When my daughter was still a baby, I bought a crappy computer from a friend and started exploring the internet for the first time, save for some limited research I had done back in high school. As a new mom, I wanted to connect with other moms online and stumbled upon an online group called Oregon Mommies. I couldn't honestly tell you the names of any of the women in that group except for one. I don't remember what started our first few conversations or even what prompted us to go from message board posting buddies to legitimate friends. But at some point, Caroline & I stopped just commenting back and forth on the Oregon Mommies boards and began emailing. That was roughly 8 years ago.
In 8 years, our lives have moved and changed a hundred times and through all those transitions, we've remained friends. Whether through email, social networking, or the rare phone conversation/text message, we have managed to stay in touch. Our children have grown up together yet apart and we've shared triumphs and tragedies as all friends do. But until today, we had never met face-to-face.
This morning, I woke up a full hour before my alarm was set to go off. My mind was bustling w/ things I needed to get done and questions for what to expect. After all, in just a few hours, I would be picnicking with one of my closest friends, but someone whom I had never seen in the flesh.
The drive to Crater Lake was beautiful and smooth. Oregon has the most breathtaking scenery any person could be fortunate enough to lay eyes on! As we got closer to our destination, rain started coming down and fog was rolling in. Combined with the feet of snow along the side of the road, our visibility was extremely impaired. But we made it safely to Rim Village, our designated meeting point, and wandered around the visitor's center, lodge, and gift shop briefly. During our little exploratory adventure, I kept my eyes peeled for my friend & her family. As our chosen meeting time came & went, I worried we had missed each other somehow. We wandered a little bit as I creeped out everyone who was unfortunate enough to be driving the same color & model car as Caroline. Finally, we crossed paths & opted for an indoor picnic in a room above the gift shop b/c the rain, snow, and fog had completely destroyed our original plans of hanging out at Sinnot Memorial Overlook. (The rain also did a number on my hair, which had been painstakingly straightened prior to leaving the house.)
Just like that, we were hugging & talking & eating lunch. Though I'm sure it wasn't terribly thrilling for our husbands, Caroline & I spent a wonderful afternoon chatting up a storm as our children ran & played around the table where we were sitting. The room we were in would have normally provided us with an incredible view of the lake, but thanks to the thick fog, we were lucky to make out the tops of trees just outside the window. After a couple hours or so, we snapped a few final pictures, hugged, and parted ways. The drive home was calm and beautiful. I kept feeling as though I should have been more disappointed that so many things had gone wrong. First, the rain ruined my hair. Then I thought we had missed each other. And the greatest of all these mishaps was the fact that we drove an hour and a half to Crater Lake and never actually saw it. But I didn't drive home feeling unsatisfied at the outcome of our trip in the slightest. Today was a perfectly imperfect day.