Happy Birthday, Amy!

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1997–at the beach

Today is Amy’s birthday, and since I was raised right, I won’t tell you how old she is.  Also, I was born in the same year (although a few months LATER), so that would also be self-defeating.  However, I think it’s important to mark this occasion by telling you just exactly how awesome she is.

For those of you who are considering an online dating service, I highly recommend you give it a shot.  You see, when we were seniors in high school, the computer at James Madison University matched me and Amy up to be roommates for our freshman year there, based on the survey we took with our admission paperwork.  Given that we’re pretty much still besties a hundred years later, I’d say that was a total success, yes?  It was amazing that we fit anything else into our dorm room given how big our hair was back then, but we managed.

Bridesmaids in 1997

Bridesmaids in 1997

At one point, we dated guys who were roommates, but neither of them “stuck,”  because good things come to those who wait.  We pledged different sororities and lived with different roommates our sophomore year, but stayed close.  We lived together again our junior year with the greatest group of girls ever.

We regularly slept through the Sunday brunch on campus that ended at 2:30pm, yet we all managed to graduate (most of us with advanced degrees) and are successful, productive members of society–go figure!

Amy's beautiful wedding

Celebrating at Amy’s beautiful wedding

Over the years, we’ve weathered bridal showers, weddings, babies (only five between us but sometimes it feels like fifty!), vacations (including December 31, 1999!), funerals, baptisms, birthdays, family debacles, job changes, and enough moves to keep the real estate market smokin’ hot.  Our kids have no choice but to love each other like siblings–one of her sons once drew a “family” picture that included my oldest–and we’ve been known to trade them off for a week in the summer just to keep things interesting.  I thought nothing of Amy and her kids coming to visit right after we moved the last time; I just put her to work sanding kitchen cabinets and we stuck her kids in Vacation Bible School right along with mine.

Bridesmaids in 2000--a recurring theme!

Bridesmaids in 2000–a recurring theme!  I was SO pregnant and miserable–Amy was cool as a cucumber!

Amy and I have an uncanny ability to buy the same jewelry, dress similarly, and cut our hair the same way, all while living hours away from each other.  This has made for interesting photo ops over the years, but it makes buying presents for her a snap!  I think one of the reasons her house feels like “home” to me–and hopefully vice versa–is because she decorates hers exactly the way I want mine to look!  We regularly pass clothes and decor items back and forth because our taste is almost exactly the same.  The only drawback to this is that when we go shopping together, we tend to reach for the same things, and must depend upon our good manners to avoid a catfight!

My favorite house in the world to visit is Amy’s.  She has perfected the art of relaxed hospitality.  You don’t have to follow your kids around her house to make sure they’re not messing things up…they’re allowed to play and have fun.  Nothing in her house is more precious than people, yet it still looks like a magazine, because she’s got such great style.   Meanwhile, she’s always making me something yummy to eat–about 90% of my recipes come from her, which makes for a horrible challenge when SHE comes to MY house–and her husband makes the best drinks ever and is the funniest person in the world.

With the hubsters

With the hubsters in downtown Nashville

If you add all the time up over the years, I have lived in Amy’s house for months.  Many times I come without my husband (because he’s deployed and off protecting the world), but with two kids and sometimes even our pets(!).  While he might roll his eyes to himself, Amy’s sweet husband is so tolerant of me.  I humor myself by thinking that he actually likes us, but I know that mostly he wants to make his wife happy by letting her friend come to visit.  Regardless, I know that we’re always welcome, and we have taken advantage of that so many times over the years.

The firstborn sons--good buddies from the beginning!

Our firstborns–good buddies from the beginning (not that they had a choice)!

