It seems so surreal. The first of our five moving trucks pulled up at Sarah's house today. How did three years go by so quickly? And how do I possibly say good bye to such wonderful women? For those of you who are new to the blog or just don't remember how this all came about ...
In 2003 I came to Eglin AFB with John. He was starting residency. There were a total of 11 residents in his class. Three were single gals. The other eight were males. And they were married. Which meant they had wives moving here knowing no one either. Two of the wives lived a little too far away to connect with us. But the other six of us started emailing and talking and hanging out occasionally.
At one point, Joia, emailed the other five wives and asked if were interested in, well, being her friend. She said that she could use some support and wanted to know if we could all meet weekly for lunch. We started doing that. We met every Wednesday for the first two years of residency. During the third year we didn't meet quite as often but are get-togethers were still a frequent occurrence.
These gals were my lifeline here. We did holidays together and baby showers and birthday parties and meals and play dates. Somewhere along the line, in reference to the "Mafia", the name "Wifia" emerged. And it stuck.
Tuesday evening the "Wifia" went to the Melting Pot in Destin for one last gal's night. Since Joia was borrowing my camera, I didn't see any harm in stealing a picture from her. Sorry it's blurry but this humidity is killing our photos!
Tiffany gave us all a Willow Tree Angel holding a seashell. So perfect for our time in Destin. It also marked some sadness for all of us. We have so enjoyed the Florida weather and of course the beaches. But as of today, that would all change. The oil is here It is so hard to believe that the whitest beaches in the world, and truly, the most beautiful beaches that I have seen in the U.S. are now covered with oil. And that it doesn't appear it will end anytime soon. We truly need to pray for the Gulf Coast and the rest of Florida. This entire state lives on tourism. Destin is a tourist town. Please pray for the businesses and people whose livelihood and future will be directly impacted by this global disaster.
Maybe it's the oil. Maybe it's the truck in front of Sarah's. Maybe it's knowing our own movers are coming in just four days. Maybe it's realizing that I'll be the first one of the six of us to drive away from Eglin for good on the 1st of July. Maybe it's all of it combined that is making me a bit sad tonight.
I am ready to go. I am excited about our new adventures. I am looking forward to somewhere new. I can't wait to experience Turkish culture and food and clothing and a whole new life.
But I am sad to leave things behind.
Joia is one person I will leave behind. Her husband Philip will be staying at Eglin for four more years, moving from a resident to a staff member. Sarah is off to Japan. Tiffany will be heading back home to Texas. Jodi will be living in Minot, North Dakota. And Andrea is off to California -- exciting for her but sad for me as we really thought there was a good chance they were going to Turkey with us.
Three years ago I came to Eglin AFB in one of the worst places I have ever been. I was alone. I was grieving. And I was missing my life in Rochester -- even if I was a bit warmer.
And now, three years later, I prepare to say good bye to lifelong friends. We know there is little chance we will all live by each other again. Or that we will be thrown into the support network that each of us created for the others.
Thank you ladies for being my family here in Eglin. For helping me with my boys. For loving my dog. For making me meals. For just being my friend.
I am including a poem I wrote for our wifia brunch last month. Here it is
In 2007, I left my old home To come to dear Eglin … feeling alone. How could I know Of the five dear, sweet gals -- The friends that I’d find In my “Wifia” pals.
The “Wifia” gals, we soon became known Wives of six doctors, and now not alone. Jodi and Andrea Joia and Tiff, Wendi and Sarah That makes quite a six.
Friends to encourage, support, and work through The challenge of residency – if only we knew Of what lay ahead In the three years to come. Change was in store For all, not just some.
I was defrosting from four years in the North One was Canadian right from her birth! We settled in homes And prepared for our life -- Ready for the adventures Of a resident’s wife.
Tiffany ... Tiffany, a Texan indeed A star on her house tells you what her blood bleeds. After Will came Ms. Reagan To even the score. They’re in for the twenty Life won’t be a bore.
Sarah had just berthed a sweetie-pie Della When she moved onto Base with Rob (what a fella!) With Scuff, that’s four girls -- Poor Rob; what a scene! But while there’s lots of frilly pink, They’re also quite green.
Andrea Reite, pretty and sweet Energetic and animated, lively and neat. She came with just one kiddo Now she has two Worked for the paper, What didn’t she do?
Joia, the dessert gal, she founded this group You name it, she’ll do it, jump any ol’ hoop. First Keenan then ‘Riah She started us girls But her best news of all Is that ‘Riah has curls!
Jodi, dear Jodi, oh where to begin? She’s tackled our craziness, lived through our din. She started a business Thank goodness she did Each one of us adores her As do all our kids.
And me? Oh dear me, I came only me And now I’m as far from that as one can be. A dog and two kiddos I was set in my ways. But I gladly traded working For my motherhood days.
So that’s us, quite a gang -- we “Wifia” ladies Despite quite long hours and temperatures of Hades. Six ladies, ten kids, And quite a few pets, We came for the Air Force And avoided med school debts.
Lunches and park dates and birthdays galore We started with four kids and added sev'n more. Food and surprises Showers and parties, We laughed good and ate good Lotsa’ chocolate and brownies!
I thank you dear friends for the friendship you gave I cannot enough, of each of you rave. We came in as strangers We’ll leave now as friends. Our adventure’s beginning We’re far from the end.
In just a few weeks, we’ll move all our ways And life will be different from the “Wifia” days. But friends are forever Despite parting ways. And we’ll always remember Our “Wifia” days.