Today is my best friend’s birthday. It has been her birthday for 39 years on this date. And for 25 years I have been best friends with her on her birthday. And for 24 of those years I have not gotten the date of her birthday correct. Not once, ever.
Most years it passes and I realize I forgot or I text her on a different date and she has to tell me it isn’t her birthday and that I had missed it. Yeah that's the kind of best friend I turned out to be. Hide your disappointment or lack thereof.
But that shit all changed today.
I am commemorating my remembrance of the date by not only calling her later, but writing this letter below to her, as my best friend of 25 years. This way she can never forget that I remembered her 39th birthday…also no one will forget what year (2017) she turned 39. I am realizing I am somehow managing to turn your birthday into being about me, which is utterly not the point, but whatever...I know you and you will not see it that way. Our love and friendship is blind, which has benefitted me immensely more than you.
I have a group of besties, four girls that I love and even though there are times we don’t talk because of distance or fighting I will always love them and consider them my group of girls.
But this one isn’t one of those girls. This is my best friend all on her own. Singular. Her and I. It was just us two, our own little group in high school and for the rest of my life we have always been just us. And there is nothing about us I would change. I am the luckiest woman I know for many reasons and my reasons start with this girl…
Dear best friend,
On this your 39th birthday, the one year I have remembered in 25 years of birthdays together, I am writing a love letter to our friendship.
Looking across the freshman hall at you 25 years ago, trying to figure out why the guy friend of mine that I had the biggest crush on thought you were just the most wonderful thing on earth. That minute I was sure I was going to hate your guts. The next minute you saw me glaring at you and said something to me…I have no idea what it was, but we ended up walking together to our next class and the rest is 24 years of me not remembering your birthday.
You were, and still are the quietest person I know. I mean, you are quiet in that you barely talk, but also your voice is like a whisper…totally just like me. You almost never swear, ever…also just like me. You are the black hair to my blonde hair, the tan to my transparent whitest skin there ever was (seriously looking at old pictures I am see-thru skin color, I didn't even know that was a thing) and the size zero to my size…well shit, let's just say, also totally just like me.
Good and bad fights, boys, other friends (remember Peggy the girl I hated that always wanted to be your bff?), kids, husbands (in that order), living in other states, divorces and now remarriages and more kids between us, and we are still here.
Your dad taking us to White Castle and then the gas station to buy $100 worth of lotto tickets, I don’t think he ever won.
Going to parties with me because I wanted to…I always wanted to be cool, you never gave a shit and in turn were always way cooler than me.
Prom together. Thank you for wearing the same dress (different color) as me. You were thinner and hotter than me, but, I was the blonde one. Driving to prom in matching neon colored mustangs while wearing the same dress with dates who were besties also made it awesome. Bud boy and Bud man on their license plates was super. Super awesome.
I wore the most ridiculous white platform heels to high school graduation and fell across the stage. You laughed at me. It was the most appropriate response. And because you laughed so did I, right through the embarrassment. You knew how to do that. My middle name is Grace, my parents must have been hopeful I would have some, sadly, no.
You had a dog I was absolutely terrified of, well your family had multiple dogs I was terrified of, but that one Chow dog. I don't care what anyone says, that son of bitch bit me! Stop laughing about it already.
I went to college (sort of) and you went into the air force. This was our first away time from each other. We survived it. And then came air force graduation. I was so proud and excited cause that meant I got to take a weekend trip to San Antonio. THE Texas trip. Me, your mom, your aunt, your brother and the San Antonio River walk…I mean, do I even have to say anything else? Ok, one other thing, there was margaritas too, Olive Garden margaritas. The entire weekend is legendary.
I could write for days all that has been between us, but I don’t really need to tell you because you lived it with me.
I have been to all the holidays with your family, they are my family too. And I love them...even the dogs.
That one time you moved to Florida…yeah that sucked and not seeing your face for like a year was horrible, but whatever, we were fine.
That’s the thing about us, we are always fine. Our lives are busy, we both have a million kids and see each other’s faces like once a year now if we are lucky, but I swear to god, I can text you one sentence and you get the whole f--king story just like that. We pick up like we saw each other yesterday or talked last week.
There is never judgement, ever. No matter what. And when I have felt my absolute lowest, you are there, sometimes to tell me I am right to feel that low, but nevertheless to tell me what to do, how to move on and how to get my shit back together.
I have always been there to pick you up when you thought you couldn’t get up. Mostly by doing something ridiculous that forced you to get up to help me or get me out of it, but it was always to make you laugh. And I always succeeded.
You have accepted my craziness and clumsiness and silliness. You make me comfortable with all those things about me.
You are what a best friend looks like and what I hope my daughter sees when she looks at her best friend.
Sometimes I am terrible friend, not just to you, but to others too, but you…you are forgiveness and you are always a fresh start when I need one.
I tell my new husband about you, and he doesn’t understand. He says, “how can she be your best friend when I have never met her?”
Just wait, I tell him. When you see us together you will get it.
Happy birthday. You will be forty before I will, in case you ever forget that. xoxo