Living

Well, it’s July again, so I apologize for the rambling philosophical nature of this post in advance.

Lately, as I approach my 30th birthday, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Cristina (if you don’t know that story, you can read it here).  It’s been over 20 years, but that childhood friendship still lingers.  I wonder what my life (and hers) would have been like if she’d still been around.  We were a lot like sisters in many ways – we fought, we played, and we planned.  After she died, I had a girl I considered a best friend for a few years until we drifted apart, and then I became best friends with the person who was my Maid of Honor and is also an extra sister to me.

And then my thoughts stray to Dru…who will be that friend (or friends) for him as he grows.  We’ve moved him around a ton since he was born.  He had a buddy at his first daycare in Illinois that he loved, but now can’t remember.  When we were in Michigan, it was mostly older cousins…and now, with him having been in a few different places since arriving in North Carolina, he still doesn’t have that bond.  He starts Kindergarten next month, so I’m hopeful that he’ll find that person that he can plan with and be stupid with and develop secret nicknames with.  And he’s a social kid, so I believe he will, but that friendship is going to be different from the ones that we had as kids.

The world is so different, and sometimes I wonder if our children will thank us for putting so much of their lives out there (or for that matter, the kids who do it to themselves now, do they/can they really grasp what the internet is going to mean for their futures?)  When we were kids, the joke was always to avoid Daddy and a couple of other people if you didn’t want your picture taken doing something, because they were the ones who had cameras at family events…but now, where’s the escape for the stupidity of childhood that (THANK GOD) wasn’t documented by the minute when we were kids?  God knows there are no pictures of how my leg looked when I decided to show my Grandma that I knew better than her (I was 11 after all) and could walk on the loose board laid across the framework of the decking, even though I was dripping water out of the pool.  My right leg looked horrifying after slipping in between two of the framing boards and scraping down one side.  But there are no pictures of that embarrassing incident.  Now, my friends would have taken them and they’d be on Facebook, or instagram, or there’d be a video on YouTube…forever cementing that moment for visual reference.

But are we actually gaining anything this way?  I have very few photos and video of my time with Cristina, but the memories are there.  I have memories with other friends of things that we would never dare now, knowing it would end up on the internet for all to see.  I know I’m as guilty as most other parents out there, but still I wonder…

That’s probably why lately I’ve been less likely to post pictures and whatnot online of Dru…I’ve been trying to stay busy making memories instead of photo ops.

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Remembering – warning, sad

Well, it’s that time of year again.  The end of July.  With it I begin to remember what my family calls the “8 weeks from hell”.  1993 sucked, btw.

That summer, I was 8, turning 9, and my best friend, Cristina, was getting to do something I was convinced I would never be able to do.  She was going to Portugal (with her Dad, who was from there) and going to have the time of her life.  Instead, she was sucked down a pipe at the waterpark she went to, and the park made it look like a kidnapping.

She went missing (died) on July 29, 1993.  They found her body – along with the body of another little boy who had disappeared a couple of days prior, in the drainage systems of the park.

I don’t remember much about the event really, just Mom and Dad coming in to the living room to tell me what had happened.  I knew it was serious, because they sat in front of me – ON THE COFFEE TABLE – and turned off the TV.

 

Needless to say, I get a bit morbid this time of year.  We lost touch with her family soon after.  Mom said that Mrs. Caldas couldn’t bear it, since we were so close, and had grown up together since we were infants.

It was the early 90’s, so I have this hideous outfit (it was the best thing ever at the time) that we both had a version of, and I still have it.  It’s a one piece, black spandex shorts with lace bottoms, skirty thing, button up front and puffy cap sleeves.  In panels.  Yes, the skirt was in 4 panels, the bodice in 4 panels and the sleeves as well.  The two patterns they used checkerboarded the thing.  Seriously, it’s atrocious.  But I will never get rid of it, because other than a few pictures and some fading memories, it’s all I have of her.

As most young girls, we had a crazy friendship.  We annoyed each other to no end (and I’m sure it was worse for our parents) but she was my best friend.

When July rolls around, with the anniversary of her death and my birthday in another month, I tend to start thinking what would have happened if she hadn’t died.  Would we still be friends?  What would she be doing with her life?

I miss you Cristina, rest in peace.