I entered the room full of smiling, but unfamiliar, faces, trying to set a brave, confident example for my three kids.
But inside I felt shy, like I was a kid on the first day of school, afraid no one would like me. I smiled and said, hi, hi, hi, and they smiled back, but most of the people there at the church picnic were much older than me. I was looking for someone to hang with, someone I could connect to that would ease the loneliness I felt after moving miles away from what had been home for over thirty years.
She found me first. She had a daughter TG's age, and a son two years younger. We talked. We clicked. TG and her daughter clicked.
Isn't it funny how there are some people who just fit with you, like they were a part of you that was missing? And they turn up so unexpectedly, just when you need them the most.
That's the way it was when I met Nancy. Even though she was younger than me, we just connected. It was a bonus that the girls connected, too.
We spent afternoons walking in circles around the playscape next to the lake, talking while keeping an eye on the kids. We went swimming in the lake and the pool, and camping in Big Bend (where the above photo of our girls was taken - they hiked for miles and miles with backpacks full of water and snacks - such little troopers.)
After I satisfied all of my lingering questions and doubts about joining the Catholic Church, I asked Nancy to sponsor me in my Confirmation. Not surprisingly, and unknowingly, I chose the same saint name she had: Teresa.
After just a couple of years, Nancy and her kids had to move away from Lago Vista. They are only a few hours away, but we don't get to see each other as much anymore. We have to make a determined effort... but isn't that true in any relationship?
We see each other every year in Port Aransas - Nancy will always be considered a Lago girl - but we've been trying to get together more often than that.
Last summer we spent a weekend in Gruene, Texas, in honor of the girls' sixteenth birthdays (that was our excuse, anyway!) We stayed in the Gruene Mansion, walked through all of the shops, tubed the Guadalupe, listened to music at the Gruene Hall, and enjoyed a little wine on the mansion veranda.
This year a day was all we could manage, so we met in San Marcos at the outlet malls - shopping, eating, a glass of wine, and of course, lots of talking.
It will have to do until we hit the beach in Port A in a few months...