Circa 1994... maybe 93? Before baby, but not long before.
Actually, 'one of my very best friends' is probably an inaccurate statement. L has been more of a sister to me than a friend, especially considering we've known each other since we were about this old:
Younger, even. My pictures of that time are scarce.
I cannot remember a time in my life L was not a part of. Sacraments, vacations, parties, weddings.... Lots and lots and lots of good times.
I have approximately 70,000 pictures of us dancing over the years. I WISH these pictures were more scarce.
And lots of not-so-good times. I think I said at her wedding that I could truly say we had been through it all together (which is funny, because we've been through so much since that wedding day). It's cliche, but in L's case, it's true. L has been by my side THROUGH IT ALL.
This is how we used to dress in high school. Legit.
So yes. Back to the baby she had at seventeen.
I remember the day that she called me to tell me. 'I'm going to be a Mom,' she said. THOSE were her words. And I was a kid at the time, pretty sure I knew everything and unable to grasp the gravity of what she'd just told me.
'Dude,' I probably said. 'Woah.'
That night, I told my mom. She was devastated. I think she cried all night long. I remember thinking, 'Geez, it's not that big of a deal, is it?'
Because I was a baby myself. And didn't know the first thing about anything.
So back to the baby she had:
I have about a trillion baby pics of D, but they are all at my Mom's house. Grr, technology!
You know how the word 'amazing' is totally overused now? And it's really irritating because it's kind of lost its meaning?
Well, in D's, case, it truly applies. I mean, truly. This kid is and always has been amazing. This week he graduated high school with countless honors and scholarships. He's off to college to study Bible and Political Science.
Let that sink in for a second. Bible. And Political Science.
This was the week I moved to China. L helped arrange the surprise goodbye party. Lots of crying.
D deserves his own post. Proud seems like such a stupid word. I'm beyond proud. BEYOND. This week I sent him a text saying as much, and this was his response:
Thank you so much. I wouldn't be here without your help to my mom when I was young and throughout high school for me.
Which of course made me cry. Because I didn't do much of anything, and yet there he was, on HIS big day, acknowledging me.
That is what I mean by amazing.
So I've been reflecting on this all year. How far D has come, how much has happened in the eighteen years since that phone call.
'I'm going to be a Mom.'
We had no idea.
See how we're kinda laughing here? That's because L is on her knees in this pic. My friends are tall.
Because I honestly did not understand-- truly understand-- all that L endured and triumphed over until I had children of my own.
I remember calling L at one point when Anna looked a lot like this:
I was crying because that's what new moms do all the time, and I asked her, 'Why didn't you tell me it was going to be this hard?'
And she said, 'Aw, honey...
'Because I didn't want to ruin it for you.'
So as much as this week is about D, and all he has accomplished, and all he's about to accomplish, I had to pause today and give L the props I failed to give her all these years. Her story could have been so different. So could D's. So could mine, so could any woman in her thirties, I guess. But what set L apart then, and continues to, is her unwavering strength and conviction. It's no accident that D is the young man he is-- he has a incredible mom who made countless sacrifices for him and loves him unconditionally.
These guys are both pretty lucky to have this lady in their lives:
Loving K and L in the background... sorry guys.
And I'm beyond lucky to have her as an inspiration and friend.