Ahh. The best friend. A partner, sidekick, soul mate. This person has an invaluable role in a woman's life. I don't use the term "best friend" anymore as I have a family who my world revolves around. I have many close friends who are dear,however a REAL best friend requires attention and commitment I can no longer offer.
I have had a best friend since kindergarten when I made my first best friend Julie. She was a rock star. I recall, 26 years later, that we had the same black lace up boots. I am guessing our friendship probably grew from something more awesome like a mutual love for coloring. We would have play dates after school. Once her mom gave us some really great ice cream after school in their yellow house. Turns out her dad knew my dad through work. You can imagine my disappointment when we did not get in the same first grade class. DEVASTATION. Then she moved.....across the bayou. But to my little heart it may as well have been across an ocean. We exchanged Christmas gifts for a couple of years but she could no longer be my best friend. And it's a shame because that girl set the bar pretty high.
Second best friend came along just in time. First grade, Kristin. She was a more literal rock star than Julie. She had a spikey mullet-in the first grade. She was very cool. You know those people who always know what to say and know what's gonna be hip before everyone is let in on the secret. IN THE FIRST GRADE. We had a good little run until...she moved too.
Second grade brought my first recurring best friend Crystal. My first slumber party. We watched The Boy Who Could Fly. She was fun and just as smart as I was. I liked her so much she got to be my forth grade best friend when we were in the same class again. That was a huge relief after floating around for all of third grade with no anchor friend. We had perms and wore leggings and had crushes on boys.
Fifth grade was Jessica. We were in the same class and went to the same church. She was ambitious and adventurous and athletic. She was the first girl to join me in the G/T program after being the only girl for all of grade school. She ended up middle school dating my very close cousin which I appreciated because we got to spend all of our time together. Eventually she left for a new church and private school.
Enter the last best friend. We had gone to school together since kindergarten and were a part of a large group of friends through middle school. I wanna say it was track season of the eighth grade when the friend sparks flew. She was hilarious. Not like cracking jokes hilarious-like your walking down the hall, she grabs your hand and puts it on her stomach to show you what kinda strange motion noise she can make. She was gifted. Her handwriting was whimsical. She didn't really have boyfriends and I sure didn't have any. She was kinda different and so was I. I could list her quirks for days. She ate milk with mollymcbutter. The smell of pickles made her sick. She was 6'2". Her family was super americana and she was super unique. I don't remember spending a day without her after our best friendship was born. In high school we would go drive around after school. We would get taco bell. Her order was a bean burrito no onions. It cost 86 cents. She would pay with change from the ash tray of her chevy nova. My mom would make her fave-mac n cheese. Her parents took us to the waterpark in their suburban. If we broke curfew our parents would unite against us and orchestrate a plan to get "these wild girls in line."
She was my other half. We were honest with each other always. We never fought. We made pacts and kept them. We held onto secrets. It was such a special time in our lives. We rarely shared the same extracurriculars but managed to always be together. I remember when she broke up with her first boyfriend and it was just understood at my house that we HAD to bring another mattress into my bedroom because she was sleeping over even though it was a school night. We would definately take one for the team when it came to boys, talking the the nerdy friend while she flirted with her crush. We took our show on the road and went to college together. We had walkie talkies(this is pre-cellphone) so we could chat on the 100 mile drive to move into school. They were yellow and black. I will never forget when my mom died, all I wanted, needed to do was have her there. I called her line. No answer. I called her parents line and left probably the most awful sounding message ever. She came to me and kept me alive through those terrible days. She was my rock. She sat next to me at the funeral. She was the person I was real with. The person who I didn't have to speak to in words. She already knew.
Life took us different places after that. I had a baby.She babysat and told me that my baby might be anorexic(apparently she spit up,alot). I got married. Her life progressed as well. Things would never be the same. They couldn't be. No major falling out. No clean cut end to bestfriendom but the end of an era nonetheless.When you love someone enough to marry them, they are your best friend. Even if that means your best friend has to be a boy. That's the way it is.We can't leave our husbands and children to go run around town and get into trouble. We aren't supposed to. We had 7 years of making each other who God wanted us to be all along. We formed a bond that never goes away. When my dad died we were barely in touch. But you know who sat by me at his funeral. You're darn right. My last best friend.
I wish this for my daughter as she matures. One special person to make the good times better and the bad times bareable. I want her to be accepted unconditionally the way I was. I want her to have someone there to go through the terrors of being a teen with her because once she meets that point I surely will have forgotten what that felt like.
So here's to all of our best friends. And a special shout out to the last ones.