I am hanging out at my mom's for 10 days in the Denver area. It is an annual tradition for The Prairie Daddy to drop The Kid and I off here and head to Nebraska for a week every February. We play here while he does two ultrasound jobs that take a full week, usually.
The Prairie Kid and I have been having quite the week but before I get into the fun details I will do a little background info.
Two and a half years ago was my high school 10 year reunion. I didn't go. I didn't really want to go and since it was my sister's 30th birthday I had a great excuse to not be able to go. Most of the reason for me not wanting to go was that high school was not a good period in my life. That would take a whole other blog post to explain but in a nutshell, high school was hellish. I didn't really want to revisit it.
I did have a curiosity about some people. I would hear here or there about so and so. My mom owns a salon in the neighborhood I grew up in so it isn't surprising that she frequently hears the happenings of some of the people I went to school with. Sometimes when I visit my mom I wonder if I will "run into" someone from high school. I had reconnected twice with one girl and that had been a nice experience.
My thinking has slowly changed and I know exactly what to blame it on:
Facebook. What else can I say? Facebook has given us all such a "safe" ability to reconnect with people at a distance. Some people I have started to communicate with more and more. And it has been good. Better than I would have expected. It lead me to desire to actually get together with a few old friends this trip.
Now back to this week.
Monday I shopped my heart out. It was a blast! I got some fun new clothes. My mom and The Prairie Kid were with me and we had a great time. That evening I went out to dinner with my step family. It was fun.
Tueday The Prairie Kid and I met up with an old friend and her two cute boys at The Children's Museum. It was so nice to see her and find out that we have many things in common. You can only picture people as the teenager you last remember seeing and it is fun to see how someone has grown up.
That evening another friend and his family came by for dinner. Again, great time.
Wednesday I took The Prairie Kid to a children's play at a theater I haven't been to in well, over 2 decades. My mom used to take us as preschoolers and I remember at least one field trip there in elementary school. Going back with my own little preschooler was amazing. We saw a play called "Just So" on the same stage from long ago. Of course it looked a little smaller. : ) The Prairie Kid loved the play and it was a wonderful experience for us both. We had "special lunch" with my mom afterwards and The Prairie Kid got to pick where to go. He picked the gourmet and classy McDonald's. I actually bought him a happy meal too...which I don't think I have ever done before. After all, it was "special lunch." He did get a great toy digital basketball game.
Wednesday night was a big night for me. And I was nervous. I was invited to dinner at the house of a friend that I had been really close friends with up until my dad passed away when I was 16. We had corresponded much on email over the past 6 months and came to a great reconnection but actually meeting again in person was a stretch for me. She also invited another mutual friend (the one I have seen a couple of times) and we all fell back into a place of enjoying each other and talking about our lives and the past as if we hadn't missed the past 14 years. It was surreal.
Yesterday I got to go to the airport to pick up my sister, the baby nephew, and her boyfriend. Yea!
And something unheard of happened last night! The Prairie Daddy came back 2 days early! He got things done on both of his jobs a day early so he was two days ahead of schedule! So now we're all hanging out and enjoying each other for 5 days!
On Sunday we will have an open house for friends to come visit us all. All of the girls that I met up with again this week will come over and it will be great to see them again. Plus a handful of other family friends will stop in. Fun, fun!
And there is one last "blast from the past" that will take place tonight. Today is my dad's birthday. He would have been 69 but he lost his battle with cancer when he was 54. Before he passed we took him to our family's favorite restaurant one last time. Mu Lan Landing. It is a Chinese restaurant that was next to his office and we began frequenting it for special occasions and family outings long ago. I was as young as early elementary school if not younger. We celebrated birthdays there, graduations, anniversaries, and much more. The owners knew us all by name and often made us special dishes. The last time any of us has been there was the last time we took my dad. He was in a wheel chair and in the last weeks of his life. I remember having to take him through the delivery door and the kitchen because it was a second story restaurant without a front elevator.
It has been 14 years since we've been. We weren't even sure the same owners had the place. We called them today and Kelly, the same owner, answered the phone. My sister told her who she was and Kelly remembered us immediately. We're going to go tonight to Mu Lan and celebrate my dad's birthday. It brings tears to my eyes as I write this. It will be a tough event to revisit but one that I want to accomplish. We have always wanted to wait until we were together as a family to go. Tonight's the night. And Kelly was so excited that we are coming that they are going to prepare our favorite dishes even though one of them is one that they don't even offer anymore. A whole steamed fish. Her husband was going to go out to find one just for us.
I will let you know how tonight goes.
I have found this week that revisiting the past is bitter sweet. It brings back lots of memories, both the good and the bad. I am glad that time offers growth. I realize that I am a very blessed woman with a blessed life. I am thankful. But I also realize that time goes on and things happen whether or not we want them to. Some things we didn't choose and we can't change. I am thankful for a Lord who is constant and loves me constantly, no matter what.
Happy Birthday, Dad. I miss you.