I was born in Seattle, but spent the ages from 1 through 13 in Tucson AZ. I've now lived in Seattle longer than I ever lived in Tucson, but I still consider Tucson to be home to me. And that's only because my best friend in the whole world lives there. And where ever she lives, I'll consider to be home as well, even if it's completely across the world.
Shelley and I have been best friends since 5th grade. We met in 4th grade, but the first time I saw her, she was wearing some Little Mermaid shoes... and well, the Little Mermaid was cool LAST year, not this year, so obviously I wasn't going to get to know her.
Gotta love the thought process of a 9 year old girl...
Then in 5th grade, we ended up playing doctor doctor together with a couple other girls (which I honestly don't even remember how to play, other than it involved us all holding hands in a circle... and then ending up in giggles...) and after a couple times playing that, Shelley had jumped from not cool Little Mermaid shoe wearing new girl, to super awesome best friend status.
Again, gotta love the brain of a 10 year old...
Shelley and I became inseparable. We spent every.waking.moment together from 5th grade till the day our moving truck pulled out of our driveway the summer before 10th grade.
We experienced a lot of our "firsts" together. The first time we were allowed to cross La Cholla Blvd (the busy street between our houses) without supervision, our first sleep overs, our first time sneaking out, our first time drinking, our first boyfriends, our first fight (over a boy!).... We did it all together.
We knew the fastest route from one house to the other, finding ways to cut through as many yards as possible to avoid being in the 100+ degree Arizona heat as much as possible. Things that would probably have the police called today, we didn't even blink at back then (circa 1997).
We spent countless hours in the Tucson Mall and the Foothills Malls being tweens thinking we were the coolest.
We saw Titanic together the day it hit the movie theaters... and something like 10 times again after that.
Then the time came, and my parents moved us back to Washington as my dad found a better job in Seattle than what could be found in Tucson. That move the summer before my sophomore year was the hardest thing I had ever had to overcome. And it wasn't necessarily moving across the country that made it so hard. It was leaving Shelley.
We talked all the time on the phone. Even after my dad gave me the phone bill and said I had to pay him back $200 because of all the long distance phone charges (remember that!) but it didn't stop us from staying close.
We had dreams of moving in together when we graduated high school. Debating back and forth if she'd move to Seattle, or if I'd move back to Tucson and go the the University of Arizona. We dreamt of what it would be like hitting up all the clubs in our 20s and what our lives would be like when we'd be best friends together again.
But then life happened.
Shelley met someone and had a baby shortly after high school. I met Pete and moved in with him within 6 months of graduation as well.
Our dreams of being single girls on the town together slowly fell to the wayside as life continued while we remained 1527 miles apart.
As we got older, we got busier and we don't get the chance to talk on the phone as much. We found a way to see each other every 2 years or so, but we never had the opportunity to move closer together.
We still live 1527 miles apart (give or take a few). She now has 4 kids and a full and busy life, I have 2 kids a full time business and a husband I don't get to see nearly enough, and life moves forward....
But that doesn't change that magical moment when the few years pass, and we see each other again, and the past 18 years of separation melt away. When we see each other again, it's like we are 14 years old again, and not a day has passed without our influence on each others lives.
It's like a hole that is always there gets filled for a short time. And that hole was filled this year for the 4th of July.
This time Shelley came to visit and brought her daughter Raven. Raven is 10 years old. The same age Shelley and I were when we became inseparable. That same angsty, questionable age where you obviously know everything, and good god your parents are so dumb. It was fun being able to get to reconnect with Shelley, and to see the girl Raven is becoming. And seeing the ipod/fb/instagram/youtube/vine/twitter jumble that parents of a 10 year old in this day in age get to navigate through.
I am so happy they came up to spend the week with us. Raven had never flown on an airplane. Had never spent so much time away from her 3 brothers (girls only trip!!!) and it meant so much to be able to spend the time together.
Now it's me and Shelley the parents, keeping the kids in line while we share looks of WTF over their heads when they do something that is oh so kid. Then sharing that same look when Raven and Kiara (Pete's 12 year old god daughter) click and start connecting. Now understanding what our parents must have been thinking 20 years ago.
We spent a week being tourists in my town, showing Raven what the city life is like, while Shelley and were just as connected and just as close as we were in 1998.
This girl is my soul sister, no matter the distance or time between visits, and now I am counting down the time till we get to connect again.
The photos below are of the week Shelley and Raven spent with us. Hot summer days (crazy hot for us at 90 degrees, while just another day for these two Arizonians), the Fourth of July at Gasworks park, the blur of summer in the eyes of children. The beauty of a place like the Aquarium to new eyes, and a little mini photo session focusing on just mom and daughter. Finishing out their week with memories to hold strong till the next time.