I had the pleasure of visiting yesterday with a former colleague and good friend who moved out of state a couple of years ago. This is the second time I've seen her since she moved away. The first was shortly after I had gastric-bypass surgery. In our discussions before she flew in, she worried repeatedly that she wouldn't recognize me. I brushed off her concerns, because she has kept updated on my progress through this blog, and as one of my close friends, I know she'd never not know me.
But that didn't change how emotional our meeting was yesterday, or how exciting it was to see her and her daughters. I nannied for her family when I first moved to Tracy. When I met her and her family, the girls were 8 and 6 and her son was 2. Now the girls are are a beautiful 12-year-old and 14-year-old. At 5 feet, 8 inches, they tower over me. Her 8-year-old son stayed home with his dad so I didn't get to see him.
The girls were more outwardly amazed by my transformation than their mother. That's understandable. I e-mail with their mom numerous times each week. She reads my blog. I haven't had much contact with the girls since they left. And just as I remember them perpetually as the children in the grade-school pictures of them I have framed on my desk at the office, I'm sure they always remember me as the larger-than-life babysitter who tipped the scales at more than 300 pounds.
I hugged the girls half a dozen times each, shocked by their transformation in young women almost as much as they were shocked by mine. The oldest kept throwing her arms around me and exclaiming about how small I was. The 12-year-old told me how good I looked but not before saying, "You always looked good. You just look good in a different way now." Both girls approved of my new red hair color; I suppose that makes me hip. We spent some time catching up before they ran off to an A's game with their grandparents (Tampa Bay defeated the A's, 4-1), and then their mother and I went out for dinner and conversation.
Dinner took us to Pasta Pelican in Alameda. My friend enjoyed a delicious combination of chicken and sun-dried tomatoes in a light cream sauce over linguini. I had the Pasta Pelicano -- a succulent grilled chicken breast topped with melted mozzarella, tomatoes and artichoke hearts that I had served over steamed zucchini, carrots, broccoli and mushrooms.
After dinner, we headed upstairs to the restaurant's bar for a drink and more conversation. We talked about everything under the sun -- our respective jobs, families, what's happened in Tracy since she moved away more than 2 years ago and where her family planned to move next. After closing down the bar, we headed off to Starbucks for iced tea (me) and coffee (her) before heading back to her mom's home at midnight.
It was a night well spent, one that reminds us of how we became fast friends to begin with back in 2000 when we shared a desk at the Tracy Press. But as is often the case with good friends, it was entirely too short of a visit. She flies back home this evening and goes back to her busy life, as I will with mine. But at least we have last night, and the memories of that to last us until our next meeting.