At one time, I would have called you my best friend… but honestly, I can’t say that anymore.
We have somehow moved passed the “best friend” mark.
When I think about you, about our friendship, something else comes to my mind –
Many people will go through life with relationships that are only fleeting.
But nothing that is lasting.
And then, there are those of us who are lucky. Who have been blessed with a friendship that is something more.
Something more than just a phone call every now and then. More than an ugly, double-chin snap sent in confidence. More than a Facebook like on a page.
There are friendships out there that a true and honest and full of pure love.
They are rare, but they are there.
And I don’t know how I was lucky enough to find one of my own, but I did.
24 years ago, I shyly walked into a Pre-School classroom. An afraid, timid, only child clinging to my mother’s leg.
As I was peeled away, I sat down with a sweet, brown-eyed doll baby who immediately shared her toy with me. We looked up at each other and grinned; and, since that day, I have never let her go.
Okay, that sounded a little stalker-ish… but it’s true (;
I found peace in her smile, and I still do.
At 5 years old, I found my life-long best friend.
Not your stereotypical “BFF”
Not someone I cling to in person, but throw to the side when no one is looking.
Not a relationship that is built on fake smiles and quick-witted I love you‘s
But, a true and honest friendship.
A friendship that goes beyond the word Best Friend and creates it’s own sense of family.
That day, I didn’t just meet my best friend – I met my sister, my maid of honor, my children’s “Auntie Cole”, and my future nursing home suite-mate.
As we grew up, our lives eventually took us apart.
We went through my parent’s divorce together, moving to different schools, having different relationships, graduating high school, leaving to go to different colleges, building our lives, and, all the while, we never lost each other.
Instead, we drew closer.
So many friends have been lost through those processes, but, by the grace of God, we remained.
And, it has just felt so natural, so normal that I have never really given it much thought, until recently.
But now I realize just how rare that is.
To have a friend that you have never gotten in a heart-breaking fight with. A friend that you knew always had your back, because you always had theirs. A friend who loves and cares for you, just as much as you do them.
In 24 years, I cannot think of one time that we have had a “friendship breaking” argument.
Don’t get me wrong, we have fussed (did you forget that we were once pubescent teenagers together)! We have had our bickers and quarrels, but it has never been about anything major.
Except that one time you took my favorite Barbie before I could, and I had to play with my 2nd best one… that was a cold move.
The thing that we are so blessed with is the fact that we have always been so honest with each other.
She knows my flaws; and, I know hers.
But, it’s not because we judge one another for them.
Actually, it’s the opposite.
We use them to build up one another. To help give the other strength where one may be lacking; because, we only want the best for each other.
I have spent majority of my life taking advantage of this friendship. Not realizing it’s true value, until now.
So, my Niki-Leigh, the Ernie to my Bernie:
Thank you for loving me when I couldn’t love myself.
Thank you for helping me become the person I am today.
Thank you for always being here for me.
And, most importantly, thank you for staying with me when others have left.
YOU have been one of my constants throughout my life. You know where I have been, what I have been through; and, you know how important that is to me. There have only been a handful of people in my life who have stayed and given me stability – and, you are one those few.
You have literally been apart of EVERY major milestone in my life. ALL OF THEM, you have been there for. THANK YOU<3
No matter what I could say, what I could write, I could never put into words just how much you mean to me.
All I can say is that I love you.