For my first edition of Friendship Friday I have decided to share my friend Christine. She is one of the closest and dearest friends that I have and she lives what seems like a million miles away in Montana.
I first met Christine when we were both checking out Rocky Mountain College in Billings, MT. We were scared little 17 year olds getting ready to choose our first step to being a real grown up. COLLEGE??????? So we both arrived at what was called Taste of Rocky and hit it off instantly. It was as if we had grown up together. We sat up talking for hours and hours and had so much in common. Well months later when school starts we both end up living in the same dorm and I lived next door to her best friend from childhood. That alone is an entire other story. In the first year at Rocky we had a lot of adventures. Christine learned about how competition and jealousy can kill a friendship and I found Justin. Christine was already dating Brian, and they were already sure they would be married eventually. In December Justin enters the pictures and we have been forever a crazy foursome of friends. Brian is also a story all of his own. Not very many of my friends husbands will I have as long as conversation with as the friend I was trying to reach. Brian in an amazing guy and takes such good care of Christine and his family.
I'll fast forward this story and highlight some of the adventures we have had together. Our friendship has lasted through Christine and her tour of Montana colleges. I believe it took her 3 different schools to finally finish. We were both bridesmaids in each others weddings. With the wedding enters an entire additional family for Justin and I. Christine and Brian's families both take us in like we have always belonged. We were invited to all the big events including Christmas mass and the beloved Amestoy family Christmas Eve gift exchange and had gifts under the tree. We also spend many a 4th of July with the family and I think that might rival Christmas for importance with this family. It is a special special day of eating, drinking and friendship. I still lived in Billings when Christine and Brian's oldest son was born. He turns 9 in Feb. It is hard to believe that I have been away for that long. I am pretty sure it was a routine Dairy Queen blizzard run and American Pie that made Christine go into labor. I guess laughing until your side hurts will do that. Christine and Brian were the first of any of my friends to have a baby and wow were we all instantly in love with Austin. On more than one evening I called to see if I could come rock MY baby. That is when I learned about the stress reducing factors of cuddling a sleeping infant.
Well since we have left Billings Christine and Brian have had 3 additional children and Justin and I have had our two boys. We have made several trips each over those mountains for special occasions. The first Thanksgiving after Rex was born Christine and Brian made the trip over to be Rex's Godparents and attend the baptism. We made a similar trip a few summers back for the big 4th of July celebration and to be Mckalya's Godparents.
I think one of the moments that sticks out in my mind as showing what a wonderful friend Christine is was when we learned that Riley would have Down syndrome. When my blood work came back abnormal and Justin and I decided to have the amniocentesis it was a very crazy time in my life. I new NOTHING about Down syndrome and honestly hadn't planned to change that fact. To say I was totally and complete freaked out was an understatement. Over the years I have joked that Christine has ESP and always knows when I need her to call the most well she sure did use her ESP this time. Justin and I had told some of our closest friends here and family of course but had choose not to broadcast it across the land until we had been able to have the amnio and knew for sure what we were really dealing with. I had decided for some unknown reason not to call Christine. I think I new that I wouldn't be able to hold it together and really all she would get was to listen to me sobbing in the phone. Well almost three weeks go by and I was waiting impatiently for Justin to come home so we can go to our appointment with the genetic counselor. We had gotten the confirmation the evening before but had an appointment that morning to get the rest of the story. As I was pacing around the house trying to pretend I wasn't a wreck the phone rings and it is Christine. When she asks how everything is going and I shoot back with "are you sitting down?" As we talk and I share all of the information that I had been holding in over the last few weeks she is so wonderful. She doesn't stay all the stupid stuff about how she is sorry or that God doesn't give you more than you can handle. She simply says "Mary its going to be alright, we'll do this together". So what does she do. She goes out and buys the same book that the genetic counselor gave us she will know what I'm talking about it. She asks all kinds of questions in such a loving way. She never trys to solve it just listens and experiences it with me. She does call and hound me for pictures often but that is because it took forever to get them. She listens to all the details as I blab on and on about all the exciting things that Riley is doing and always marvels at them with me. She has never once asked me "what tricks can Riley do now". For those of you who know me well you will understand how much this means to mean. I love to show off Riley's accomplishments but please be patient I promise I'll share all the exciting things he is up to. Christine also call to tell me about what her kiddos are up to and brags about them. It hasn't become a friendship about Riley. She often asks about Rex and the entire family. She has knows from day one that while Riley is special both my boys are my world as all 4 of her kiddos are hers. She even still loves me after I told her how crazy she was for having so many. Though I can't imagine the world with out the four beautiful kiddos I also don't envy her life of 4 kids to clean up after or organize or get to soccer practise. I have enough of my own issues with the two I chance around. I think that is the beauty of our friendship. We are both very different people but we compliment each other well. I love you Christine!
The whole clan came to visit us in Spokane and we spent a fun day at Manito Park.
Getting this many kiddos to sit still is not an easy task.
Riley and I visited for a "work" trip. Christine watch Riley so I could go to work and then I added a day or two extra on to the trip. Love it!!