If you've read my header, you might have the impression that life before Jay was miserable. And, in some ways it was. Not always, but certainly the two years before I met him were less than fun.
Life sucked. It was hard and I was constantly lashing out at the kids because I hated our situation. But it wasn't always like that.
After my divorce, while I was still in college, I had the good fortune of meeting someone who would change my life. Hall and I were lab partners in biochem and we became friends. I would not have passed my chemistry classes without him as a study buddy. He was kind enough to come over after I put the kids to bed and help me study. He had a girlfriend and I was busy being stalked, so it truly was completely innocent.
Frankly, I was jealous of his girlfriend, not because I wanted him for myself, but because I'd just gotten out of a not-so-great marriage and was being stalked by a former friend. Mostly, I was jealous because they had their whole lives ahead of them and I was pretty sure, at 26, mine was over. Because I'd been stupid and married so young, and had three kids, I'd never get to be young and carefree like they were.
Hall helped me for a couple of semesters, during which time he and his girlfriend broke up. He was upset, understandably, but seemed to move on. One night, he invited me to his place, with a couple of his friends. We had a good time and shortly thereafter started dating.
I believe that people come into our lives for a reason, and he definitely came into my life for a reason. He taught me how to be young. I'd spent so much of my early adult years being an old, married woman and then an old, single mom that I forgot how to have fun.
More importantly, he introduced me to people who would become my life-long friends. We were together about five years and his friends became my friends, and then became my family. Without Hall, I wouldn't have My Girls.
Our break-up was ugly and I hope no one felt they had to take sides, but I remained friends and stayed in contact with his former roommate, Squid, and the future Mrs. Squid. A couple of years after Hall and I broke up, Hall got married. I can't say as I was okay with it, because my heart was well and truly broken when we broke up. In fact, Robs and I got even closer during our break-up because she was also in the process of having her heart broken, so we spent a lot of time on the phone crying and commiserating (and honestly hoping that Karma would visit them both for hurting us they way they did). Someone once told me that it takes half as long to get over a relationship as the duration of the relationship. Since we were together just over five years, so I anticipated it would take two and a half years to "get over" him. It took closer to three and a half, but I eventually got there.
It was about that time that Squid, our trip planner extraordinaire, invited me to join the group on a trip to Italy. In the time we were together, we did a lot of traveling with their soccer team. Every year, we went to Florida for the 3v3 National Tournament in Disney World and we'd traveled as a group to Europe in 2002.
When Squid called about the upcoming trip I was overwhelmed with joy at being included. He cautioned me that Hall and The Missus had been invited, but by that time, I had gotten over our break-up and figured that with a large group, it would be just fine traveling with them. After all, there was no reason why the whole group had to stay together the whole time we were traveling. In the end, Hall and The Missus decided not to go, so it really was a non-issue.
Recently, I've been getting itchy feet. For someone who didn't want to travel in the first place, I got addicted pretty darn fast. It's been seven years since I've been across the pond. Jay and I have always talked about returning to Italy - together this time - and I started thinking about my last trip with the group, so I checked with Robs, Squid, and Mrs Squid to make sure they wouldn't mind if I blogged about our trip.
They've given me the thumbs up and so I'm going to start a series of posts about our trip. I used to be a cropper, but no longer have the time or inclination to scrapbook; putting the posts up on the blog will be a great way to document it permanently.