When Did They Start Putting Letters In It?

Two plus two equals four. Yes or no?

Christmas of 1996, my mothers family is gathered in a condo in Pagosa Springs, Colorado for a skiing Christmas vacation. It has been a rough year for my family. My parents separated in June, my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (Secondary Progressive) in November, and I had just learned we would be moving to Wyoming in January. Did i forget to mention my mother was served with divorce papers while we were in Pagosa Springs?

Yeah…that really happened.

Oh. What. Fun.

Despite the series of unfortunate events, it was a very memorable Christmas for me for reasons I will save for a later date.

I tell you all of this to fast forward four years. My mother had just graduated from the University of Wyoming! Its a huge deal in my family. I was visiting my dad in Texas when I got a call from the friend my mom was staying with while my brother and I were on vacation. She was not doing well. My mothers health had been in a steady decline since her diagnosis with MS. We all knew there would be a day when she couldn’t get around anymore. That day had come. She could not get out of bed even to relieve herself. My strong willed, stubborn, intelligent, beautiful mother would not allow this for herself, but she had no control of it…and it was torturing her! Needless to say, summer vacation ended early. We got my mom back home, but she had already seen too much. She had seen what I was willing to sacrifice for her. She told me as a 14 year old girl, I should not have the responsibility of caring for a disabled mother, and a mentally challenged younger brother (my brother is highly functioning autistic and mentally handicapped/mentally retarded. He has the body of his current age, but the mind of a 5 year old, and a severe speech impediment.). The day after her 39th birthday, my mother checked herself into a nursing home.

What does that mean for my brother and I? We were to move with my dad into his parents house. I would start high school nearby (by nearby I mean right across the street), and they would find a school to suit my brothers needs.

New school? As a freshman? Oh. What. Fun.

We moved. I started summer band. I started school. It was awful! I was so out of place! I had a few friends (and i mean 3) from band, but i knew no one in my lunch period…so I sat in the library and made friends with the books. I got to know the library very well. After the first quarter, I moved my schedule around and ended up in Algebra I for third period. We were arranged alphabetically. My maiden name being Boland, I was near the front of the class. One day I needed a school supply, so I turned around and asked the girl behind me if I could borrow one from her (I say school supply, because in the 14 years since…I cant remember what it was anymore). Her name is Brittany Cofer, and we haven’t stopped talking since. She quickly became my best friend, and introduced me to some of her friends. Pretty soon I had sleep overs, late night phone calls, the inevitable marathon AIM convos and passed notes in the hallways. I was the quintessential high school girl. It was great!

Brittany and I have since kept in contact thru the magic of Myspace, Facebook, and text messaging. She lives in Houston, I live about 4 hours away. She is still one of my very best friends. I know I can call her and talk about anything and everything, or nothing at all, and she with me. We may not live 4 minutes away from each other anymore, but distance means nothing when this song starts…

Love you muchly dear Friend! You are the Hoocha to my Lobster, and the Marco to my Polo. ❤ ❤ ❤

So does 2+2=4? As long as you dont add letters to it like Brittany and I learned they started to in our Freshman Algebra I class.


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