Friend #60: Shannon (and Bella and Boston)

After sending Michele and Aaron off on their business trip, I headed from south St. Louis city back to the suburbs to visit with Shannon and her twins, mid-morning on Monday July 18th.  It turns out that Shannon had been at the U2 concert the night before, as well.  Apparently when the workers were setting up at Busch Stadium and putting metal sheeting down on the grass, it was 159 degrees on the field.  Shannon and I talked about the concert and caught up on life while corralling toddler twins Isabella (Bella) and Boston.

I have a lot of memories with Shannon in them.  We went to elementary school together and she and her family later moved into my neighborhood. We also swam on the same swim team in the summers.  When we started, Shannon was too timid to dive into the pool off the starting blocks.  Before too long, she surpassed us all and became an amazing swimmer, competing all the way through high school.

I have a picture from 5th grade of Shannon and a couple other friends and me singing Christmas carols at the front of the local grocery store, Schnucks.  It has been an annual tradition for 20 years in my family to host Christmas caroling around the neighborhood the Monday before Christmas.  For a few years in late elementary school, I would get to have my own Christmas caroling party for my friends. In 5th grade, there were about 5 of us, and it was too cold to actually be outside–spine-tingling, school-canceling cold.  So we caroled at the grocery store.

About 20 years later, when I was home on a visit, I bumped into Shannon in that same grocery store, not too long after she’d given birth to the twins.  Shannon has such a warm and hospitable personality that it was a joy to catch up with her between the band-aids and breath mints.  She currently works as a real estate agent, and I can see her excelling at making people feel comfortable in their homes and in the process of purchasing a house.

During our visit, I got the sense of community that Shannon has all around her.  Some of this comes from her family, with whom she is very close.  When I arrived, she was talking on the phone to her dad.  She works with her mom.  She lives in a neighborhood with parents of kids we went to grade school with.  One of the moms from our old swim team watches the twins.  There was probably a time when I would have scoffed at that kind of life, living back at home, or feared repeating the mishaps of my upbringing.  But I saw the appeal of the stability and the familiarity of that life through Shannon’s perspective.  Her life looks good on her–rambunctious toddler twins and all!

I continue to be reminded of the deep bond I feel toward people I knew in elementary school.  Shannon and I aren’t close friends now.  We almost never interact on Facebook.  But she is so special and dear to me and always will be.  I can’t quite explain it, and I don’t really feel the need to.  But I am grateful for this recent connection and the open door for further interactions.  Besides, I want to see whether the twins grow up to be great swimmers, too.

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