Six and half years ago, Curt and I plopped our sleep-deprived, weary bodies into the most uncomfortable metal folding chairs, arranged our diaper bags, Bibles, burp clothes, strollers and car seats in a precarious mountain and settled in for another morning worship service in the very distracting "parent-seating" area of our church. We cradled our newborn daughter, dressed in frills up to her ears, in our arms and glanced around to see how her church dress matched up to the other newbies. As we purused the crowed, we zeroed in on a couple we hadn't met. They too, looked like it had been weeks since they got a full night of sleep but were still glowing with the euphoria of new baby love. We introduced ourselves to Brian and Nancy and met their first-born daughter, Grace, who was two weeks younger than Katie. My heart broke for Nancy when I found out they had recently moved from San Diego to Chicago just weeks before Grace was born and had no one to visit them at the hospital or share in their joy when Grace was born. We invited them over for dinner and an easy friendship formed.
During the three years Brian and Nancy lived in Illinois we did life together: sharing meals, swapping childcare, jumping on the reality TV bandwagon, watching Survivor finales together and rehashing the latest Bachelor episode on the phone. We got pregnant and celebrated the births of our next two children who were born 8 months apart. We even had the privilege of dedicating our babies to the Lord together during the same ceremony. When the Navy transferred Brian to Seattle, we mourned and shed buckets of tears as we watched them drive away.
When God started tugging on our hearts and whispering in our ear that change was coming to our comfortable life in Illinois, we moved forward slowly and with a strange mix of anxiety and excitement. One year later, we packed our bags and drove away from Illinois and into the great unknown of starting life over in Oregon. The fact that Brian and Nancy were a 4 hour drive away brought a great sense of comfort and familiarity to our world that seemed so uncomfortable and unfamiliar.
On Friday we drove to Snohomish, Washington, and spent the weekend with our friends. Grace and Griffin came tearing out the front door to greet us and we heard their shrieks of excitement before their jammie-clad bodies rounded the corner. Nancy's house was spotless as usual, with beds made up for all four of our kids, sinks shining in the guest bathroom next to a pile of neatly folded towels and fresh-baked goodies arranged beautifully in the kitchen.
We spent the weekend in the blissful familiarity of friendship that has weathered time and that has a rich and layered history of comfortability. A friendship that has refrigerator rights. A friendship where you can fall asleep on the couch and not worry about being rude.
The kids had a blast together, staying up till 11 p.m. and then waking up at 5:20 a.m. to play again! We went to Grace's basketball game and all the kids made signs to hold up in her cheering section. All of us, except Grant, took naps on Saturday afternoon and then we bundled up and walked to the park where the kids played Daddy Tag and Brian ridiculed me for taking Alli potty in the bushes and not quite getting her pants out of the path of the stream. We reminisced about old times and caught up on current events. We ate and ate and ate some more. All of us, kids included, broke in their new Wii and played Guitar Hero for hours on end. The kids formed their own band and we giggled at their intensity as they tried to play "Eye of the Tiger" all the way to the end without getting boo-ed off by the crowd. After they went to bed, the grownups took the stage. Curt was sweating, hands cramping, from all his guitar antics and Nancy was born to be a drummer. I managed to sing a pretty mean rendition of "Livin on a Prayer," although it didn't rival Brian's rendition of "Heartbreaker." We played games, stayed up way too late, and ate and ate and ate. This morning we ate some more, worshipped with them at their church, and came home to eat some more and play a few more concerts on the Wii before heading home. It was absolutely wonderful and needless to say, Wii had a rockin' good time!