When I was waiting for my plane to fly home from Boston, I started a post that I never published. I didn’t completely finish it, because talking about my visit started to make me depressed that I was headed away from New England again. I just finished it, and it’s a bit of a flashback to my trip. Before I post it, though, here’s a little background: I have known Andy since 8th grade, and we have kept in touch all these years. Sometimes “in touch” meant a Christmas card, but for many years we wrote to each other regularly. When I started the divorce process a couple of years ago, we started chatting regularly. He understands the whole awful process, because he went through it a few years ago, and he has been incredibly supportive. There is probably no better way to say it: he is my best friend.

Here’s the flashback …

I am currently sitting in Logan airport in Boston, Massachusetts, after one of the best Christmas breaks I have ever had.  We arrived in Boston on the 22nd, and drove to Maine that afternoon. After spending a nice evening with my grandmother, we continued on to “the farm”, the house my folks own that has been in the family since the 1850s or so. We spent a week visiting with my parents, grandparents, sister, and brother-in-law, along with their dogs.  We cooked, ate too much, and generally enjoyed spending time together. It was great, but time went by very quickly, as it usually does when we’re in New England.

The day before we were supposed to head back to Gram’s, we had a true nor’easter: twelve inches of wet snow, perfect for making snowmen! I helped with some of the shoveling, and then the boys and I made a snowman. I really should say that I made the snowman, and Caleb helped. Aaron worked on a snow fort instead.  The snow was gorgeous, especially when it dripped from the evergreens like mounds of creamy frosting. The storm lasted about 24 hours, so we were a bit concerned that the Boston flight might be cancelled, as so many had been the day before. No problems seemed to be ahead of us before we left Gram’s on Wednesday.

The morning of the 29th, the boys and I drove to Boston, where we met Andy and Ian for the afternoon. We had a nice lunch together and then wandered around downtown. We checked out a couple of very old cemeteries, although the boys mostly threw snow at each other. Ian is 6, Aaron is 14, and Caleb is 16, but they have a great time together even though there is a big age difference. Ian is such a sweetie! All three of us adore him!

The original plan for the boys and me was that we would get back to Wisconsin on Wednesday evening, and the boys would be picked up by their father the following morning. Thanks to last minute inspiration, a frequent flier ticket, and Andy’s hospitality, I decided not to fly back to Wisconsin with the boys (they are old enough to fly alone). Instead, I met Andy after putting the boys on the plane, and rode with him to his house in Vermont.  I spent a few days visiting him in one of the most beautiful areas I have ever seen. He taught me how to skate-style cross-country ski (quite a feat, considering that I had to overcome years of classical skiing), and how to wax skis. So we skied, talked, went to dinner with a couple of Andy’s friends (who, by the way, are also wonderful people), skied some more, talked some more, watched The Matrix, made dinner together, and generally just hung out together. Ok, really Andy made dinner and I made dessert, but it was a team effort. I don’t remember the last time I relaxed so much and felt so good just being. Hanging out with my best friend in a beautiful setting, doing things we both enjoy … it just doesn’t get any better than that! Oh, and we dog-sat too, for a big black furry dog named Mia, who definitely knows how to spot a sucker. While we were watching The Matrix, she alternated between the two of us, putting her head under our hands until we petted her. It was the best vacation I have had in many years.

Sigh… no wonder it was so hard to come back to Wisconsin.

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