Saturday, December 16, 2006

205 - Gray/Graham dinner

One of my most favorite things that i am going to miss terribly is dinners with the Grahams. This was my very first friend when we moved to Charlotte. We were inseparable and with a bond that is unlike any other. I loved the Grahams so much because we could just pop over there and have dinner with no questions asked. I could just call Ginger and say - can we come over and hang out? Ginger and i both worked in the beginning and would meet every other day to do aerobics at our church. Clay and her husband Todd would play basketball. Todd was much shorter than both Clay and I, but he was the fastest man on the court. Clay always said he was a really smart player and loved being on Todd's teams. Todd never missed a shot! Clay and TOdd were quite a pair standing together!

The Grahams are the most real couple we could ever know. Ginger taught me everything about mothering and was just a wonderful example of being a wife too. Ginger would love on all people and make everyone feel so comfortable. Everyone loves Gingee - that is what i have always called her.

One would never find us without them in the beginning - church, SS, shopping, dinners, dates, movies, sports, i mean everything!! But then kids started to come. We have 7 kids between the 2 of of us. It was fine and manageable until the kids started school. Our kids went to separate schools - regret of mine - and we began to see less and less of one another because of bedtimes, kids activities, etc. Clay and I also started teaching a SS class, nearly/new marrieds, and that was another time diversion. So after about 7 years of never being separated, we went through a rough time of not seeing each other very often except through the halls of the church on the way to drop off kids here and there. There was never any rift and never any bad feelings, just sadness because our lives had gone in different directions and yet the way i believe God ordained it.

Both our husbands grew by leaps and bounds spiritually in our 3 year friendship separation. I don't mean we never talked or whatnot, but we just were not attached at the hip and that was hard. There was always a love for the Grahams and always immediate connection if we saw them in the halls. I knew I could always call Ginger for any advice and could count on her in a minute to do anything or be anywhere. But the last 2 years we both have been very intentional about getting together and hanging out and being more faithful in phone calls. It was if the Lord told our hearts a real end is coming.

So last night was wonderful - dinner at the Grahams. Just like normal i brought a few things, she rigged up a few things from her house and then we laughed and cooked and played with the kids. The guys grilled out and shot baskets. The kids ran all over the house playing and having a blast. We ate with many complaints as normal and then sat at the dinner table for hours. Then we cleaned and the guys went out to get dessert. Before they moved it was always Dairy Queen. But last night it was Krispy Kreme. Then in normal fashion for a last time, we sat on the couches and just talked, played games, were the most comfortable i have ever been in someone else's house. Of course we all hugged as we said good-bye, we always did that, but this time it really hurt. I cried all the way hone and even now as i type. If i had no tears or sadness then something would be wrong with me. But this pain, one that i remember so vividly - every time we moved when i was growing up - is nothing new. While it is nothing new, the pain never gets old!

Some things i will never forget with Ginger and Todd:
- we did weight watchers, well sort of, together.
- we started our Mary Kay business and ended the business together in 2 months or less.
- we Christmas shopped together
- we drove to St. Louis together for a wedding
- 2 cycles in a row we had 4 children exactly one year to the day apart.
- vacations in Myrtle Beach
- trips to Fripp Island
- she taught 2 of my girls preschool
- moved 5 times between the 2 of us.
- endure a church ordeal of both being wrongly accused.
- laughing until we about peed in Ace Ventura - Pet Detective
- laughing until we peed on my story of Clay's runaway wheel chair
- crying just because we wanted to and feeling completely comfortable to do that!
- exchanging Christmas gifts
- garage sales
- dinners and sleepovers
- 7 pregnancies and 1 miscarriage together
- greatest babysitters in the world
- etc.............................

What i regret the most is the times i know i must have hurt Gingee's feelings for one reason or another and still don't know about it. I know i must have said many things off the cuff that hurt her and yet she would never say anything. So if she ever reads this - I am sorry for anything and everything that might have ever hurt you! I regret not staying in contact for those 3 years and making more of an effort to not let schedules divide. I regret not going on more vacations with them. I regret not going to the same school as they did. (I LOVE our current school, but i would have loved to follow Ginger around and do that stuff together too.) There will always be things we both regret, but we can not live in those. I will live in the memories and the time that God blessed me with the greatest friend ever. From place to place to place i have lived God has always given me such awesome friends. But this one stands out because of all the things we have gone through together. AND because it was a family friendship - not just a woman to woman friendship. We loved each other, husbands loved each other, and kids loved each other. It was perfect and is perfect!! Praise the Lord!

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