This is an unapologetically mushy post about my best friend from high school, Kara. With some super nerdy pictures thrown in for fun.
When I was a kid we moved a lot by necessity. My dad died when I was young and my mom and I moved based on where she found the best jobs. Usually within the same city, but I changed schools more than a couple times, so I didn't keep a lot of close friends from my early school years.
That all changed my sophomore year of high school when I walked into my English class and a skinny, cute girl with glasses took me firmly under her wing and started gossiping with me immediately. Little did I know that she and I would go through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows together over the next thirteen years. As a parts of our awesomely cool club JELKS, Kara and I thoroughly enjoyed high school in the dorkiest of ways.
Together, we made up our own languages, did terrible pencil drawings of boys we had crushes on, making them sit in trees and say funny things, overanalyzed every word and phrase that was uttered to or by us to an alarming extreme, and went to Burger King and the local elementary school a whole lot to sit on the walking bridge and think about life.
Together, we had code names for everyone, insisted on approving boys for each other before we were allowed to like them, and had weekly phone dates after our high school days were through. Each week I'd keep a literal hard copy of a list of topics that I needed to talk to her about. It was with Kara that I discovered the name Jace, had disco parties in dorm rooms, and talked through seemingly devastating break ups with, both mine and hers.
Together we learned how to navigate life as adults, even though we were across the country from one another. We made a pact not to go longer than six months without seeing one another, with me making one trip to Indiana and her making a trip to Florida each year. On one of those trips, Kara ended up in the ICU with a complication of diabetes, and I lied my butt off and insisted I was her sister so I could be with her, leaving my my four month old baby at home for the first time. Together, we became real family to one another. She never made me feel like I was cramping her style dragging all my kids with us wherever we went, even though I probably was.
Together we went on cruises with other very close friends and danced until the craving for midnight pizza overtook us. We laughed until we cried and wrote down quotes that cracked us up at the moment but we wouldn't understand the next day. We ate too much buffet food and always went back for seconds.
When Eli died, I was afraid to ask people from Indiana to come for the memorial. I thought it would be too much of an imposition. She never let me ask. Instead, she informed me that she'd be there, no matter what, and she was. She helped shop for his memory book, she distracted me, and she was right there through the entire service.
Together, we've navigated staying friends as life gets more complicated and husbands and children get added. Although we've gone months without talking at times, we always pick up right where we left off. She has never forgotten a birthday, and she always sends the kids fun and educational gifts. She listens when I blather on about car seats, and she doesn't just listen...she believes what I say and shares it with others. Even though she knew me as a flaky, ditzy high school kid, she has always respected my opinion and not held idiotic things I did in the past against me. It hasn't all been easy...I ached for her when she miscarried twins last year, and I was far away and felt helpless to do anything. I've hated being so far away from the girl who has known me longest.
I cried through my matron of honor speech at her wedding and years later, I feel the same way. I have been blessed to have her in my life for all these years and I feel doubly blessed now to be within two hours of seeing her anytime I want. She's the best, and when I'm with her I feel complete, knowing I'm with someone who knows me backwards and forwards, who I don't have to relate backstory to or explain my reasoning with. I've been blessed by some amazing best friends, all who I thank God for every day, but Kara came into my life at a time when I really needed her, and we've stuck this friendship out.
And so tomorrow, when I actually get to attend the baby shower I thought I'd be across the country for, I will be thinking of all these years and all these things we've been through together, and so thankful that we get to go through another huge milestone of life together, as she gets ready to welcome her son. And I'm not a little excited that finally, finally, we are pregnant at the same time after years of wishing things would line up properly for our personal timelines. I hope these newest boys are as close as we have been.