I think that Joanne summed it up best when she said “Go.” Seriously, this is the best way to describe what Friends for Life is and what it will mean to you. I’m also going to bullet the why’s because you don’t have the patience to read through my whole week.
- I did a double take when I saw Sara for the first time, and I ran to her. The question from both her & Brian was “How do you pronounce your last name?” It made me laugh because it’s so normal to hear a close friend ask this question, right?
- I saw Meri on the bus “home” from Epcot, and I didn’t want to introduce myself because I thought that might be creepy. This seems silly now that I’ve met her & consider her a friend. If there ever was a person that had the ability to lift you up, it’s Meri. I just hope that we all have the power to do that for her too.
- When I met Christel, I didn’t realize it was actually her. When she yelled “Hi Briley! It’s me!” I was in awe that she was just as excited to meet me. I didn’t think that amount of fight could fit into such a tiny person, but it can and it does and she gives wonderful hugs. I joined the online community during her hiatus, and I’ve been longing to meet her ever since Kerri talked about her two years ago. I have no proof that we actually met, but I did chase her down the convention center hallway before she left with her beautiful family. (This is completely normal, right?)
- I spent so much time with Tina and her family. I was not expecting to, but I found myself looking forward to these moments and even seeking them. Spending time with them made my experience much richer.
- Listening to Kris Freeman talk was inspiring. It also made me jealous of the way he’s able to test basals & boluses and exercise with the help of the U.S. Ski Team. I wish we could all use those same tools.
- When I saw Kerri she said “It’s you!” Then Birdy said “you’re fwendly” after we jumped up and down in our princess dresses. You know me, of course my heart melted. I think the most important moment with this family was at the farewell breakfast though, when Kerri’s mom said she was glad she had the chance to meet me and something about it being an honor. I managed a thank you, but I was in awe.
- My most memorable moments have nothing to do with the conference sessions. They are the moments where my new friends asked me & others questions that we just weren’t comfortable talking about in a room full of people.
- I met a 3ish year old with the same name. She spells it differently, but it’s said the same way (I asked her grandmother, and we both were very excited about this).
- I learned and I learned and I learned and I learned. And then I cried. Everywhere I turned there were people there to pick me up.
- Leaving Florida was one of the hardest things I’ve done in a long time.
You will get more details later, but please let this suffice for now.