I can't remember the first time I met you. I know that I was in kindergarten, while you were in first grade. It may have been at church or it may have been at the gym, but we spent so much time at both who knows what came first. It's a real chicken and the egg kind of deal.
Gosh, where to begin? My most vivid memories of our friendship mostly take place at your house. Driving to your house alone was always an adventure. The rollercoaster-like backroads, rolling into the country — a place I always felt was this distant wonderland. A magical, safe place. Your family was always so incredibly sweet to me. Well, okay, your brother kind of hated me. But I know, in his own special way, he doesn't dislike me . . . completely. Your dad's ferocious sneeze always makes me jump, but it announces his presence in the best way. And your mom — what a wonderful human being — full of compassion and a radiating heart for God.
When I think of growing up together, I think about our sleepovers. I remember pretending to be teachers in your basement, pretending to be spies in the backyard, making circus routines on the swing set or movies with sticks, and drawings of fruit and princesses. Then, once we got older and your family got a hot tub, we lounged in the water as we talked about boys who didn't deserve us and where we wanted to be when we grew up. I remember the huge toad I almost stepped on that made me scream. Hot chocolate, pop tarts, and watching ridiculous movies together. The crowning glory was "Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snoggings." What a cringe-worthy and memorable movie!
I remember saying goodbye to you when I moved again. I knew this wasn't the end of our friendship, but it sure did change it. Now, when things would happen in our lives, we would have to communicate over the phone. Folding clothes and getting a phone call telling me about your first date with a guy you really liked. Moving again and walking out of class receiving a text almost two years later and being shocked by the breakup. Watching how strong you became afterward. Watching and admiring how hard you work all of the time.
We don't get to talk very often because we are both two hardworking women trying to crush it every single day, but when we feel that nudge to pick up the phone, it is always exactly at the right time. Catching up with you is always easy and I know I don't do it often enough. I'm so thankful that God introduced us when he did. After all of the moving, picking up and starting over, growing and changing, I knew, I know that I have a forever friend who, no matter where I am I can call up and say, "Hey, what's up?" and I'm right back there in the hot-tub, hearing that toad croak, looking out into the darkly lit cornfield, with one of my favorite people in the entire world and I know that everything is going to be okay.