August 16, 2011

There are friends, and then there are friends. (Alternate title: Happy birthday)

(Before I start I want to say: I don't think it's an actual birthday cake, but how great is this cupcake caterpillar?? I wuv him. Anyway. Pretend he's a birthday cake. 'Kay?)

Friendship is funny.

When I met Kylee (of Two Pretzels) fame, she was a college freshman with a mass of reddish-brown hair piled on top of her head, adorable clothes and a giant smile. I was going through a massive transition in my life, and she was one of the first friendly faces I'd seen in a loooong time. I'm sure we weren't friends instantaneously, but it felt like it.

What I remember most about the early days of our friendship is that we laughed.a.LOT. We co-edited our college newspaper, and every week we were up until 3 a.m., trying to meet our deadline, editing hopelessly unreadable articles from our columnists and singing Sting songs in ridiculous accents while our friends brought us Taco Bell.

Our office was at the very tippity-top of the oldest building on campus, and the only bathroom in the entire building was in the basement, only accessible by traversing three flights of stairs through a pitch-black building. We only braved the trip as a pair, taking turns clutching one another and clutching a gigantic umbrella that we wielded against potential predators. (I still have that umbrella. It's a formidable weapon.) Those are still my favorite memories of college, bar none.

And then I graduated. She transferred. We emailed all the time, but we rarely saw one another. We moved in with our respective boyfriends. Then we married them. Then she moved to Mexico.

Through all of life's changes, this was a constant: Kylee was as close as an email or an instant message (we did a lot of the latter in pre-texting days). And she was really THERE. She is not a friend who always leads in with "GUESS what HAPPENED to ME, OMG, my drama my drama my drama." She wants to know what's happening with you. Not only that, she actually CARES, AND she remembers the details of what you told her last time.

She thinks about you when you're not in constant contact.

She prays for you.

When you get sick, she will recite a poem to you about germs in tiny bowling shoes.

She will be outraged with you. She will also tell you when you are being unreasonable. :)

She has an amazing, full, wonderful life. She's a wife and mother and daughter and sister and, I swear, probably has more friends than me and every other friend of mine combined...but you'd never know it to talk to her. That doesn't sound right; what I mean is: Kylee makes you feel IMPORTANT. As though she has all the time in the world to listen to YOU and think about how to help with whatever you're going through. I'm here to say that I truly have no idea how she does that. It is truly a gift.

Today is her birthday. She is, like me, a Leo, so I know she loves her birthday and being the center of attention. :) (That's something else that's amazing about her: She loves to be the focus of the room, but she makes sure you're the focus, too. How does she do that? I have no idea.)

This has been an especially challenging year for me, both professionally and personally. And while I have an amazing husband, supportive family and wonderful friends, I'd be lying if I didn't attribute a big part of the fact that I'm still standing here to my friend, this birthday girl.

Kylee, I want to tell you: I CHERISH you as my friend. You inspire me for many reasons, in many different parts of my life, but I especially want you to know that you inspire me to be a better friend. There is really just no one -- in my life, in LIFE -- quite like you. You deserve every little bit of happiness that can be squeezed out of one life, and I hope that today, you get as much as you can of that. With your C and your girls and your Ferg, I know you will. :)

Thank you for being my friend -- for the past 14 years and until we're old and can't remember who we are anymore. I absolutely love you to pieces!

7 backtalk:

Amber said...

Tears.

Kylee is pretty cool.

(And I think so are you to appreciate and describe this friendship so well. I bet a lot of people would just take it for granted.)

Mickey D. said...

For real. Tears.

Kylee is pretty amazing, isn't she?

You know what's funny? There are probably 78 people who could write this tribute (although perhaps none quite so eloquently)because she is this exact friend to EVERYONE. She is a 100% friend. She's all in. She's committed. We are lucky to have her.

I'd like to wish you Happy Kylee's Birthday! 'Tis a day we all should celebrate.

wrestling kitties said...

Oh this is such a lovely post! I loved reading your story and had tears reading about the friendship.

And it is true...that IS Kylee 100%. She is there for you NO MATTER WHAT and she truly cares.

Happy birthday to such a very very special person!

Abbe said...

what a beautiful post, s, for a beautiful friend. kudos. :)

Ky • twopretzels.com said...

Oh for the love of all things mighty and good, stop it.

Sweet friend, oh how I love you.

This post? Too much. Ridiculousness. You are far too kind with your comments. But, I will forgive you for your sweeping generalities.

Clearly, you're intoxicated.

(hee hee.)

--

Friend,
I love you.

These words? Those memories? Our friendship? This post?

Oh, Shannon -- I cherish them, too.

Love you.
Thank you for taking the time to write this in the midst of what I KNOW is a crazy-busy time for you.

I love you.
You're part of my heart.

me

Iris Took said...

Wow - this is quite amazing....and TRUE. Oh how true. I love the part about being the center of the room but also making you feel important at the same time...HOW DOES SHE DO IT? Kylee is so amazing. We LOVE HER!

Kylee - you have bonded all kinds of people together that would have never known one another. Your talents are endless it seems.

SnappyTulip said...

That is a cool caterpillar cake! I want to make it.
Of course I do.

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