Disclaimer - I loved St. Louis and what it did for us while we were there. I am in no way putting down the state of Missouri or the people that live there but......this is what I experienced during the time I was there. It was one of the first few times we had gone to the local church for mass, when I noticed that a few pews down there was a family pointing at us. We were in ear shot range and I over heard them talking. Of course me being the positive, happy to be a church, ready to meet new people person that I am was a bit caught off guard when I heard this woman say - "aren't those people from New York." The look she had on her face spoke volumes. There was a look of distaste (for a lack of a better word) on her face that screamed "are ya in a gang or something!?!" Are ya kidding me? Really? My reaction, I got up and went over to her and introduced myself (can you tell that I'm not shy) and said, "yes - we are from New York." She was a bit taken back and I proceeding to explain that we lived north of Manhattan in a nice neighborhood and that seemed to satisfy her. Whew. We were, for what seemed a long time treated like the outcasts. I have always made the best of any situation so if you can't beat 'em - join 'em. I got so involved in church with so many different ministries that I let them know we're here and we're not going anywhere! I found out that I was expecting my third child and was shocked, happy but shocked. Having two boys already, I had plenty of clothes and toys for a third son. My doctor had actually said she “believed” it was another son so we were totally shocked when our Maria showed up! Well, I had no pink anything let alone anything girly in our home. So this “friend” had said she had a ton of girls clothes. She brought over tons of pretty dresses and jumpers and I was thankful for the clothes, until a few months (nine to be exact) she informed she wanted all the clothes back. What? Uh no. Tell you a secret, not the best laundress person and those clothes either shrank or had stains I didn’t know how to get out or I just plain donated what I couldn’t use anymore back to the church! Talk about awkward. I explained as nicely as possible that I thought she was giving me the clothes. Need-less-to-say, she wasn’t my friend anymore. I gave back what I had left. And please don't get me wrong, I've met wonderful people that I am still friends with today and cherish the time I had with them. I had befriended another stay at home mom (the reason for our move so I could be home) and had wonderful conversations often two, three times a day for years. Didn't actually see each other often but the phone calls were a lifeline for me with three children under five. I finally asked why we didn’t make “play dates” with our kids, she said that I was just her “phone buddy.” Hello? Phone buddy? Argh. To this day - that makes me laugh. We had lived there for almost eight years by then when I made the decision to contact my dad after thirty four years of no contact and then had made the decision to move to be near him in Florida. Trust me it was time. Next blog, the Readers Digest version of reuniting with my Dad. Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time.