Lately I've been appreciating my friends even more than usual. Yesterday, on the way home from dropping Reed off at preschool, I was realizing how I've had several friends who were there at some of the most pivotal moments in my life. My gratitude for them was overwhelming, and the only way to make it more easily absorbed is to write about it. (And I don't think it would hurt for some of my bloggity friends to see how fondly I think of them.)*Note: I haven't mentioned Phill for the reason that I would take infinite blogs in trying to adequately describe what he means to me. Maybe one day I will be able to describe it in words beautiful and descriptive enough, but that would be called a book.
To Rachel Thomas, who was there the moment I found out my brother had died. I left her house to go home, but she was there when I came sprinting back, finally able to cry once we were holding each other. We were nine years old. Our worlds consisted of barbies and dress-up and stuffing AAA bras to feel more grown-up. But when it was time to accept things of a much less pretend nature, she was there, cushioning the blow.
To Mary Anne, who made living in Belgium even more of an adventure and a pleasure. To our Red Blanket Mondays, when we would spread the red blanket in a field somewhere, eat macaroni and cheese, and listen to the birds that hid in the grass and made sounds like Nintendo.
To Christine....oh, there are too many words. How to condense? To Christine, who eased my passage from blissfully ignorant child to fully awkward teenager. :) She was there when my heart was broken by a boy for the first time, there when I needed someone to understand the different beat to which I marched. She was there, supplying hair dye and junk food and laughter and wisdom. And still there when I moved away, countless times, still there as my center point to come back to, until at last we found our eternal friends. (And still, she's there.) So to Christine, I'll use that phrase you see idly written in cheesy Hallmark cards, but nonetheless a phrase that takes on new meaning in this instance: Thanks for being there.
To Camilla, who patted the chair next to her that first Sunday in Cedar City, and didn't bat a single centimeter-long eyelash when I asked if my breath was bad. "I'd hate for my breath to be horrible while I've been whispering to you this whole time." -"No, it's fine. It's not bad. It smells like nothing. Go ahead and keep whispering." To Camilla, because she was there the day Phill left for Iraq, there to commiserate without trying to make me feel a cheerfulness that wasn't yet there. And there when I came home (sans Phill) from the hospital, holding Jaxon, my second of the three biggest comforts. There, holding healthy snacks, and offering them to me when I closed the door on my mother, who had to go only two days after Jaxon's birth. (She cried with me.) And every time I went to Cedar, seeking comfort, it was her house I went to, her cozy livingroom where I shed my tears and then wiped them away, ready to face the next obstacle. Camilla, you have been a constant during all the change. (*I miss you. Excrutiatingly.*)
To April, who saw my first meeting with Phill, and stayed my friend even as Phill became the top priority. April, who lessened the ache of moving from Belgium to Georgia. April, who was happy when I was happy, sad when I was sad, laughing with me and crying with me.
To Camille: Seems we've both been through an emotional hurricane of sorts, since we first met. We're like two trees whose tops seem far away, but whose roots are closely intertwined. We've changed, but our friendship has only been strengthened by those changes. Camille, how do I say thank you? How do I say thank you for holding my hand (and my aching belly and back) during my labor with Jaxon? Thank you for holding me up for those hours, physically and emotionally, standing willingly and humbly in the place Phill would have stood, had he been able to. Thank you for the wealth of knowledge you bring, teaching me new possibilities that make my mind grow a little more every time I hear of them.
To Robyn: How is it that you were so strongly my friend in just moments? You were so suddenly so important to me, so loving to me, that it seems as if you have been my friend from before we were born. You jumped in halfway through the storm of Phill's deployment, and rode out the rest with me. And still you stay. Robyn, my loyal Birdie.
And to Jenn, the last I will list of these eight proofs that Heavenly Father places some of His heavenly guardians around us in the form of friends: I'm still sure it's no accident that my car battery kept dying that January, and that you were The Lady at the Front Desk. I liked you immediately. I liked the pictures of your curly-haired girls and your solid tank of a boy, and I liked that you couldn't stop talking about them. I liked that the second time I went (a second heavenly nudge?), I still liked you immensely. And I love that you didn't think I was weird when I asked you to come over, as if I were a nine-year-old girl asking if you could come play. To Jenn, with whom I laugh, cry, get goosebumps, pray, and remember my inherent worth. You were an answer to prayers then, when I cried in the night for a friend in Provo to help me weather the rest of Phill's absence, and you are here now, as the same answer to more prayers.
To all my friends, listed above or not:
I am endlessly grateful for you, for your presence in my life, for your unselfish and unconditional friendship and love. You are an integral part of my happiness, and I'm always praying that I can return the immense pleasure of having you for a friend.