Beatrice "Bea" "Beatty Ann" and I are first cousins. Her dad and my dad were brothers. I am from July to October older than she is. I have such great memories as a child, living in Chicago and spending a lot of time with Bea and the family. We were always at each others houses on weekends. We went to church together and hung out whenever we could. I remember us both working in a little shrimp house that was under her home in this big building. We deveined shrimp and our pay was Jays potato chips and a bottle of pop. I will not eat shrimp to this day because of that experience. We were kids, not even old enough to work, but we looked at it as a little adventure. We loved to play house. Her brother, Jamie would be the dad, I would be the mom and Bea was our child. We would sit in their dads car and she would be in the back seat. We would pretend we were going on a road trip and every now and then we would yell at Bea to be quiet or good. We didn't need fancy toys, video games or t.v. to entertain us. We used our imaginations. I remember spending the night with her one night and it was a hot summer night. We had a fan in the bedroom window. When we both woke up, our tongues were black. These are just a few of the memories I have.
Through the years we moved away from Chicago and we didn't get to see one another as much. We tried to keep in touch as much as we could and tried to attend special events together. Time passed and we both got married, then kids and now grand kids.
We had such good intentions and wanted to celebrate our Big 50 birthdays together in the big city, where we grew up, but life happens and we never got around to it. Maybe we can do this on our Big 60.
February 11, 2011 she came to my dad's 80th Birthday party. She brought her beautiful grown daughters, Nikki & Angel. We picked up right where we left off. We laughed, we celebrated. My dad was thrilled to see his precious Bea. He adored her. He was her special uncle Art. That evening after the party when everyone went home, we continued the party by her and my sister texting one another and we were on face book chat as well. We had the biggest laughs. It was like we were at a texting slumber party. No one was sleepy and we were just giddy.
And who would have known that just hours after that, my dad would suffer the stroke.
In the next few days, Bea & her daughters were our rocks. We leaned on them and felt the love and support family should feel from other family members.
When my dad was in intensive care, in the coma, I was praying for God to send the Angels to camp around him and I look up from praying and in walks Bea, in this beautiful snow white coat and her daughter, Angel. God knew I needed them and they were there. I have so many stories during these final days of my dads life but this was one that stood out the most.
After a few weeks passed, we decided to meet for lunch on Fridays.
We formed "The Lunch Club". It consists of myself, Bea & her daughters. And I can't leave out a special member of the family, Jenn, who works at the place we meet at.
This re-connection is just what our family needed. I feel so blessed to have these beautiful people in my life. They lift me up. It's like Bea and I are picking up where we left off when we were little girls back in Chicago. I think of her as my little Sis. It doesn't matter how much time passes....when your soul is connected...you always find a way back to re-connect.
And to this, I am truly thankful!