My best friend in the teen years was Melissa. It was the kind of friendship where I stopped by every day after work and just walked into her house, where one of us could go pee or take a shower while the other was in the bathroom, where I didn't even go to Target without her... until I introduced her to a guy and she ended up in an abusive and controlling marriage. I didn't get to see her anymore and I blamed myself. Eventually they got divorced, but our friendship had been reduced to a letter every year or two.
She lives in Washington now. Last October (I know, I'm super late at blogging about this) I got to go visit her. She was expecting a baby, which was a complete miracle given her health history. I felt like such a grown-up, flying out of state to attend a baby shower. It felt really important to me to support her in this. Unfortunately, after I booked my flight, the shower got rescheduled. It was too expensive to change my flight, so we planned on a nice little weekend together. Then she ended up in the hospital with complications.
I got a rental car and a hotel near the hospital and mostly devoted the weekend to visiting with her and her mom. It was just like old times, hanging out in a hospital, but our lives are so separated after years of being out of contact. What kind of lame elevator doesn't want you to jump in it? The radio in my rental car was touch screen - so cool!
On Saturday morning, I went to the Seattle LDS Temple. I was not missing the chance to visit it. The leaves were gorgeous on the temple grounds.
This statue is also in Temple Square and it's one of my favorites. I love this example of a woman who is dressed very femininely and is enjoying time with children.
I had an awful time navigating the Seattle/Tacoma area. The speed limit was painfully low and the GPS gave directions at the very last second. Also, the hilly streets with flat intersections and closely spaced lights caused me to get confused of which light belonged to which intersection. I accidentally ran a red light in Tacoma because of it. While I was visiting on Saturday, Melissa needed a PICC line put in, and they let me stay in the room if I wore these adorable accessories.
I wanted to fit in a tiny bit of sightseeing while I was there. I decided to visit the giant ferris wheel over the water. My GPS and I were complete enemies in this venture, but I made it and found an overpriced parking garage.
In this glass gondola, I instantly recognized that my fear of heights was much worse than I remembered. I spent serious effort calming down a near panic attack, taking selfies to distract myself. When I got off, I had very little time to get back to my car before the parking garage closed...but I had run to the waterfront in such a hurry that I hadn't kept close track of directions. By the time I found my car, I was panicking again.
From there, I went to visit another good friend from the teen years who also happens to live in Washington. She had some health issues and hadn't been able to take the bus to the city, so I made the drive to a restaurant near her and we enjoyed talking. When I took her home, I was shocked at how well I recognized her small town from my visit 10+ years before.
Sunday morning, I went back to visit Melissa in the hospital before my flight left. Her water broke while I was there and she went into labor, so I left and chilled at the airport for a bit. There was never really a good time to take a picture together.
Two weeks ago, she came to Utah for a family wedding. I got to see her again as well as her grandparents (we played games together frequently growing up), and meet her baby. I didn't have much time to visit, but I'm so grateful for the time we had. Life doesn't turn out as you plan. Friendships change. She was once a huge influence in my life and my world was shaken when she left it. I'm thrilled that she is a mom and continues to defy medical odds.