Last week, we spent some much needed time catching up with my cousin, Stephanie. Stephanie and I grew up 406 miles apart. (I just mapquested the distance between my parents house and hers). Although we lived over 400 miles apart and there were a few years difference in our ages, you'd never find two closer cousins/friends/sisters... she's all that to me.
She got married in September, and moved to Houston.
Me(Belle in my belly) & Stephanie on her wedding day in September 2008
We haven't seen her since the wedding. Of course we've talked on the phone, sent cards and emails, but that is no where near the same as being under the same roof!
Honestly, we never really thought we'd get to spend this much time alone together again.
After DW and I were married, Steph would come and stay at our house and would try to talk Devin into letting me sleep in the guest room with her. He, of course, wouldn't hear of it. She'd argue that he got me ALL year, and couldn't he just be okay with me sleeping in the guest room for just one or two nights? "She's my WIFE!!!", he'd reply... only to be rebuttaled by, "She's MY cousin!"... I don't think Devin really got it back then. See, growing up, Steph never brought friends to Florida and I never took friends with me to Georgia. It was kind of an unspoken pact we had. We both knew that it just wasn't a good idea to subject our friends to us when we got together. They'd just end up feeling left out... So imagine Steph's resistance to the change that came to her Florida visits after I was married. Thankfully, it wasn't long, and she and DW, too, formed a bond. He loves her almost as much as I do. She's quite fond of him, too. We've seen a lot together. Good times and bad and we've made lots of memories together...
The week was so wonderful. We walked in the mornings, had a couple lunch dates (including one with Carrie & Allie Claire), played with Annabelle, cooked dinner, ate on our front porch, visited our Granny, stopped in on my mom at work, stopped in on Devin at work, shopped, cleaned, stayed up late, slept in (as much as Belle would allow)... and watched "Praise Baby Born to Worship" 26 times. We also brushed up on our duet singing...our cruise crew better hope they don't have karaoke on that ship come July, cause if they do, we might just have to show off our mad singing and interpretive dance skills. "Tettie" and Belle had lots of bonding time this week, too!
We dropped Stephanie off at the airport on Saturday afternoon armed with a mask as a defense to the possible swine flu that may be lurking in the airport or on the plane. She didn't actually wear it in the airport, but we told her if she heard someone coughing on the plane to get that thing on! We also made sure she was armed with antibacterial hand sanitizer. Her momma, (my aunt) would have been proud!
As we drove away, I felt 12 again, and cried just like I did back then when we'd head home from Georgia or when they'd all head home from Florida. I never understood why we couldn't all live next to each other. Guess I never will.
Steph, thanks for spending the week with us! Thanks for helping me around the house and playing "hostess with the mostess" at dinner on Friday night! We loved having you here and we all three miss you!
I love you like no one else!
Stephanie's not the only person we're missing, either...
We're missing my Dad ("Pop" to Annabelle), who is in Africa on a work trip for 3 weeks. Dad, if you read this while you're there, we miss you and can't wait for you to be home! We love you!!!