Recently we were invited to attend Kaitlin's best friend's First Communion.  Her brother and sister were also going through Confirmation.  Kaitlin and Mema, as Kaitlin affectionately calls her, were born on the same day just 3 minutes apart!  These two girls could be sisters they are so much alike.  As the girls have grown closer, we have grown close to their family.  They are this amazing Italian family that could be out the movies.  They are generous, funny, gregarious, kind, loving, and a joy to be around.
All of their aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents came from California for the big celebration.  We felt very honored to be the only non family invited to be a part of such a milestone.  It has been a long time since I have been in a Catholic church.  I was transported back to my First Communion nearly 29 years ago to the day.  I don't remember much except how happy I was that my Grandma, who was ill, found a way to make it.  During the entire mass I was sad that she wouldn't be there and then as we were dismissed I remember seeing her as I came up the isle and being so excited I had to remind myself not to run to her. 
 I still cherish the white Bible she gave me that day.
Mema's mom told me Mema kept asking when Kaitlin would be there and if she was going to make it.  As Mema came up the isle her eyes lit up and she went directly to Kaitlin where they embraced like they hadn't seen each other in years.  We all joked the same scene would play out in 20 years when Mema is in a wedding dress instead of a First Communion dress.
One thing we have discovered living away from all of our family is the communion you build with friends.  Friends become like family and strong bonds are formed.  Since practically everyone in Scottsdale is from somewhere else, most people are here without extended family.  It is a unique environment where people are eager to become friends and to have the comfort and closeness to be able to share in communion.  We are grateful for so many families, especially Mema's family, that have welcomed us with open arms.

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