It was September of 1983, I had already spent two weeks in kindergarten and the only friend that I made (mind you I was only looking for one good friend) had moved to another kindergarten class. I of course thought I was destined to go through school all alone. On this particular day, Mrs. Johnston (the greatest kindergarten teacher on the planet) had us in circle time and from the side door entered a shy, blonde blue-eyed girl. It was love at first sight – that was my best friend; I just knew it. Mrs. Johnston asked for a volunteer to show her around and my hand shot up like those kids you see who are just bursting out of their chair to be picked.
Thank the lord, she picked me. I got to be this girl’s buddy for the day and then as luck would have it she rode my bus home. Her mom was late picking her up from the bus stop that day and she had forgotten how to get home so she walked with my mom and I awhile until her mom found us and took her home.
I remember thinking how great it would be that I would be able to walk to her house from mine. That is the day I met my very best friend.
For the next four years we would have sleep overs, talk about boys (we were beyond boy crazy by the 2nd grade), play Barbies, create clubs, and tell everyone that we were sisters. She was nicer than me, a better sharer, kinder, and gorgeous. She always tan with blonde hair and blue eyes was hard to miss. I had short brownish hair and hazel eyes with Irish white skin, but some people bought that we were related. I think it mostly had to do with the fact that we could finish each other’s sentences.
We plotted about how I would marry her older brother when we grew up and then we would finally officially be related. She and I were inseparable; and then the summer before the fourth grade my dad took a job that was in California.
Our family packed up and moved miles and miles away. In true best friend form she was happy for me and told me to send her pictures of all the celebrities that I was going to meet and we vowed to see each other every summer.
I was angry – I didn’t speak to my parents for an entire year unless it was necessary. If you think I am exaggerating – I am sure my parents will vouch for me on this one.
I had trouble making friends or any good friends after we moved to California, again not their fault – totally mine. I kept looking for another soul mate, another sister and we all know those only come along once in a blue moon.
She and I saw each other in the 5th grade when my dad had to fly back on business and he took me with him. I stayed with her family for the 5 or so days he was there on business. It was as if we had never been apart. We ate Mexican food until we were so stuffed we had to undo the top button of our pants, we laughed and giggled until we couldn’t keep our eyes open, and we were inseparable.
Again, saying good-bye was like getting the wind knocked out of me. We saw each other again at my grandma’s house one summer and she came to visit us in California once, too.
But from about 8th grade until our Senior year in high school we only wrote letters and talked on the phone and some of those years passed with very little contact at all. Money was tight for both of our families and flying to see each other was just out of the question. I thought about her every day; still do.
When she graduated from high school I was able to go visit. I stayed with her over a long weekend and it was as if we had never really been apart. I met her boyfriend and we laughed and planned our futures.
She came to visit when I graduated high school and when she had to leave I begged her to move to California and go to school out here with me. She of course could not leave her family or boyfriend. Over our college years we didn’t see too much of each other either; until she was engaged.
I flew out to help prepare for the wedding, get bridesmaid dresses, etc. She was so grown up – she had moved out of her house (I still lived at home) and I remember watching her iron his shirts for work the next day and thinking – she is ironing shirts, seriously ironing. I don’t iron anything and still don’t if I don’t have to. She of course, still irons everything.
I came back a few months later for the bachelorette party and the wedding. They had just bought a house and I still remember thinking how grown up she was. I was in awe. I remember laying in the guest bedroom trying to fall asleep and hearing them laugh and talk. I was so happy for her; and even though at the time I had just graduated college and was engaged to my high-school sweetheart I wanted what she had. Seeing her life and all that she had accomplished made me want to find true love too, but that is another story for another time. The point is, she has always inspired me to be my best self. She was a gorgeous bride and it was a fun wedding.
We visited each other after we had our babies. Even sending pictures of ultrasounds along the way.
She most recently came to visit after her divorce. My sweet, amazing husband – my other soul mate (I know, I am blessed – I got two in one lifetime) surprised me for my birthday and there she was at the front door.
Again, even though it had been a few years – no time had passed – we fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. She looked amazing – she once again inspired me to get off my butt and lose weight. I have lost 20 pounds since her visit.
She is my sister, she is family to me. We are more than friends and I know she feels the same way. We often talk about how we have a hard time making friends outside of each other because we are looking for someone who lives closer to us that is like the other one of us. I won’t find another one of her and that is okay because I have her – she is my other sister. I truly believe that we are all given the relationships in our lives as gifts. Some teach us everything we don’t want to be and then others help us become the best version of ourselves. My very best friend, my other sister does that for me. Just by being herself and allowing me to bare witness to her triumphs and struggles helps me become the best version of myself.
Love you, A – you are my sister – always have been, always will be, no matter what.