I feel so happy.
I’ve just had a three-day visit with Shannon, one of my very best friends. She flew from Calgary, just for the weekend; a quick little getaway to use up some airline points and get in some girl time. She left her husband and two young boys at home, and when she left my place yesterday afternoon, she said to my kids,
“Thank you for sharing your mom with me.”
Such an interesting comment, and so applicable to this stage in our lives. You see, the last time she visited Burlington was in the Spring of 2009, when I was a brand new, first-time mother. On that visit, she had her husband and 18-month-old son with her, and they came specifically to meet my newborn. I was still trying to figure out the new version of me, and the balancing act that comes with parenthood. My memories of that visit are scarce, muddled amongst sleepless nights, non-stop nursing, and piles of laundry. But she was there.
Her visit before that, in Spring 2006, is also foggy for me, but for a different reason: my bachelorette party. Shannon and my friend Sarah flew in to surprise me in Toronto, only a few months before my wedding. And as a control freak and a planner, let me tell you that I cannot be easily surprised. But they pulled it off, and whisked me through the TO club scene with a crown on my head and a bachelorette sash around my neck. She was there again.
Shannon and I have been friends for nearly 20 years now. We met in l997, at the University of Calgary, when we lived on the same floor in student residence. We were both raised in small-town, rural Alberta, and had a shared love of sports and boys, with some Type A stubbornness and ambition thrown into the mix. When we went back to our respective hometowns for our first mid-University Summer, we cried like we were going off to war, and when we returned back to school in the Fall, we celebrated like the Uni students we were. We’ve been through breakups and heartaches, cross-country moves and graduate school, weddings and babies, mistakes and accomplishments. We’ve travelled to Milk River and Sundre, Red Deer and Edmonton, New York City and Toronto, Vancouver and Vegas.
“Thank you for sharing your mom with me,” she said, and my heart was full. Because she gets it. She gets that my primary role around here, and to those little people, is mom. She also gets that my other roles are wife and chiropractor and friend. She knows the back-story that wrote my story and the blocks that built my life. She’s a part of my foundation, my memories, my past, my future. When the big stuff happens, she’s there. And when the little stuff happens, the stuff she doesn’t see because we live so far apart, she books a trip East to see for herself. “What do you want to do while you’re here?” I asked her when she booked her flight. “I want to see your life,” she said. So I showed her: she saw bedtimes and school drop-offs and CrossFit and downtown walks and hot tubs.
She was there. Just like she’s always been.