when you're growing up, if you have the good fortune of an innocent childhood, one is usually naive to the struggles of this world. all of existence is cereal bowls. and cartoons. and chocolate milk. and forts. and climbing trees. and hide-and-seek. and sitting on someones lap with a story book. and songs at bedtime.
as you mature into young adulthood, one becomes vaguely aware of the sincere un-good that surrounds parts of humanity. but, rarely, of course, how it directly effects you::: "bad people are out there. wars happen. hungry children are on commercials. but me...i'm fine. and always will be." it's that invincible mindset of a teenager. nothing can happen to me.
then you become an adult. you're a grown-up. and you no longer have the option to be naive. to turn a blind eye. to believe that you are exempt. because it happens to you. life happens. to your family. your friends. sometimes, in ways you wish it wouldn't.
when i was 7 i met my friends megan, courtney and abbey. they were three sisters with a fourth on the way. our families became fabulous friends. and the vast majority of my childhood and adolescent memories include the adventures we had together. in the end, we were all sisters. family. not because we had to be. but because we wanted to be.
together, we've endured all of life's major occurrences. deaths. births. weddings. graduations. new boyfriends. new houses. new pets. new jobs. college classes. you name it--it's happened-- and we're better because of it.
when megan met nick in highschool, subsequently got married, and then had 4 fabulously adorable boys-- i never imagined i'd be standing alongside them on the path they're on now. several weeks ago, nick joined the army. i spent the evening with megan and the boys yesterday, and it was almost surreal as we sat there, sans nick, and planned the trip down to missouri for his boot camp graduation. i had to sit back for a moment and take it all in. examine it. wasn't it just yesterday that we all sat at this very table. in this very house. playing euchre and eating pizza after the highschool winter dance? now, with four sleeping fireballs in the next room, we're face-to-face with the harrowing reality that nick could be deployed. sent to afghanistan. what a concept to wrap your mind around.
this is what it means to be a grown-up. to make your way in this world. there are new decisions. new roles. new responsibilities. new worries. a new view. it's a new perspective that forces you to realize how easy it is to loose your innocence.
but then there are moments. like last night. when you're eating jalapeno kettle chips. and watching anderson cooper. and laughing till you're crying. that you're still the same two young girls you were 10 years ago. and you're so so happy that, no matter what you have to endure, you get to endure it together.