It's actually the main reason we're going home. We're really excited that we were able to extend the trip to see our loved ones as well, and spend time at home.
It's hard to believe we're only 3 1/2 days away from flying out!
I was in our apartment last night, working on some things that I'm making for Lauren for her wedding.
We were texting and reminiscing...
|The first picture of us.|
When we met freshman year of college, we were both 3 hops and a skip away from being total messes.
We clung to each other like bees to honey. Or more like Taco Bell to a freshman girl's waistline.
We had a lot of the same things going (or not going) for us: long-distance boyfriend, being a freshman, not having many (if any) friends, new to choir...
I think Lauren and I were able to fill in the gaps of where the other person struggled the most.
We were there for each other.
I started out as a Music major, so all of my classes were at 8am.
I was never on time. I slept through a lot of them...but worst of all, I would go to my classes in the clothes I slept in, and then go back to bed after they were through.
It was embarrassing.
And Lauren helped me out of that funk. She was so much more outgoing than I was!
I always knew she was coming when I heard that fast-paced pitter-patter of her feet running down my dorm hall. We became inseparable.
She was my first adult friend, one that I met and loved and clicked with right away. We were our own little love story.
That first time we said "you're my best friend" was as dramatic as a proposal. We were both nervous, shy, and ecstatic when the other person returned our sentiments. Haha!
This is the moment right after we said those fateful words:
It's a horrific picture, we know. Probably one of the most awkward pictures we've ever taken.
Unless you count these:
We had a game we played, where we'd yell out something and have to imitate that in the picture. It could be anything.
"Lesbian dinosaur", "Constipated hippo", "Seductive man," "Rogue fairy"...the list goes on and on.
She was a pro.
Sometimes it's hard to think about too much, because I honestly miss those days a lot.
There's nothing like being married, and I wouldn't trade that for the world. But there's something about the community that exists in college that you never really have again. Being down the hall from your best friend, living in an apartment with a group of girls, always within hands reach of a late-night escapade.
In the midst of it, we thought our lives were pretty boring. Lauren and I would always complain that we weren't living life, or seizing the day, or going on adventures, or whatever.
But looking back, our lives were fantastic, and hilarious, and ridiculous. We could have been our own TV show. "How I Met Your Mother" or "Friends" status.
The fun adventures, the cheesy inside jokes, the road trips, the parties, the apartment troubles, the "coming of age" stories, the shopping, the boy troubles, the silly fights.
There are so many moments I look back on.
Freshman year, we would try so hard to have a "thing"...to have a hobby, or something to define us.
I can't tell you how many times we went to Target. Sometimes just to hang out. Sometimes for inspiration.
This is when we bought new Tennis rackets at Target. We went all out. Got all dressed up for our new daily Tennis routine!
We. Never. Played.
On that night, the Tennis courts were closed. So naturally, we took a bunch of pictures in our new gear with our new rackets.
That would never be used again.
But, that's just what we did. We bought puzzles, crafts, plants, you-name-its. We were constantly in search of new projects to take on. We were searching for who we wanted to be, and what we really wanted to do with our lives.
It was kind of wonderful.
One time, Lauren had to attend a play for a class.
She asked me if I would go, so we headed out to what would become known as the aforementioned "coming of age" type of story.
This is us:
As soon as we walked into the theater building, we felt different. There was something oddly unsettling about going to a play by ourselves, surrounded by adults and fancy old ladies.
Were we adults?
It was like someone handed us two bright shining badges that declared us officially done with childhood.
We sat down in our seats and sat up straight, looking around and smiling at all of the sophistication around us.
As soon as the play started, we were wide-eyed and open-mouthed.
This was a real play. Gritty, real, and emotional. It was dramatic. It was worldly. There was cussing and loud yelling, and no musical numbers to whisk us away.
As strange as it sounds, I think that honestly was a turning point in our lives, in our maturity, and in our friendship. We promised to take advantage of this theater that was so close to us, and to see the inexpensive yet powerful plays that they had each month.
(We never went again.)
We had a lot of fun adventures. We were in choir together, so we traveled around each weekend to different churches for concerts. We also went on choir tour together, all the way to San Francisco and back.
We also ended up in student leadership together, and she even got to be partners with Dusty our senior year!
We frequented Disneyland, as well as San Diego and occasionally the beach.
(We had a really bad experience at the beach early on, and I think it haunted us throughout the rest of our college year. I'd tell it to you, but it's probably best that I don't, to avoid any hurt feelings or mean words. We just refer to it dramatically as "the worst day of our lives".)
We were constantly shopping, eating, getting our nails done, eating, and going to Starbucks.
We actually had a legitimate "regular" Starbucks we went to...so much so, that the adorable lady that worked there began to ask, "The usual?"
I don't know about you, but everyone else on the planet wants to be asked that. If you didn't before, now you do. Because it's in our nature to want to be noticed, and respected as regular patrons.
It's in our nature to want to belong somewhere.
Somewhere like Starbucks.
So, we had a very real dream realized. It was bliss.
That Starbucks is gone now, and it still hurts to talk about.
I was also able to go to Brawley several times, which is Lauren's hometown. Honestly one of my favorite places. I think because it reminds me so much of my hometown of Casa Grande. They're basically the same place, only Brawley is smaller and closer to Mexico.
I fell in love with her stories and her family. I loved going there over a weekend to just hang out, sleep in and drink her mom's coffee.
I remember a very specific instance where her mom came to visit us at CBU, and we went out to dinner. I remember feeling so happy that I had a friend, and I remember Lauren and I telling her mom how we never, ever fought. We were in the honeymoon stage of our friendship, you could say.
While we definitely didn't stay conflict-free forever, our friendship never stopped getting better.
I think one of the biggest gifts was the friendship that was able to develop between Dusty and Lauren. Against all odds, they managed to form their own special bond apart from me. And together, they were my favorite.
It was more than I could have hoped for. And I'm so thankful to both of them.
We went through a lot those crazy 3 1/2 years.
She graduated a semester early and moved to Connecticut, so we ended up saying our goodbyes at Dusty and I's wedding, over Christmas break our senior year.
Suffice it to say, we came a long way from this:
Well, maybe we haven't changed all that much.
The moral of the story is....you know that whole "Count Your Blessings" thing?
Well, it was true for Andy Griffith, and it's still true today. For me and for you.
You just waste time if you're not enjoying the present.
I would love to travel back to some of the best days, and pay more attention to some of the best moments.
Especially here in law school, I worry that a lot of wives are sitting by, waiting for their "real" lives to start...but the truth is, no matter what part of life you're in, that is your life. And it's passing you by. You're in it, right now.
To quote P.S. I Love You...
Holly: "...I see people buying bigger apartments and having babies...
I get so afraid sometimes that our life's never gonna start."
Gerry: "We're already in our life. It's already started, this is it.
You have to stop waitin', baby."
I have a hundred "Lauren" stories up my sleeve. We had an incredible few years together.
And now it's her turn to get married, and I'm so proud to call her my friend! I'm so happy for her.
And I'm so glad we had each other when we did. Sometimes, the timing is perfect. For us, it was.
Perfect and ridiculous.
Not sure what I would have done without her :)
I thought she was great when I first met her. But to see the woman she has become is pretty stellar. She has changed so much, in all of the best ways.
And she never gave up on me and our friendship.
I'm so happy for her happiness, and for all of the adventures she's going to have with her new love!
To avoid being too sentimental, I'll leave it at that.
Just a few chapters from the Caitlin and Lauren saga.
3 days until Arizona!!