One of the many wonderful things about life is that even during those times when you may not be looking towards God, He is always looking out for you.
When Zoe was four months old, I returned to University part time. It was invigorating! I loved those couple of hours, twice a week, I spent learning and talking with people who I was not responsible for and who did not need me to do anything for them. I think my favourite part about going back to school was reuniting with Zoe after the couple of hours we were apart. I missed her terribly when I was gone, but it made me more of an attentive mom when I was there. In fact, it went so well that I decided to go back again in September. Unfortunately, that term did not work out at all. I did not have reliable babysitting set up and with the labs that coincided with the courses I was taking, the hours spent away from my Baby Girl were too long for both of us. So after many tears and many discussions with Mr. Level-Headed, I dropped out. I remember sitting in our sun room with Zoe that afternoon, holding her so that we were face-to-face:
I'm not going back, baby. I am going to stay here and be the mom you need me to be. You are going to be the University graduate. I promise!
And then the most spectacular thing happened. I had this very distinct impression (I will not call it a voice because I didn't hear it so much as I felt it):
But if you do not go to University, she never will.
And that did it for me. Mr. Level-Headed and I spent the next few months getting things in order so that my return back to school would be less difficult. We decided to move within walking distance of the University and I switched my degree of study over to Arts, which requires less in-class time and more work on your own schedule.
Then miracle number two happened. Our first day in our new apartment, I heard a knock at the door. I opened it up and was greeted by a young woman, close to my age. She lived two doors down from us and as we talked, I learnt she had a little girl the exact same age as Zoe The four of us became immediate friends!
|Cassie and Ashley Hardy|
Cassie was originally from Alaska, but had moved to Saint John from Idaho with her husband and young baby because her husband was studying for his Masters in Science at UNBSJ. I don't know what I would have done without Cassie that year. She became my best friend and a second mom to Zoe. She babysit Zoe for me when I was in class and when I was overwhelmed with assignments. It was the perfect arrangement! Cassie's home was simply an extension of our home. On cold winter mornings, Zoe could just toddle down to Cassie's with her jammies on and spend the morning curled up with her best friend, Ashley. Oh, and the best part is that Cassie is one of those women who can do ANYTHING! And one of her many talents is photography, which meant I would get oodles and oodles of photographs from Zoe's day.
Zoe and Ashley spent so much time together they became like sisters.
But wait! It got even better. Zoe and Ashley met two more friends in our apartment complex, who were around the same age as them and who LOVED the mud puddles just as much as they did.
|Hilary, Ashley, Zoe, and Isabella|
|The matching bathing suits were a total coincidence!|
We had so much fun that year! All of us moms would sit out in the backyard and laugh and talk, while the girls ran and got filthy. It was so hard for me to tear myself away on the days I had class. They were so cute!
But, all good things must come to an end. Cassie's husband graduated from his Masters and they decided to take a job in Alaska. The night before they left, we let the girls play outside. I never wanted that night to end, but it had to. Cassie and I had decided that neither one of us could do this good-bye and so we said good night instead. We hugged, the girls hugged and then we went our separate ways. As soon as I was inside my apartment, the tears began to fall. I was losing a best friend and Zoe was losing a sister. Life was never the same at the apartment without the Hardy's, and we have never been the same since knowing them.
We love and miss you, Cassie and Ashley!