When I was in 6th grade, I took an after-school dance class. On the first day of class, I met a girl named Laura. She was homeschooled, which was weird and AWESOME, because who gets to stay home from school all day? She was blonde and bubbly and totally at ease with herself, which, come to find out, is an anomaly when it comes to homeschoolers.
No offense – I was a homeschooler myself for a time.
That very first day, we found out that we had the same birthday (“Shut UP – MY birthday is August 4!”).
She became my very best friend.
We did everything together – sleepovers every weekend, family vacations, dance classes, singing for church, talking about boys. She was 2 years older, and so when she was 16, she taught me to drive in church parking lots and on dirt roads. We experienced joy and pain and drama and silliness side by side. I honestly believe that I would not have survived junior high if it hadn’t been for Laura.
In 2000, I moved to Seattle to go to college, and Laura got engaged to a Canadian. Our lives have taken us in very different directions, both literally and figuratively. We have lived thousands of miles apart, me pursuing a degree and a big-city life in Seattle and now in Nashville, and she living in small towns in Canada and Colorado. As a result of our circumstances, our priorities have been different. All signs point to the fact that we should not be friends. The discrepancies in our lives are vast.
But we are friends. We are wonderful, close friends. Despite the distance of miles and dreams and priorities, we remain cheerleaders for each other.
Yesterday, Laura had her third baby. Their first boy, Wyatt Jackson, joined big sisters Annabelle and Kate. An hour after the birth, Laura was on the phone to me, holding Wyatt on her chest and asking me how Nashville is, wanting to know about my love life.
She is selfless and patient and smart and supportive. She is an amazing mother to her three kids, and a loving wife to her husband. She is capable and kind and beautiful. She is steadfast. She is living a life so different from my own, and yet, I deeply respect her life, and watch in wonder.
I love you, Laura. You are so heroic. I am amazed by your outlook on life, and the way that you are raising your kids to be excellent humans. I am impressed by your ability to keep everything spinning, even with Jack gone for work so much of the time. I am proud of the woman that you have become. I am grateful for your continued presence in my life.
And I am jealous of how good you look after birthing an 8 lb. 8 oz child.