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Class of 2016!

May 4, 2016

We were  12 together.

In dance class.

We wore costumes on stage and in real life pretending to be cooler than we were.

More self assured than we were.

We had silent fights over a boy.

But, deep down, I always liked a girl who was tough.

Who was smart.

Who was pretty.

Who knew better than to fight over a boy for more than a minute.

And that was her.

We were 15 together.

Sophomore year English class.

There she was – last name VanBuren.  Mine, Woodworth.

And I sat right behind her in English class.

We copied off each other’s notes.

We rolled our eyes at the teacher.

We exchanged phone numbers.

That was it.

We were besties from then on.

Through the most amazingly, awful times a person can go through.

Her Dad was a drunk

Mine was MIA.

Her Mom was sick.

Mine was mental.

Her boyfriend was a jerk.

My boyfriend was his bestfriend.

And then he died.

For months, my knees were weak.

She held me up and told me to walk.

She cut me no slack.

She expected me to come out with friends on Friday.

She expected me to get my ass to school on Monday.

She wrote me notes during the school day.

She made me laugh so hard I cried – a very difficult thing to do for a very long time.

She helped me look cute for weekend parties.

She told me I looked good.

Or I looked stupid depending only on the truth.

Family life got impossible for her with a Step Dad that didn’t deserve such an honorable title

and she moved in with me and my crazy (but loving) Mom.

We shared a room and kept each other company for months.

She was the closest thing I had ever known to a sister.

And I loved it.

I loved her.

She was a bad ass bitch.

Nobody fucked with her.

She was tough, and tall, and brilliant.

If she were born to different circumstances she would have been a doctor or an Olympic athlete or a model.

But, there we were little hoodrats in Benson just hoping to graduate from high school.

Senior year was the best.

We both graduated early in January.

“Fuck the dumb shit,” we said.

We needed out of this place.

We needed our own place.

Both of us.

Little did we know that our ‘own place’ also meant that we needed a break from this friendship that had defined us for all of our high school years.

But ‘the break’ happened.

It was distinct.

It was painful.

It was sudden.

It was for real.

And, then there was you.

I was suddenly absent from her life through petty fights about who knows what

our lives were suddenly separated

and she was now pregnant and going to start a family.

I was shocked.

And I had no way to understand what she was going through.

And I’m fairly sure I did a miserable job trying.

I was 19 and selfish.

She was 19 and figuring out bigger things that her high school best friend.

But, the next time I saw my best friend for the last 3 years after finding out a baby was on the way, I knew this.

She walked with a love I had no way to understand.

She had a faith that I’d never seen in my bestie.

She had a purpose and a mission that no longer cared what anybody thought about anything.

Least of all, me.

It would take me years to experience my own Motherhood and finally make sense of this reality, but today I certainly do ‘get it.’

You were a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

She knew.

She knew you would be amazing.

She knew you would be brilliant.

She knew you would be the best thing she has ever done.

She knew you would be the future she had longed for.

The son she would cherish more than anything else in this world.

And her best friend could kiss her ass.

She had shit to do.

And, a new best friend in you in so many ways.

And it didn’t involve parties, or boys or asking my opinion.

The truth is, at the time, all this broke my heart.

I wasn’t ready to let her go.

I wasn’t ready for life on my own without her.

I wasn’t ready for someone else to take center stage in her life and it was very hard for me.

And, then, for the first time, when you were two, I met you.

And I saw the stars in your eyes and the love she had poured into you rustling in your hair.

Beaming in your smile.

Twinkling in your mischievous little smile.

And I knew my friend had become a Mom.

And a damn good one.

And I was so proud of her.

And I was so happy for you.

Knowing that she would raise up a good boy.

With love and intelligence and shelter.

And I know, nobody is perfect as a parent.

It is in fact, a very difficult job.

But I also know.

That in the history of baby boys born to Mom’s who weren’t planning it that way.

Nobody has ever been loved quite like you.

No boy has ever been trusted as much as she has trusted you.

No boy has ever been empowered quite like you.

No boy has ever owned his Momma’s heart quite like you’ve owner hers from the moment she knew you existed.

So, today, here we are celebrating such a significant milestone in your life.

And I have to tell you all this.

And, Brian, I need for you to know – to really consider – to fully believe me when I tell you.

She did it all for you.

She sacrificed so much of her 20’s and her 30’s in order to do the right thing by you.

Someday, you will know the love of having children of your own, but today,

For now, all you need to do

Is look at her.

Look at that smile.

Look at that pride.

Look at the beautiful woman that made so many decisions over and over that were not about what she wanted

and instead, were ALWAYS about what she wanted for YOU

and promise me that you will call.

Promise me that you will never forget a birthday or a Mother’s Day.

Promise me that you will never forget where you are from

and who loves you.

You can always call home

You can always come home

and waiting there will be a girl, who right before my eyes,

Grew up into a woman who loves you more than anybody has ever loved their son.

With every step, with every success, with every accomplishment

remember to tell her, “Thank You.”

She gave you everything she never had.

During years when truthfully, there just wasn’t that much to give.

And, the love poured into you shows every time I see you.

Shows in your walk.

Shows in your manners.

Shows in your confidence.

Shows in your talent.

As her highschool bestie, I couldn’t be more proud.

Of Her.

and of You.

Now, Go get em!

The world is all yours!






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