While we lived there we developed a special relationship with four other families and spent lots of time together with them. It was one of those wonderful situations where the women are all friends, the men are all friends, and the children all get along too. Leaving this was the most difficult part of moving. However, as life has progressed for our various families, all but one moved away from the little towns and scattered from Canada and Oregon to Glendale.
This weekend one of those families, the only one remaining in Marin, came down to visit us. We get together pretty regularly, usually three or four times a year, and we always have a great time. Since their arrival late Thursday night I have especially been enjoying my dear friend Tina who I miss dearly.
Imagine my surprise as I arrived home after mass last night to find my good friends Melissa and Andrea waiting for me in my driveway in their pajamas with sleeping bags in tow. Now, Melissa lives in Glendale so it isn't all that unusual for me to see her, although since I wasn't expecting her it was a wonderful surprise. However, Andrea lives in Ashland, Oregon, so I was beyond stunned to see her. In fact, I could not believe my eyes. She had flown down that morning to surprise me and everyone knew about it except me.
I quickly learned that we were having a totally girly sleepover and that all the husbands had valiently stepped up to care for their many children so we could enjoy an evening together, plus lunch the next day. I was in heaven.
Imagine my further surprise when the doorbell rang just before we left for lunch today and it was Anna Lisa and her family, the last of the original five of us. They drove down from Santa Barbara today to get in on the surprise. It had been more than five years since we had all been together, and we got to spend all afternoon together today.
With neighbor Robin in tow (who got along with them all as if she had known them for years), we all went to lunch and spent three wonderful hours together. I cannot remember the last time I was so completely and delightfully surprised. I have really missed my friends!
If it wasn't for the whole "this could end badly" part of having cancer, I would have to say that it is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It is bringing my distant friends close and my close friends closer. It is cementing my immediate and extended family. It is bringing out the best in everyone I know, including me.
I would have never expected this. How surprising life can be!