January 18th is the birthday of my best friend, Dee.
I met Dee in 6th grade. That was the year that all the county elementary schools merged into one school.
Funny thing was, I actually met Dee years before, but it was many, many years later before we realized it. I really met Dee for the first time at a birthday party I attended when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I was attending the party of my friend Natalie -- she was a friend from church. Most of other girls there were her friends from school so I didn't know most of them. Very early in the evening, it became clear that two other girls and I, well, we just didn't measure up. We were excluded from every activity and when it came time to go to bed, Natalie informed the three of us that she and all the other girls were taking their sleeping bags to her room. WE were not invited. WE had to stay in the living room.
But, we made the best of it and the three of us actually had a good time. I never knew the names of the other girls, or if I knew them I forgot them.
Years passed and Dee and I were talking about her birthday, which was the day before Natalie's (we were all still in school together). Dee remarked "Well, the worst birthday I ever had was when I had to spend my birthday at Natalie's house and she went off and left me out in the living room with two other girls!"
"That was me!" I cried. By this point we had been friends for quite some time and we couldn't believe the coincidence.
Although I met Dee again in sixth grade, it wasn't really until seventh grade that we became close. I've mentioned before that when I was in seventh grade, every single friend I had turned on me and refused to talk to me for several days. Everyone but Dee. I remember she chased me down as I was walking out of the school one afternoon and said "I'm not afraid to talk to you." I'm not sure she'll ever know how much that meant to me. She, who I had only known for a short while, showed me a greater kindness than some girls I had known my whole life.
Below is the "friend photo" that Dee and I had made in middle school. We were on the yearbook staff together. We spent nearly every weekend at each other's houses. We even went to the eighth grade spring dance together. I have a photo of us at that dance, plus a LOT of others, in my attic but it was way too spidery to even contemplate! Sorry, Dee!
And we remained best friends all through high school. My high school was small-ish -- my graduating class had 197 people in it, if I remember correctly. And since Dee and I were both in college prep courses, we had most of our classes together.
Here we are in AP Calculus, hence the excitement radiating from our faces:
We even roomed together in college. And unfortunately, our friendship faltered for a while. Okay, okay, I let a boy come between us. I liked him. She didn't. A LOT. I moved out. Unfortunately, she was right about him but pride got in the way -- my way -- and we didn't speak for a long time. I can't remember exactly how the breach was healed -- who made the first move, etc. -- but eventually we made our way back to each other. I don't know if I ever told her I'm sorry, but I am. Sorry that I let that happen. If only I could have told myself these things way back then, I could have saved myself a LOT of grief.
I still consider Dee my best friend. Though she only lives about 40 miles away, we don't get to see each other nearly as often as I would like. She has a full time job and two kids, plus her husband is a farmer on top of HIS full time job, so she stays pretty busy.
But I just wanted to take this opportunity to honor Dee's birthday. And say thanks for being my friend. Happy Birthday!
6 years ago