Every now and again, you come across a girl who simply smacks of wonderfulness.
That did not happen to me in preschool. In preschool, I came across a girl who reeked of prissiness, as she pranced around in her poofy party dresses and her elaborately-curled hair and her golden earrings. She drove me to the brink of my four-year-old sanity, because her nose was always in my business. So, when I was asked to pass out the cups and the paper plates one morning for our snacks, I did.
And I skipped the princess.
The child on either side of her received their paper products, in anticipation of their graham crackers and apple juice, but she did not.
And she wailed with all the drama she was capable of mustering, which was significant.
I wound up standing in the corner for eighteen hours. Times were different then, because teachers could discipline with corners and wooden spoons.
As a grown-up (who now gives red Solo cups to anyone and everyone who needs one at a party, regardless of how much lace their dress sports or how often they poke their nose into my face), I met Katie. Katie is a gem. We discovered that we both had a passionate love for Starbucks, and we were both walking around like disheveled zombies in pajama pants, because we had tiny sons who refused to sleep at night.
As in, Katie and I could text one another at 2 AM, because we were both up. And we could call each other at 3 AM, because we were both up. And we could chat on Facebook at 4 AM, because we were both up. It’s because Thing 2 and Katie’s youngest son, Gunnar, were perfectly awful at the business of sleeping.
So, Katie and I did what any exhausted mothers would do. We changed out of our pajama pants and put on real clothes. We left our sons with our husbands, and we spent long hours at Starbucks together, inhaling cups of caffeine laced with copious amounts of sugar, and we talked.
And then we talked some more.
And occasionally we’d throw our heads back and howl with laughter until our sides split wide open and we couldn’t breathe.
We met for playdates with our boys. We met at the park. We lounged in the overstuffed, leather chairs at Starbucks for hours. We put our boys to bed and sat on Katie’s sofa and watched cheesy, romantic movies that our husbands would have hated. We made plans for our boys to grow up together. We made plans to escape to Bigger Town, USA when our babies FINALLY slept through the night (Thank you, Jesus!), to celebrate with shopping therapy.
And then, somewhere between trips to Starbucks, Katie’s husband decided to take a job in Alaska, because WHY NOT?
Actually, it wasn’t so much as her husband taking a job in Alaska, as it was God whispering to them that He wanted them to move North. Far North. And God, as only He can do, worked things out and shut doors and threw open other doors, and pretty much SHOWED THEM BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that they were to be in Alaska. When Katie finally gave in and said, “Okay, God,” things fell into place like perfectly aligned building blocks.
Bright and early this morning, Katie and Jeff strapped their three boys into their carseats, and they set off to live in an igloo at the top of the world.
(Oh, Katie swears they’re going to live in a house made with real wood and glass windows, but we all know that igloos happen in Alaska.)
I told Katie that Alaska was a horrid choice, because it’s dark for so long. And it’s cold. And it really snows up there. And what happens if she sees a seal pup getting clubbed to death? Should she phone 911? And Canada is such AN ENORMOUS EXPANSE for me to drive through, and did she realize that I would probably puke on an airplane nonstop from here to the North Pole?
Before she left, a gang of us went out for dinner, because nothing says LET’S HAVE A GOOD TIME to a pack of girls like food does. We sat in an over-air-conditioned restaurant, until we all had blue lips and numb toes, eating Mexican food and savoring the guacamole. We talked nonstop. We laughed even more.
And then I had to go pick the boy up from an evening of golfing, because Hubs was at home with Thing 2, who actually sleeps now.
And the rest of the girls switched restaurants and went out for yogurt, which is where they got the bright idea to HEY! LET’S TAKE A GROUP PHOTO WITH OUR PHONE!
That is why you can’t find me in this picture, but we all know the real reason. I hadn’t showered that day, and my Day Two Hair wasn’t at the top of my beauty pageant game. No one wanted to be in a photo of me and my hair that evening.
I do have cute girlfriends, don’t I? This is one precious batch of girls.
(She also washed her hair that day.)
(So did all the other girls.)
(Theresa is on the far right over there. Her biceps make me wish that I enjoyed working out.)
(The other Katie is right there in front. She makes coffee cake with real ingredients, like flour and sugar and eggs. She doesn’t use a box mix, and THAT impresses me.)
(Robin is on the far left. She’s adorable, and she lets me know that it’s okay when you’re so busy chasing a toddler, you don’t do the laundry for twenty-one days in a row. She said Jesus still loves a mother… even then, when no one has clean socks.)
The following morning, we met back up at the park. Katie was living in a hotel for three days, after packing up their house, and there’s only so many things you can do in a non-smoking, double-queen-sized-beds room with three young boys before you begin thinking about drinking margaritas by noon.
We yanked her down to the park to play.
Thing 2 was so excited to see Gunnar, he gave him a man hug. Gunnar hugged Thing 2 back, until I jumped up with my camera. That’s when Gunnar dropped his arms from around Thing 2’s shoulders and whispered, “My dad told me not to hug a lot of boys at the park.”
My friend Bethany’s little boy, Seth, was there, too. I made enormous attempts at catching Thing 2, Gunnar and Seth in pictures together, but listen: Toddlers move very quickly. They move faster than my shutter speed. I failed at good toddler photography on Monday.
Katie and Bethany hopped up and down behind me and made ridiculous faces, in some effort to coax smiles from the gang.
(I should have spun around with my catlike reflexes and taken THEIR snapshots!)
Our gang of girls is sad to see Katie head to Alaska, but we’ve decided that it’s best not to argue with God. He knows what He’s doing.
So if y’all think about it, you could whisper a little prayer for Katie. She’s traveling across Canada with three tiny boys. Do you know how big Canada is? Do you know how many times she might have to hear Toy Story playing on the DVD player?
She may hope for margaritas before she even crosses the border.
Y’all have a happy Wednesday evening.