My friends are my estate. – Emily Dickinson
Where would we be without our friends? I know that I would certainly be in a far less positive state of mind without mine, at any point in my life. Everything – from walking to school in fourth grade to attending high school dances to needing someone to help me move or crying about my divorce – would have been so much harder without them. Nor would the enjoyable things have been as much fun. Upon my return from our recent mini-trip, I realized that forging that connection was the point of the entire weekend.
We started off by visiting Aidan’s best friend since first grade. He had moved out of our area in the spring and now lives on the central coast, almost four hours away. We drove to their home on Friday night, and the boys had a great time playing video games and goofing off. I enjoyed seeing his friend’s mom, with whom I have also become friends. I love the fact that among the many benefits of having children are the new friends we meet because of them. I probably would never have met her if Aidan hadn’t become friends with her son, and I enjoy her company and talking about our lives while our kids get to roll down huge sand dunes and make up for lost time. It doesn’t surprise me to note the similarities between the parents of my children’s friends and me.
The next morning, Nigel and I left Aidan at his friend’s house and continued up the gorgeous coast. We met up with Pixie and her husband at the Oregon Coast Aquarium and enjoyed looking at all the marine exhibits, including the shark tunnel. Nigel communicated with a sea otter. The Pixie parents found souvenirs that were perfect for each of their children back home. Then we caravanned up to the house that they had rented in Rockaway Beach, gorged ourselves on savory Mexican food for dinner, built a bonfire on the beach, hot-tubbed, and talked until we nearly passed out. Pixie and her husband are yet another example of friends I have met because of my children. If Nigel had not had autism, I would not have started blogging (at least not about autism), and then I would have missed a friendship with two amazing people who know what it’s like to have to fight for your children, who experience the same emotions and triumphs and fears, and who share many of the same priorities and dreams. They are warm, witty, and genuine, and I am so happy to have spent time with them. They may live far away, and they may be among the newest of my friends, but I value my connection with them immensely.
Sunday morning, Nigel and I drove a little further up the coast and had brunch with a friend I’ve had for 28 years. We went to elementary and junior high school together in southern California, and we’ve kept in touch through high school, college, and beyond. Though in some ways our lives are different, I think it’s no small coincidence that we both ended up making Oregon our home (even though at opposite ends of the state)! We shared a lovely brunch of homemade popovers with homemade peach jam, talked about our families, looked at the photo album of my Nepal trip, and commented that we need to find a way to see each other more often!
After that, Nigel and I made our way back down the coast and picked up Aidan, and then we jogged back to the middle of the state to stop in and see my sister and brother-in-law and my five-month-old nephew. He is the smiliest, cutest little bug ever! My brother and sister-in-law also happened to be visiting that day, up from LA. It was such a wonderful, impromptu little reunion! We took turns holding the newest member of the family, feasted on a lovely pasta dish with homemade pesto, and sampled my sister’s homebrewed beer. We laughed and reminisced. We communed. All of us enjoy each other’s company so much. I realized that my siblings – and their spouses – are not only family, they are among my cherished friends.
And so I wonder again, where would I be without them in my life? Where would any of us be? As Emily put it, my friends are my estate. And there is so much room in the human heart. More than we could ever imagine.
with Pixie at Cannon Beach – photography by Nigel!