Back a hundred (or ten) years ago when I was in the college, I made some friends that remain the best of my life. If you were/are my friend before or since, imaginary reader, I'm quite sure I love you and perhaps my relationship with you as an individual is unique and meaningful in many ways, but there is something special about our group of twelve, the shared experiences, the countless times that we've managed to prioritize getting together and seeing each other in addition to keeping up through various modes of communication. To paraphrase one of Martha's more famous bits: people come in and out of my life, but these girls (better known as the Peeps), they're core. I've been seeing quite a bit of my girls lately, and that suits me fine. There are some living off in far-flung places that I only get to see on special occasions like Smonica's wedding a few months ago or Kelly's wedding coming up in October, but at the moment nearly half of the Peeps are living in central Arkansas with me. It warms my little heart.
For the past four and a half days, we've been living one of those special occasions. Beckypalooza is a Peeps holiday that only comes along every three or four years or so. Once when we were seniors, Becky was down about something. I think at the time I didn't even know what, and the actual reason has ceased to matter long ago. I threw an impromptu cheering-up party for her and called it Beckypalooza (perhaps I'm not the one who originally came up with the name Beckypalooza--I can't even remember at this point--so if another Peep wants to take credit here, she is welcome to do so). The inaugural Beckypalooza was a hit. So in intervening years when Becky has come back down to visit from her Yankee home, we've revisited the idea of Beckypalooza. The last time that we documented such an occasion was in the fall of 2006 (though Becky's been here probably half a dozen times since then, and I've seen her in other places too). I guess we are mostly saving the Beckypalooza title for those times when she's coming down just because, when we don't have weddings or Spring Sing or any specific agenda besides good times. This extended weekend definitely fits that bill.
We have had a low-key blast moving the party from Peep home to Peep home . We painted pottery, photos of which I've promised to post here once I pick it up so that we can all see each other's work. We cooked and ate out and celebrated birthdays and played games and sang songs and laughed so much that nothing should even seem funny again. Then we laughed some more. The central Arkansas Peeps do a pretty decent job of making time for each other, but the thing that made this weekend so spectacular is how we all dropped everything else to be together for four to five straight days for most of us. Pure bliss. (And a special mention goes to Tittle for hanging with us all day on Saturday despite the fact that she was almost 36 weeks pregnant and having contractions all day.)
Beckypalooza made me long for my Peeps far away: Paige, Stacie, Teresa, Kelly, Susan, and Crys. And it made me treasure all the moments I have with my Peeps near (or near at the moment): Becky, Robyn, Martha, Amy, Monica, and Hailey. And of course, there's a similar longing and treasuring for the Meeps (Peep Men/Husbands) and Weeps (the Wee Peeps) though I think Peeps good-times at their most hilarious and nostalgic can be overwhelming and frightening for all but the most hardy Meeps and Weeps. I almost feel sorry for them when we really get going. It was probably for the best that the local Meep/Weep contingent let us have Friday night all to ourselves to story and cackle ourselves into a contented stupor.
Home, for me, is never really a place. Home is people and the love that wraps you up together. I've got the most amazing family (with whom I spent a glorious eleven days just a couple of weeks ago and who fill up my heart with home when we are together). But my Peeps . . . they're home too. And when my ungrateful heart pauses to count the blessings in my life, Peeps are among the biggest and best. My cup overflows.
Thank you, Becky, for making that long trip for us, for bringing us together for a weekend of precious memories, for holding things back to keep things fresh in our lives, for being hilarious and interested and a part of our lives, for being core.
And to the far-off Peeps who may read this and feel sad to have missed out, we missed you too and lifted your name up in countless remembered stories. We loved on you all from afar because we can't get together without you in our hearts. Thank you for being core too.
(And one more thing, Beck . . . I know how you like to visualize what we're all doing in our day-to-day lives, so for the picture in your head: I wrote this sitting on my bed in the wee hours of the morning after we got home from karaoke at Robyn's. You may have even heard me clicking away as you attempted to sleep. Sorry if I kept you up. And if you hate this picture of you, I'll get rid of it, but I think it's almost as adorable as the real you and definitely worthy of stopping a class to point out and discuss the adorableness. Just saying.)