Most friendships don’t span a decade, let alone three and counting. Some can’t believe it when I tell them, others say we’re lucky, and still some might wonder how we’ve managed to stay in touch for so long. All I really know is that I couldn’t ask for a better friend. We’re truly blessed to have each other!
Today is Amy’s birthday. I can’t really remember the exact circumstances that brought us together. We met in kindergarten and the way we tell the story is that we were the two shyest girls in the class and that was a good enough reason to start up a friendship. I remember Amy’s long blonde hair and her quiet voice. Her mother managed to snap a photo of the two of us side by side in the Christmas program…and we’ve probably taken hundreds of photos together (sans the angel outfits) since then.
The details escape me, but I image we had a funny little friendship in the beginning…if you’re the shy type, this might resonate with you. I have grade school memories of sitting next to each other (not really talking, we were shy remember), softly laughing together and of course, playing “mystery” on the playground… but not much else. Fortunately, our friendship became a lot more animated in junior high–passing notes, trying to arrange classes together, going to the movies, dreaming about driving and staying over at each other’s houses. Eventually, her family became my family and vice versa. Thinking about afternoons at her house reminds me of putting Chex mix inside sandwiches, munching Cool Ranch Doritos, avoiding her cat (my parents were dog people so cats were totally new to me) and the awesomest (is that a word?) phone in the world–it was CLEAR! Amy was so cool!
Back in those days we talked about boys, rattled on and on about teachers, and took several classes together. We were partners whenever a school project came along. And when we couldn’t be paired up, we took our show on the road to the public library and managed to do our school work there together (with lemons in tow!) I can remember going to football/basketball games and school dances, all the typical things that fill up a tween’s life. Along side that, I remember jumping out of Mr. Sherwood’s classroom window, the 9th grade water balloon fight (poor Mr. Adams) and telling Amy’s mom that she just might need glasses (poor thing couldn’t read the blackboard–does that date us or what?)
High school was much more fun, so much that I can share very little about our adventures 🙂 Let’s just say that we managed to have plenty of good times and maintain straight A’s…oh wait, there was that B in geometry. Nevertheless, it was all basically harmless and good-natured and thank God no one ever got hurt! We spent countless hours driving around in her little blue Dodge Shadow, stopping daily by Sonic, and making plans for the weekend. Amy is the reason why I agreed to go to the prom, the ONE person I would go watch in the school plays, and the only reason I got through speech class without getting sent to the principal (“You want me to squawk?” You must be kidding me!)
And alas, we graduated high school and moved away to college. We chose two different universities (approximately an hour away from one another) and the fun continued, but on a less frequent basis unfortunately. I loved visiting Amy and she likewise. We maintained communication via phone (no cell phones or text messages back in those stone ages!) Her friends became my friends and my friends hers. And the discussions continued… about boys, teachers, classes and now–OUR FUTURES. Amy had big plans for us to study in Europe–her in France, me in Spain. I on the other hand wanted to adhere to a four-year college schedule and find a job ASAP! We both stuck to our plans and still managed to stay connected despite being an ocean apart.
I loved hearing about her adventures overseas. Her new friends, college life abroad, and the French lifestyle. Amy traveled and in some ways I felt like I was going along for the ride. A terrific pen pal, I received loads of postcards and photos. Through it all our tiny, Kansas hometown remained our connecting point. When we couldn’t see each other during visits home, we often ran into each other’s parents or siblings. One of my brothers would tell me that they saw her with her sister and that she hadn’t changed a bit. I, likewise, loved running into her family and asking how she was doing and when her next visit would be.
Our friendship eventually moved bi-coastal with me on the west coast and her living on the east. Still, she made the trip out to San Francisco to be the maid of honor in my wedding and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
As I write this I can’t help but smile. There’s so many stories I could relay, so many memories that I wish I could share and there just aren’t enough pages for me to tell you all the things I love about Amy. Her kind heart, her loyalty, her fun-loving nature, her sharp mind, her perspective, her ambition, her courage, her faith and the list goes on. I know that I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t met my yellow-haired friend all those years ago. Amy always says that we live parallel lives, and it’s my favorite phrase to describe our friendship–and “Amyism” if you will.
Today we still live hours apart (but both in the Midwest) and visit each other whenever we can. Our life paths have crossed, intersected, gone off in different directions and yet, whenever we get together it’s like no time has passed at all. I LOVE that! In many ways, life has changed and moved in directions that neither of us ever would have (could have) anticipated. And in other ways, we’re the same little girls who met all those years ago in kindergarten. Except that now, while we both maintain our “shyness,” if and when we get the chance to sit together, we can easily talk to each other for hours and hours… only the laughter between us today is much, much louder! Happy birthday to my dearest friend, YOU ARE LOVED!