I’ve mentioned this a few times before, but my mom died pretty suddenly when I was 30.  It was May 2002, my son was eighteen months old, and my husband was deployed here and there due to the aftereffects of 9/11.  I was at my parents’ house in Maryland when Mom died–we had been in the initial stages of diagnosing and staging her cancer when she sustained a massive pulmonary embolism.  To say I was unprepared, on every level, to lose my mother would be an understatement.  Here’s what Amy did, without my thinking about it or asking for it:  she and her mother drove over to our house and brought me clothes from her own closet so I would have something to wear for my mother’s viewing and funeral.  She literally gave me the clothes off her back.  I can tell you for a fact that she thinks that was no big deal, but to me it was, and still is, something I can’t even think about without crying.  “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”  Proverbs 17:17

At some point, we all realize that true friends are found few and far between.  Can you count your real friends on one hand?  If you can, then you are fortunate.  If you can count them on two hands, then you are rich, indeed.  Well, when I count up my friends, Amy’s either my thumb or my pointer finger, if you know what I mean.  I’m hoping I can be just like her when I grow up, because there’s no one out there who is quite as fabulous.

So, my dear friend, have a wonderful birthday, and thank you for sharpening me as iron sharpens iron for these many years!

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Comments

  1. I cried through reading this! Its officially my best birthday ever and this post is the sweetest thing in the world…Christy you know that the feeling is mutual! I am the luckiest girl in the world to have friends like you. Thank you Girl! XOXOXO!
    PS Justin is equally touched and said you have guaranteed yourself the guest room and drinks for life! 🙂

    • Oh, that is excellent news from Justin, especially since we’ll be temporarily homeless during the move! Please ask him to bring his shaker with him to Savannah! XOXO

  2. I came across your blog a few months back after reading a guest post you all did at southernhospitalityblog (I think) or maybe tatertotsandjello! I’ve commented on a few posts in the past, but I HAD to comment on this one because…I, too, and a JMU Alumnus! I graduated in 2002 and met my very best friends in the world in good ole’ Harrisonburg, VA. I was a Tri-Sigma, and my best girlfriends were EEE, ASAs and ASTs. 🙂 My older brother also went there and graduated in 1998 and was a KA. I already loved your blog to start, but I love it even more knowing that we share JMU in common! 🙂

    • Make that JMU Alumna! 😉

      • Yeah, Lauren! You’re a few years younger than us, so we weren’t there at the same time, but Amy was a Sigma Kappa and I was an Alpha Phi. Between the girls in our house, we had most of the sororities and fraternities (as Little Sisters) on the Row covered. Go, Dukes! 🙂

  3. I cried through this post also. And I don’t even know you personally! I too have two great friends that are my ya ya’s. Together through it all. Especially two of us because we live close to each other. Our children are like cousins and didn’t have real babysitters forever because we just watched each other’s kids. Friends are wonderful gifts from God. Thanks for making my day. Now I am going to text my Ya Ya’s and tell them how much they mean to me.

    • Thank you, Debby. I do feel better now that we’ve all had a good cry together, though, don’t you? That’s what friends are for!

  4. Meg Nelson says

    What a lovely birthday tribute! God had a plan when he brought the both of you together!

    Your writing brought tears to my eyes – it was so nice.

    Happy Birthday Amy!!!

  5. Kristen says

    What a lovely and touching tribute to your friendship! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Beautiful, beautiful post…there is nothing like lifelong friends that you can count on for always being there for you…those dear friends are life’s true blessings…I am so blessed with many lifelong friends (going back to Jr. High)…and then my best friend (my hubby) that I have known since the 2nd grade…I loved reading this story and there obviously was “divine intervention” that put you two together..you two are very blessed to have each other.

    • All friends are wonderful, but OLD friends are the best, because you never have to fill them in on the background story, right? Thank you for your kind words, Shirley!

  7. Susan S. says

    That post was amazing…I am bawling my eyes out!

  8. Tracey Burgin says

    Ties are streaming down my face. Christy, I remember when I first met you, I was rushing to get to my house because you and Amy were waiting for me there, that I tripped and broke my hand. I was so excited to have you see my house, I didn’t even care that my hand was killing me. And Amy when I met you, I felt like I had walked into a form of my house. It was just a year ago when me you and Terri were sitting in cafe Terino celebrating your birthday and talking about my upcoming move to italy. You girls are amazing and miss you much!!!! Happy Birthday!

    • Tracey, of course I remember you breaking your hand that night–how could anyone ever forget an introduction like that?! Your house was *awesome* and I am just jealous that I can’t see and experience what you’ve done with your place in Italy. Have fun and we’ll see you when you come home!

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