There are two things I love in life and therefore, pour a lot of my energy into: traditions and friends. I believe traditions allow for beautiful memories to be made for us and for our kids. And most of my closest friends I have, I have had for at least 15 years. However, there is one friend that I have had since the very first day of kindergarten at Annapolis Area Christian School making this our 29th anniversary of being friends. Her name is Stephanie and she currently lives in Augusta, Georgia with her sweet husband, Billy and two beautiful daughters, Caroline (4.5 y.o.) and Katherine (2.5 y.o.). Our years of being best friends that lived in the same state were cut way too short when her family moved to the Atlanta area the summer after our sixth grade year. When you hear that quote "You look like you just lost your best friend", that was literally me the day she moved. However, God has faithfully sustained our friendship to this day, and every summer our families have the tradition of meeting in Carolina Beach, NC for a week's vacation. Our vacation with them was planned for this week and we should actually be there with them right now.
Within our tradition of spending a week together in NC every summer, we have other traditions that have become part of our time together. The husbands always spend the first night of our trip doing the grocery shopping which proves to be very drawn out and comical. (We have two of the most tight-fisted husbands when it comes to money!) We also take the kids and ourselves out for ice cream at least one night to our beloved Squiggly's. We visit an authentic Carolina BBQ spot called Jackson's for their hush puppies, pork plate and sweet tea. And of course, I would be remiss in failing to mention our newest tradition of getting breakfast from the famous Britt's donuts. (If I close my eyes, I can almost taste them melting in my mouth!) I remember one of the most disappointing realizations that came with my diagnosis was that we would not be able to go on our long-awaited vacation with our dear friends and these traditions would be left unfulfilled for this year. Just as it true with every aspect of this experience, this time we spend with our friends and the traditions we have come to love mean all the more. And we anxiously await next year's trip when I am hopefully well enough to travel and enjoy all these things again.