This weekend, Jake, Spencer, Wendell, and I packed up and headed to Minnesota, to spend the weekend at Jake's mom's house.
This is an activity that (well, with the exception of with Spencer, and sort of Wendell) is quite familiar to me.
Last night, Jake and I were sitting on his mother's couch, with Spencer playing on the floor (Wendell was outside with Jeb, Mindy's dog), and I had a flashback of this photo:
That photo was taken in 2002. Where we were sitting last night, we were facing that couch.
It dawned on me that I have been visiting Mindy's house for TEN YEARS. That's a decade.
Jake and I met in the summer of 2001. He came to my house the very first time on August 31, 2001. I don't know why I remember that date, but I do.
As we sat there, me staring at this photo (in my mind, of course) of us on the couch across from us, I was hit with so many flashbacks of time spent in that living room. And then, I said to Jake something about me coming to visit and spend the night there for TEN YEARS.
I followed with something like, "and now, we're bringing her GRANDSON with. I never saw that coming!"
It's amazing how time flies. Really. I mean, I sit here now and muse about what the next ten years will hold, and it sounds like a really, really long time, but it's not, at all.
I believe Jake's youngest brother, Josh, was about 12 when I met him the first time. He was at home this weekend too, and when he would walk up the stairs from the basement, I'd have a flashback of him being so young. He was about the same age as my littlest sister is NOW. She was TWO when Jake met her. TWO. That's only a year older than Spencer is! Wow!
The past 10 years really flew by faster than I ever imagined that they would. (Of course, this past year was the quickest flying of them all, if I do say so myself.)
Today, we went on a lunch date, and visited "China" (that's what the name of the restaurant in Windom is, "China," which I think is really... absurd...), and then just drove around town together, passing by old friends' houses. We covered almost the entire town, actually, reminiscing about old times, things we'd done together with our joint friends, and things we'd done separately that stood out to us as strong memories. It sounds kind of "lame" I suppose, but it was really fun, I think. I was silently overwhelmed with the realization of how much time I spent in that town, and at his mother's house, over the last decade, and how many wonderful memories I have with so many friends from the area.
I also decided that I can't wait until Spencer is a few years older, and we can take him back there, and take him on that drive, pointing out important places from the early years of his father and my relationship, as well as our memories with some of his blood and honorary aunts and uncles. I can't wait for him to play at the parks I hung out at, or eat at the McDonald's where his father gave me my first hug (from him, of course) early one summer morning at McPrayer.
I then realized I'd been friends with his best friend for 11 years already. And I met some of my other close friends 15 years ago (they went to my school, but one of them is now married and lives in Windom), which seemed even more insane.
In the evening, one of the friends that I have had since I was a toddler came over to Mindy's and brought her husband and her infant daughter. The six of us sat in the grass talking and watching our babies play, and she said, "this is much different than what we're used to doing when we hang out, isn't it? But it's awesome!" Or something similar. It gave me goosebumps. It was a wonderful moment.
I don't feel that much older than when I started making all of these wonderful friendships and memories with people from Windom, though obviously, I am. That's the crazy part. I guess, some days I feel older, but for the most part, I still feel so... young. But I'm actually closer to 30 than to 20, and I finally have a child that we'd been trying for, for so long.
As I write this, I have "Here's to the Night," by Eve 6 in my head. I had the lyrics to that written on a favorite pair of jeans from the summer prior to my senior year, as well as "icons" I drew of things that reminded me of my friends from that summer. I wore the jeans, actually, for one of my senior photos. Almost all of the memories from that song, that summer, and those jeans, are tied up in Windom, and my mother-in-law's house.
To me, that's pretty stinkin' awesome.
This photo has some of my dearest friends from 2001-2002.