am little boy and I were on our way to Little Sisters.. Oh how I HATE driving in the dark. It finally started to get light outside as I entered my sisters town about 80 miles later. By 845 we were on the road to our hometown. We got home around 230 and went to see our mom at work... then we went to visit our Grandma. We were waiting for our mom to get off of work so we could all go to Genny's moms together. By the time she got off, we were STARVING because we had not eaten lunch... so we went for an early dinner. Jessie met us up at LAFINCA, only our favorite place to eat, and we visited while we filled our tummies. We left there and went to Genny's. It was such a nice couple of hours. They were shocked we would come and we were like OF COURSE we would come. I am just so thankful that we had the chance to do so because I won't live this close much longer. We spent the evening visiting, reminiscing, and letting my son and Becca's daughter play! I have never seen my son get along with another child so well. It was so a joy to just watch them play, much like we did when we were young.
It was just such a beautiful time to be home and be able to be there. Though we weren't there long and gave them their space, it was so nice to, say it with me, BE THERE. Sometimes that is all that is needed of us. I know when Shane died, I don't remember the things that were said, I just remember the people that came to BE THERE! I am so thankful for this family of ours. I am even more thankful TODAY, after all that has gone on in our lives, that we still have this family in our life. They are such special people and I can't imagine our lives without them... I look forward to growing even older, with more weddings and children involved, with this family! Love ya'll.
*Thanks Jessie for letting me thieve some of your pictures from FB*