Well, it has actually been building up to today. Rylee's BFF at school, Madeline, has a birthday
today. Rylee had me mark this on the calendar about two weeks ago. Last week she picked out
a few presents to give her friend. And yesterday morning she picked out what she would wear on
Madeline's bday. Her shirt says something about friends on it. She wore this same shirt on their
first play date some months ago. Out of the few things Rylee picked out for Madeline, the one she
was most excited to give her was the "Best Friends Forever" necklace from Claire's. She didn't
even want to wait until she got to school; she said she wanted to give it to her on the bus. I could
actually see Rylee opening her backpack to retrieve the inexpensive treasure as her bus pulled away
this morning. I smiled because my heart was so happy to see my daughter starting to enjoy giving.
I'm not delusional, she's six, and she’s all about receiving gifts. I just couldn't help but be excited at
the joy she was experiencing over thinking about someone besides herself or someone in her family.
She notices things she wants to buy for other people more and more. Granted, she's not forking over
the money, and we have to say no often, but it's the thought that counts!
|Before my sixth grade "graduation". Lisa sat through the absurdity, then we went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch!|
All this to say, I realized the first person, other than a family member, I was excited about giving
presents to and making cards for was Lisa. We grew up across the street from each other. Her older
brothers babysat my siblings and me. We swam together, built forts, watched the Monkees, stuck up
for each other, wrote letters to each other even when we lived just across the street, and also when Lisa
moved away. Lisa was happy to let me do her chores, because to me, feeding her farm animals was
new and exciting. For Lisa it was avoiding a monotonous task she had to complete daily. She
introduced me to pomegranates and kumquats, they grew in her backyard. I also enjoyed one soda
a week on Saturdays thanks to her mom, Sue. Sue also prepared us the most amazing after-swim-meet
breakfasts. Sue can cook a mean waffle.
Lisa was a grade ahead of me and when she moved away, I was devastated. I didn't know how I would
make it in Jr. High without her. I did it, but it wasn't easy. I visited Lisa every chance I got.
She moved to a place where it snowed and we took advantage of sledding in the great outdoors.
Time passed and the letters dissipated. Then I moved even farther away, to another state and it got
harder to maintain our friendship. We were learning how to navigate high school, boys,
peer pressure, life. We were figuring out who we were and that takes a lot of time and energy. When
I visited California I would see Lisa and marvel at how much she changed. She got so tall! But for all
the changing we were doing, going from girls to young women, Lisa didn't stop being my friend.
The girl I grew up with was still there, thank goodness. Now we talk once or twice a year. We live in
different states and far from where we grew up. We both married men named John and we both have
beautiful girls of our own. We've experienced significant loss but know God has a plan for us. We
know we aren't each others BFFs anymore and that's okay. We're still friends and love each other.
It's the sweetest end to an era when it fades but doesn't leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
I still have the half of my “Best Friend Forever” necklace that Lisa gave me. I don't remember when
she gave it to me. I don't remember if it was for a birthday or Christmas or when she moved. It really
doesn't matter. It’s one of my prized possessions. I still have the card she made me when I got the
chicken pox, also a prized possession. I cherish the fact she came to my wedding, and regret I couldn't
make it to hers. No matter what, I had an amazing childhood and one of the biggest parts of that was
because of Lisa. I know my daughter may not have this current BFF, Madeline, forever, but her
memories are starting now. She's learning what it means to be a friend. I'm glad I had someone like
Lisa to help me learn how to be a friend.