This Thanksgiving was busy (as all Holidays are these days), but it was great fun and quite different from previous years. We started out Thanksgiving going to Gramy and Papa’s house (Dan’s parents) on Thanksgiving day. There were no less than 22 people there! Among the group were Dan’s grandparents from Texas, along with Dan’s aunt and her family, and Gary and Jenn Gill (cousins) came from Boston. It was wonderful being able to spend time with family who we don’t get to see often. Dan’s mom did an amazing job planning out the day. She made it enjoyable and relaxing for everyone there (unfortunately, I don’t think she was too relaxed until it was all over).
The next day we packed up the car and headed to Athens to Cecilia and Matt’s house for Thanksgiving Day 2. Not only was it Cecilia and Matt’s first Thanksgiving as a married couple, but to make it even more special, Matt’s parents had come down from Boston to also share the holiday. The day was fun, and the feast was unbelievable as we all ate our share of Northern and Southern dishes.
Coming together was the best part of these two days. It didn’t matter where we came from, we all sat down as a family and celebrated the time together. I felt so blessed looking around and knowing the love and support that surrounds Brittain.
Amanda and I love to tell the story of when we first met. I was in the 7th grade attending Taylor Street Middle School and I heard that we were getting a new Minister of Music at our church. I also heard that he had two daughters, one that was my age. Before I even met her, I just had a feeling that we were going to be the best of friends. She arrived at the school one day and I found out that we were going to have Chorus together. I heard the chatter throughout the school, “She looks just like Kelly McGillis” (at least what Kelly McGillis looked like then). Hmmm…maybe I won’t like her.
Despite her obvious beauty, I was still very anxious about meeting her. So, I went to Chorus class and there she was. I approached her. “Hi. I’m Valerie. I attend the church where your dad is going to be the minister of music. Amanda Brenson, is it?” Her response? “It’s Benson.” And she walked away.
Truthfully, I don’t remember what happened after that, but all I know is that we became friends and we’ve been inseparable ever since. And now, even though she lives in Macon and we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like, she’s still that person that I can pick up the phone and call when I need someone to listen. She’s a friend that anyone would want, and I’m so lucky to have her.
Things have certainly changed since that 7th grade year at Taylor Street. We’re grown up. We have real responsibilities, and most importantly, we have children. We finally had the chance to get together the other day. Amanda’s daughter, Kyla Rose just recently turned 2 years old. Up until now, Brittain has been too young to have a real “play date,” but she’s finally to the age where playing with another child is fun. Watching the two of them together made me laugh. Even though Amanda and I didn’t know each other when we were that young, I still felt like I was looking at a little Valerie and a little Amanda. They were precious, and they had a great time. It was a good day. A really good day.
A picture of Amanda and me…from a VERY long time ago. See a resemblance?: