I don't remember much of what came before the note; how we met in seventh grade and what led up to the point of us actually becoming friends. When I think back on the start of our friendship, it is always at the starting place of "Will you be my best friend? Circle Yes or No." That was almost 20 years ago.
Seventh grade was really our very best and closest time in our friendship. Does a more awkward phase of anyone's life exist more so than seventh grade? I tend to believe that year is the epitome of weird and honestly, I am so glad that we went through it as official "Best Friends," (somewhere there is paperwork and necklaces to prove it).
In seventh grade, I mainly cared about laughing and having a best friend. There wasn't much concern yet about being cool (that just didn't appear to even be an option yet) and sure, we had crushes on boys (there is also paperwork to prove that entitled "The Love Book" by Jess & Tab), but mostly that year was about figuring out what I thought was funny or interesting and who had the same weirdo humor as me. Turns out, it was you.
That year was full of passing notes, making up knicknames for everything, melting cheese onto paper (honestly, why?), and sleepovers. We'd call each other the moment we got home from school despite the fact that we had just spent the entire day talking to each other. My favorite moment, especially now as a mum to a future teenage girl, was when we thought we were so daring and rebellious for going to the mall and buying make-up compacts without telling our parents. How I hope and pray that is as wild as our daughters will be at that age.
After that year, we remained close friends, but lots of other things started to become more important in our lives as teenagers. Being cool was a viable choice we had, boyfriends became real instead of just names doodled in hearts, other friends moved into the 'best friend' slot for a short time depending on sport/activity season, classes, or summer vacation. But all along, we were friends...and nearly 20 years later, we still are.
We get together much less often than I'd like; living three hours from each other and having husbands, children, and friends of our own. But I appreciate so much that when we are together it is in comfortable ease that we play catch up, and recount stories, and laugh.
Because when it comes down to it, it was you that was there for the 'one hand in my pocket and the other one giving a peace sign,' and you were there for the Birds video, the American flag bathing suits (matching might I add), Merrill Bainbridge, and so much more that is cringe worthy now but only warranted hysterical, unabashed giggling back then.
Thank you Jess for being my friend through so much of my life; all of high school, through college, weddings, moving, babies and motherhood.
But even more so, thank you for being my Best Friend during the year that maybe mattered the most. The year that is painfully awkward and that maybe if I didn't have you as a best friend I would have turned out less confident or somehow less myself. Your friendship back then helped me feel comfortable with the me I was turning out to be.
I hope so much that my kids have a Best Friend like you when seventh grade and all of its awkward glory rolls around.