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You Don’t Always Get To Pick Your Friends

For the record, I never wanted to be her friend.

Her reputation preceded her and quite frankly, I wanted nothing to do with her.

For starters she was in second grade. Do you realize what hanging out with a second grader can do to a third grader’s social standing?

Secondly, she was a minor celebrity in our school. She had a recurring role on the monthly “soap drama” broadcast school-wide. This was usually a privilege reserved for 6th graders, but she scored the much-coveted role of the younger sister of one of the characters. You know how these celeb-types can be: very demanding and self-involved. No thank you.

But despite my protests, my parents bought the house next to hers anyway.

From day one I found her to be a nuisance. The moving truck had yet to pull away from our house and there she was, knocking on our door, asking if I could come over to play. My parents, eager to get me out of the house while they unpacked, quickly shoved me out the door and told me they’d call me home for dinner. It was 10 AM.

I must admit playing at her house was pretty cool. She was an only child so the two of us basically had the run of the place. No older brothers to share the basement rec room with. No younger siblings taking a nap, forcing us to be quiet. I soon found myself actually enjoying her company.

In the years that followed, we became like sisters. Since we were in different grades, we each had our own “real friends.” But after school and during the summer, we were inseparable. We’d fight. I’d go home. An hour later we’d make up.

As we grew into adults, we remained close friends. She was the maid of honor at my wedding. I was the matron of honor at hers.

Currently we live 1,000 miles apart. We live very different lives. We are two very different people. You might think I’m exaggerating. Surely we aren’t that different. I urge you to check out her blog: Read a few posts. I’ll wait right here. It’s okay, you can go. Trust me, after a few clicks, you’ll see what I mean. She’s a walking Pinterest board.

So you can imagine my hesitation when I traveled to stay with her last week. I was attending a conference in her city. She made it clear that she’d be offended if I didn’t stay with her. This trip would be the longest we’ve been together since college. I’ll admit I was nervous.

It did not take long to realize things were going to be fine. Fashion preferences aside, we were the same two giggly girls from childhood.

Neither of us have sisters but I’d imagine this is what having a sister is like. You don’t get to pick your sister. I didn’t pick Katie. But she shares a piece of me that few others do. She shares my childhood. She was there on the summer nights catching lightening bugs at dusk. She was there building snowmen on snow days in the winter. She was there when I had my first kiss with the neighbor boy on her swing set. I realize that sounds odd; having an audience for your first kiss is not desirable. However, it was her coaxing that made the kiss happen. The neighbor boy and I were far too shy to come up with that idea on our own.

I’m thankful for the shared memories of our childhood. Those memories are what hold us together. No amount of miles, or Pinterest boards, can change that.