is that the Pennsylvania Station?
It was a cold, windy day at Gettysburg Field. We climbed this watch tower to look over the battlefield and spent the rest of the day laughing about how out of shape we are. Nothing like climbing 3 flights of stairs to show your friend the real you. =)
Everyone I see asks me, "So, how was your trip?" And I smile, and I sigh, and I say, "It was absolutely wonderful." It really was. It was also surreal, sad, fulfilling, validating, fun, educational, and beyond expectation. It was not your typical meet and greet, that's for sure.
On the plane I should have been all giddy anticipation, but really I was a tight ball of nerves. I couldn't help but wonder, "Will Tiffany like me after all these years? Will we really have anything in common, will our personalities clash?" Carrying my extremely heavy carry-on through the airport I heard a little squeal before I even saw her. Before she can even reach me I scream, "You are my size!" (After the onslaught of puberty it was obvious that Tiffany and I would no longer be exact twins because she was much teenier than me. But apparently sometime in her 20s she grew an extra 2 inches and suddenly we are close to the same height. What happened to my "Little Tiffany?") Then I pick her up in a tight hug and we jump around like school girls while her husband makes it obvious that he thinks we are crazy. And we are. Crazy in love with each other, even after all these years.
I had to apologize to Tiffany because I was finally willing to admit why we had fallen so far apart from each other. It had nothing to do with her and everything to do with my insane jealousy and insecurities. You see, when I was 15-16 my older, very pretty, sister went to live with Tiffany's family for a year. I had issues with this sister... lots of issues, and I don't think she even knew I had issues with her. It was the typical ugly sister/pretty sister psycho-mess. I felt that she took everything away from me as a kid, but really she didn't. I just never spoke up for myself and she was kind of the squeaky wheel. So I wove this bizarre internal reality in my head where people could either be on my side or her side. Well then my dad got sick with cancer so my sister came back home and then Tiffany came to visit for Thanksgiving (My father's last Thanksgiving) and, can you believe it, she was nice to my sister. NICE I tell you!!! So in my twisted head (which was in terrible shape going through puberty and the slow loss of my father) she had jumped ship and swam over to the dark side. How dare she. How dare she have an inside joke with my sister after living together for a whole year. HOW DARE SHE! I was polite but suspicious of her the rest of that visit. Bless her heart, she had no idea and just assumed I was being quiet out of sadness for my father. And then for years I just assumed she was one of "those" kind of girls. You know... "pretty."
But she wasn't, and she isn't. Oh, don't get me wrong, she is indeed pretty. In fact she is cute, hot, gorgeous, and skinny all rolled into one. I could hate her just for the fact that she's had 4 kids and no stretch marks alone. But I can't. And you couldn't either if you met her. She is just too real, too humble, too loving to ever make you think of her as a "pretty." By the way, I love my sister and am so over the whole my side her side thing... really I am. =)
And so we talked. We talked and talked and talked and filled each other in on all the missing and unknown pieces of our lives. And I was shocked. Shocked because I had always just assumed that we led parallel lives, that we had the same upbringing, that I knew everything about her childhood. But I didn't. We went through many similar things in life but if you take my life's troubles and magnify them by 1000 then you have Tiffany's life. And I never knew. This is another thing I love so much about my "little Tiffany." She was always a small child, she was always kind of quiet, and she had an adorable shy little laugh, more of a giggle really. And she grew into a gorgeous, confident, sassy woman, and a caring mother, who only shows the slightest signs of the trials she has had in life. And she can cook! Her kids thought I was joking when I said I would eat her Gumbo for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Well, I proved them wrong. And she is a fantastic artist and photographer. In fact, if you take all my talents and magnify them by 1000 then you have Tiffany. I'm serious.
I fell in love with her kids who are perfect doppelgangers for my kids. She is only missing a Cheeks and I'm missing a cute little dog or we would be perfectly matched. And I even got along with her husband, surprise, surprise. (Adam, you know I love you.)(On the Gettysburg look out tower: Lillian (a female Pablo), Tori (a tiny version of Cookie), little Sabrina who can almost out perform Sweet Terror, and Dillon who can melt a heart as fast as Monster Man and get in trouble just as fast too. I MISS YOU GUYS!!!)
There was never any awkwardness between us, and we kept saying there should be some, but there wasn't. We were perfectly content to be ourselves around each other and just love each other for who we are. See? I even let her see my MORNING FACE. GAAAAAAAAA!
(Here Tiffany and I are enjoying our very last day together by lazily staying in her super niiiiice bed all day. Ok, so really I stayed in bed and made Tiffany go through all her boxes showing me all her memory keepsakes. But ya gotta love a girl who doesn't mind hanging out in her jammies all day.)
The only down side to the whole trip was saying goodbye. I didn't expect it to be so hard. I clung to her like a little girl saying goodbye to her 6 year old best friend all over again. I sobbed like a little girl, too. Friends like us should never ever have to be apart, it just doesn't seem fair. I love you Tiffany, with all my heart. Please come see me soon.