It is Tuesday morning, and I am back from my vacation as of 6:00 last night. It was an absolutely lovely time, I am so grateful I was able to go.
I stayed with my friend Camille and her husband, Dan. They haven't been married very long, just about 5 months, so this was the first opportunity I had to meet him-and what a lovely, lovely man! When we got to their house on Thursday night, he had a simple meal and fresh coffee waiting for us, and I immediately felt his warm and welcoming presence. He is retired, but is anything but your typical retired person. He cooks, for one thing-and not just hamburger helper but these lovely, huge meals with beautiful presentation and high-end restaurant quality. I think he was slightly taken aback by the huge amounts of food I managed to shove down my gullet, but it was that good. Also, what it felt like to me was being nurtured, which is something lacking in my daily life. Food is, for me (and if you know me at all, you know I have all sorts of very traumatic food memories, and I have had a love/hate relationship with food my entire life), such an elemental need that goes far beyond simple fuel, and Dan was an excellent caretaker in that sense. There is nothing so comforting as feather-light biscuits with real butter and homemade jams, or homemade guacamole that tastes fresh and creamy, or halibut and asparagus with homemade Hollondaise sauce. I could wax euphoric about all of this wonderful food for days-but the significance of it for me had, quite simply, to do with the fact that he was taking care of me; what a blessing!
And he is good to my Camille. I won't go into too much detail because it is her story to tell or not tell, but let's just say that she hasn't had it easy-in relationships, in life. A fellow (but now former) single mother, she has had a hard row to hoe, but has managed to put herself through law school and become a kick-ASS family law attorney. Now, she has this great partner who loves and nurtures her the way she has always deserved, and while I don't think she was unhappy before Dan, I can also see very clear signs of contentment from her. This alone would make me love Dan, because Camille is such a freaking amazing woman who deserves someone who so obviously loves her and just wants her to be happy, and that hasn't been the case for her.
While I was there, their home was a refuge for me. I hadn't realized how strung out and on the edge I really was until I had the chance to just stop for a moment and rest. I am not talking about a short rest after strenuous activity, but rest in the far deeper sense of the word. I really, really needed to be able to sleep when and as long as I wanted, to eat good food and drink coffee and have conversation if I wanted it, but it wasn't a necessity. I read books and "helped" Dan make a pie while Camille was occupied with her son, and we went shopping and they had mutual friends over for dinner to celebrate my birthday on Saturday night, but there was nothing required of me. Camille is gifted with the ability to see me as I am and loving me anyway, so there was no need to worry about fitting in or feeling self-conscious or trying to pretend to be anyone I am not; that is truly a gift.
There will be more post-vacation posts, of course, because Seattle? Blog fodder for WEEKS. but for now, it is enough to be home and be happy to be home, and to feel so blessed in these people I can call my friends.