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My dear friend Kathleen paid us a visit yesterday. We met years ago in a knitting class at a (then) local yarn shop. Kathleen had already been taking the class with her youngest daughter for several months when I joined in. I was five minutes late to my first class, so I smiled and slunk into the first open chair that I saw. Everyone was busy working on their projects, and the room was very, very quiet. Talk about intimidating! I pulled out my knitting and pretended that I knew what I was doing. I didn’t need the class so much as I needed the diversion for the sake of my sanity. Parenting a preschooler and a toddler will do that to you–question your sanity, that is…

Ten minutes after my tardy-yet-discreet arrival, the door at the front of the shop clanged open and all we heard was riotous laughter! Then one of The Twins glanced over at her sister and wryly muttered, “Well I guess Kathleen & Ann are here after all.”

Kathleen walked into the room with a huge grin, immediately noticed me, and said, “Hey! Who are you?!” Before I could answer, her daughter Ann says, “Nice Mom! Way to welcome the New Girl!” and then everyone in the room cracked up. We were all fast friends after that ice breaker. The Monday Night Group was my weekly Sanity Break for the next couple of years. Those girls were a riot! We saw each other through many seasons of life as we knit the fiber of our emotions into fabric.

Of the many friends that I miss since moving Up North, the Monday Night Group is near the top. The Group doesn’t meet anymore. We’ve lost many of the regulars to cross-country moves, changes in life, busier schedules, and one to cancer. But there are a few of us that still keep in touch, and for that I am glad.

I was thrilled when Kathleen offered to stop by my place on her way back downstate from the Upper Peninsula to Metro Detroit. Stop by is a relative term, because the trip really added an additional two hours to her overall travel time! ;)

Last year, Kathleen lost her husband Tom in an accident. Her attitude is now “See ‘em while you’re both still here!” so the extra travel time was not an issue for her.  I hadn’t seen Kathleen since right after Son #3 was born, and she’d never met any of my boys. Needless to say, we were all thrilled to see her! As an added bonus, she arrived in just in time for dinner! So we ate…and maybe had a little dessert. Then we talked, hugged boys, talked some more, and patiently watched the impromptu Show & Tell that happened next.

When it became time for the younger boys to go to bed, it was Kathleen’s lap that they flocked to with stories in hand.

Once the boys were tucked into bed, Kathleen and I made a mad-dash to a favorite spot on the peninsula to watch the sunset over the Bay. She and Tom liked to watch the sunset, and started taking pictures of their sunsets together. I swear that some of her sunset photos would win first prize in any photography competition around–they’re truly breathtaking! Now that Tom is gone, the sunset is a comforting reminder of him.

After the sunset, we stopped to pick up the obligatory Traverse City Cherries at one of the many roadside fruit stands perched in front of the farms along the road. Kathleen was just tickled that we were able to pay for the cherries on the Honor System…at 9:30 at night. I told her that’s just how we roll Up North! ;)

Once we got home, we gorged ourselves on cherries, and talked until we were ready to pass out asleep. You just kind beat that kind of time with friends!

I’m so glad that Kathleen took an out-of-the-way route home so that she could stop by to see us. Her visit is a nice reminder that even though the timing in life may never be perfect, Relationships matter, so you should always make the time to enjoy them.

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