Today I've got two friends from Iowa visiting. They are known in my group of friends as Hart and Shep. Those guys always use last names or variants thereof in addressing one another. These were both originally friends of my husband, though from different stages in his life. Hart was his best friend for 25 years -- from first grade forward. Shep worked with Brian back in the early 2000s and has been one of a tight-knit crew of Des Moines friends since then. Now, those two have become very good friends. (It's kind of neat when people you introduce form a relationship of their own.)
I'm really looking forward to their visit. For one, it will be good to see these friends I haven't seen in months. I grew up with Brian and Hart (I was best friends with his little sister from third grade forward), and we can literally share 20+ years of memories. Neither of them has been to Austin, so I'm also looking forward to that.
Largely, I think it's nice that I won't have to think about who I am when I'm around them. They know me, my story, they knew and loved Brian, and they've seen me move forward and have supported me in every step. I also think it will be liberating to be able to talk about all the "Brian memories" that Austin has -- his favorite places to eat, places we went kayaking or played mini golf together, the bars where shots and pub fare were consumed on our prior trips, etc. I will get to share with them both my past and my present Austin favorites. I know I will not once have to worry about sounding like I'm talking about Brian too much -- they will be glad to hear the stories, to learn why their friend loved this place so much and why his wife moved there.
Most of all, though, I'm excited to see my friends because they are my friends and I love them! I feel lucky that they chose to allocate their vacation time and funds to come see me in Austin.
FYI -- I will probably not blog again until next week, after they are gone. I doubt I'll spend much time online during their vacation here.