Oh my goodness, we had such a great time. I loved every moment, well, except finding out I was going to miss my friend's water birth. But that's okay. It was NOT Erin's fault because I would have missed it anyhow since it went soooo fast. I just felt so bad that I wasn't there. (Congrats, Lindsay!!! Lindsay was the one with the orange belly at my party and who was dressed as a . . . oh, I'm not even sure of the right word for her! Her costume . . . so super and so NOT Lindsay at ALL! She won for funniest costume.)
Anyway, Erin, she is the sweetest, kindest, gentlest, funniest (SO FUNNY!!!), most loving, spunkiest, prettiest girl I have ever met. We are so alike (not that I am any of the above), it's not even funny. I know it's not a good thing to feel this way, but I do. I am so jealous of her in-real-life friends who get to see her and spend time with her whenever they want. How blessed you all are!! I am happy to say that she and I are just 14 hours apart which is not bad at all considering she is in Canada, and a really positive thing is, there are gizillions of places we could "meet in the middle" at. (Yay!)
I wish our time together had been longer, but I'm thankful it was as long as it was (5 days!). We were up till at least midnight every night and I'm sure that will continue as we blog & email till all hours of the night every day in the future.
I got to show her the farm I grew up on, the town of 900 people that I am from, the house Neil grew up in, the hill we use to go sledding down, the house I just moved from in D-town (my first time back, I couldn't even look at the house . . . it was really hard), our wonderfully historic neighborhood that we moved from, my favorite shopping block in town which houses my favorite restaurant, Robbie's. I was able to take her to mom's house, to Allerton park, to Champaign (where the University of Illinois is), to some of my favorite shopping places in Champaign, to Starbucks (why of course -- that is one of our differences -- she doesn't drink anything coffee, not even Fraps!), to my mother-in-laws, to our mall, and to one of our favorite restaurants in downtown Champaign (Radio Maria).
She helped me put our party together -- she worked her booty off, too! -- she met all my friends and really bonded with a few -- Johanna and Heather. She got to know my kids (who happen to be the SAME ages as hers!), she got to know Neil (who is very similar to Jer -- same height even!). And she got to know me better. (I hope that's a good thing.)
She got to see how disorganized I am. She got to see how emotional I can be. She even got to pat my non-tooshie toosh. (Yes, people, I know, I do NOT have a bum.) She got to see how much I love ketchup and how much I love coffee. She got to decorate my home with her amazing interior mind's eye.
We got to do so many of our favorite things TOGETHER. In person! Face-to-face!
When we first saw each other in the airport, we didn't hesitate in hugging. We gabbed the entire way to Illinois (I picked her up in Indiana.) We knew right away that we had a million things in common. (A post to come later.) I mean, I can't even tell you how fabulous it was to meet such a special blogging friend and spend TIME with her. Lots of it. To get to know someone like her. SUCH a blessing. She was just incredible.
When I talked to Neil on the way home, I asked him a question. I said "What did you think of Erin?". Neil responded, "She was just like you, only she talked a lot more". I thought that was so funny. She does like to talk, but I love that. That's part of what makes her Erin. She makes up for my lack-of. And I love Neil's answer because I take it that that means he could almost marry her ;c)
God sent me this wonderful woman to be my friend. . . for life. We already have plans to get together again. I just cannot explain how blessed I feel.
Miss you, friend, and thank you for everything.