(30 Days of Truth – Day 21 – Write about your best friend (not significant other) and what makes them special)
I’ve been excited about today’s topic since I first read the list. There was no question in my mind who I would write about, but what I would write has been a work in progress for 17 years. I first met Ashley in January, 1994 when we started working together as pharmacy technicians. Only back then, she wasn’t Ashley Lambert, she was Elizabeth Childree, or El for short. Same person, two entirely different personalities, but I guess 17 years can do that to a person. It still blows my mind that we ever became friends in the first place, but that we’ve survived all that we have is simply miraculous.
When I met Ashley, she was just 18 years old, a newlywed and brand new to the area. She was very young and I did not take to her right away. As a matter of fact, I actually kind of avoided her when I could. The funny thing is I can’t even remember the reasons why I didn’t much like her those first few months, just that I didn’t.
My memory is a little foggy on the details that surrounded the event that changed everything about our relationship, but it goes something like this. She and her husband were riding through our neighborhood and we just happened to be outside. They stopped to say hello. This was the first time that our (first) husbands had met and they struck up an immediate friendship. Well, one thing led to another and the next thing I know, the four of us are drunk as sailors. I have vague recollections of table dances, people passed out on the front lawn and ….. I think I’ll stop there. Let’s just say a bond was formed and Ashley and I have never looked back.
Over the next 17 years we would experience infidelity and divorce, new cities, new states, career changes, distance, financial woes, vacations, college and then college again, births, boys and more boys, deaths, name changes, new loves, stepchildren and children. When my father was dying, Ashley drove 100 miles to be by my side without a moment of hesitation. When I needed a vacation from life, Ashley was always ready with a packed bag. When I needed to vent about my mother, Ashley always had a very sympathetic ear. We even share a love for cats that binds us in a crazy cat-lady kind of way. And don’t even get me started on the drunken stupidness, or was it stupid drunkenness? I really don’t know how we survived some of those nights. She has never made me feel bad that for 15 years I could not remember her birthday if my life depended on it.
Ashley has been a constant in my life through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. She’s provided laughter when I needed it most and silence when I needed that, too. She’s always known exactly what I needed at the moment I needed it. She’s never questioned me and has allowed me to make mistakes without an ounce of judgment. She’s been the first one in line to praise me when I’ve done a good thing and to reassure my faith in myself when I had none. The bond that we share is solid to our core. It’s tied together by common threads we’ve woven with our relationship together and our experiences beyond that with other people in our lives. She understands my soul and why I think the way I do and what makes me tick from the inside out.
The last few years have seen Ashley and I both leave our home states to make a new life in Florida with the wonderful new men in our lives. Ashley is now a mother to two of the prettiest babies you’ve ever seen. Oh yeah, and a third one on the way. If someone had told me 17 or 10 or even 6 years ago that our lives would lead to where we are now, I would have said they were crazy. We’ve been through a lot to get to this point in our lives but we’ve managed to make it here only with the knowledge that we are always just a phone call away. We may not see each other very often but we talk frequently and we know that no distance in miles will ever create distance between our hearts.
Ashley, I know I don’t ever tell you but I want to tell you now. I love you. I’m so happy that you came into my life. You have enriched it in ways that you can’t imagine. I’m not sure I would have made it through some of the trials of my life without the knowledge that you were there beside me, even when you weren’t. Thank you for being my best friend.
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