I haven't spoken at length here about my childhood, or lack thereof. I likely won't. All you need to know is that it was bad and I was emancipated by the state at 16 years old. I was not a bad kid, I went through bad things.
I have this childhood friend, my first friend really...we've stayed in touch off and on over the years. Typically we'd loose touch for a few years, reconnect lather, rinse, repeat. This never bothered me, I've come to expect it, we always pick up right where we left off. He understands me on a level no one else can, he knows things about me no one else does (or likely will) and sadly he went through much of the same. Most importantly he does not judge me nor offer advice, we can talk through all the terrible stuff or not. So much of our communication is unspoken, it's like we are twins or something, we just have that connection.
It's been about 2.5 years since we lost touch the last time but this time I'm friends with his wife on facebook! They lives hundreds of miles and several states away so I've never met her but we share pictures of the kids and talk a little. Once in a while she passes along a message from my friend and we send each other Christmas cards. I'll take it.
Sadly my friend's father passed away recently. I want not able, nor did I want, to attend the funeral. My friend and his wife did the red-eye flight thing to be there (several hours away in the middle of winter). My friend decided he wanted his kids to experience where we grew up, he wanted his wife to explore this place a little...he wanted them to meet me!
Liam and I got up around 7am this morning and got ready at a casual pace since we didn't have to leave until around 10:30am, my friend and his family were meeting us half way between where they were staying and where I live....ironically in the town I "grew up" in. (I haven't been back there in over ten years aside from a few years ago for a friend's funeral) After a easy two hour drive, during which Liam napped, we were there! It was like old times right away, he and I briefly spoke of the past (it had been a good 5 years since we'd spoken a word about it) then it was all fun, his wife is adroable as are his twins who happen to be one month younger than Liam! We ate and took the kids to a near by park to play. We didn't get to chat much more since there were three kids and three of us but I would not have traded the short time we had for anything.
Before I knew it we snapped a quick picture, told each other we were proud of one another with tears in our eyes and it was time to get back on the road for all of us. It was the most difficult parting I've had with him. We've come a long way, it's been probably close to a decade since we've spent time together in person. I hugged my friend and loaded Liam and I back up, after picking up fresh drinks we were on the road home.
Liam did amazing in the car today, I've never taken him on such a trip alone but I was super proud of him. I really needed to gather my thoughts as we pulled out of town and he was more than happy to just play with his puppy toy while I did so. I can't tell you how refreshing it was to my soul to have someone who really knows the depth of hell I went through as a kid sit across a table from me and beam with pride for the woman (wife, mother) I have become. I think for most people going to college, getting married and having children is a given but it's not when you come from where we did... I really think most people would expect us to ended up as low-lifes but we didn't, we fought hard, we made mistakes then we put ourselves through college, got married, had families....
What an incredible day.