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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.