>We all have that friend, don’t we?  The friend we’ve known forever.  The friend we got in our trouble with.  The friend we spent morning, noon and night with.  The friend we feel at home with – even if it’s been a while since we were last together.  The friend that completed our youth.  This is a little post about my friend – Jaime.

Proudly wearing our new band t-shirts – Senior year 1998

I have many close friends.  I am so blessed to have a handful of women who I love dearly, who have been there for me for what seems like my entire life.  Jaime is different though.  Something inside of me knew the minute I met Jaime that my life would never be the same.  She has been my kindred spirit for a long time.

We have gone through a lot together.  Hair changes (many – on my part.  She was my personal hair stylist when we were younger!), boyfriends (oh geez…), sneaking out, our first drinks, learning to drive, high school band and all the craziness that goes with it, etc.  As we have grown from teenagers to women, our lives have changed greatly.  Marriage, growing apart a bit, learning to live as adults.  These are hard things to grow into.  And although we don’t see each other nearly as much as we should or would like, she still feels like home to me.  She’s like a lighthouse for me – always beaconing me back to my foundations in the midst of my crazy life.

Senior prom – 1998

Despite years of “I’m never going to have children,” and “I’m just going to be an aunt,” Jaime is getting ready to welcome her baby girl, Sophia Lyn, into the world in a little over a month.  Nothing ever really prepares you for this.  For your best friend, your partner in crime, to become a MOTHER.  It seems so weird.  I mean, we’re just KIDS, right?  But at the same time, it feels so natural.  Like she’s been moving towards this the entire time I’ve known her.

Checking out our friend’s new house – 1996 or 97?

I can’t wait to meet her little girl.  I can’t wait to snuggle her and someday tell her about just how crazy her mama is.  Someday Matt and I will welcome a child to our lives as well, and I can’t wait for our kids to be friends.

Mini-Olympics 1998 – We got in big trouble for our outfits, but had a great time anyway!

Growing old can be hard, but days like these I am so grateful for the lives Jaime and I are leading together but separately.  Our shared history will surely lead to a fantastic future, don’t you think?

At Jaime’s baby shower – not sure what’s up with my face, but she looks great, doesn’t she? 🙂

>It’s 9:00 – do you know where your JOY is?

>oh HAI! Remember me? Yeah, me either. It’s been a little crazy around here the past couple months – heck, the past 12 months! Another day I’ll fill you in, but today I need to speak about JOY.

Last week one of my veryverybest friends (seriously – one of those besties that you have once or twice in a LIFETIME) got to tell me that she was PREGNANT! I immediately started to cry, because it’s AWESOME news, and well, let’s face it – I’m over emotional ALL THE TIME. I mean, LOOK AT ALL THE CAPS EMOTING ON THIS PAGE! We’ve been super close since we met in 8th grade, and we’ve lived a lot of life together. It’s amazing to share this JOY with her as she prepares for the birth of her first child!

We talked about how they found out, how they told their family members, how her folks reacted, etc. She mentioned that her older sister was upset. Sister says she’s upset because she was the last of the siblings to find out (on a technicality – but someone has to be last, right?). What Sister is not telling Friend is that she’s upset because of how easy it was for Friend to get pregnant. Sister shuts down and sulks when Friend’s pregnancy is mentioned.

I get it a little – Sister has had some serious issues with her own fertility. After a LOT of work, she has one child and another on the way. Bringing these lives into the world has been a struggle for Sister. I UNDERSTAND HOW PAINFUL THAT IS! I totally get how much it hurts to want a child to add to your family and not be able to make it happen. How your ovulation is always on your mind, you schedule sex as if it were your job, and every time you turn around another friend is pregnant, holding babies, posting pictures of kids, etc. I really know the searing pain of knowing your period has come once again, signaling your continued failure in the baby-making department. I even know the pain (physical and emotional) of losing babies you were fortunate enough to make – just not fortunate enough to hold in this lifetime. I get it. It’s HARD. It feels lonely and desperate. It HURTS.

BUT – with all of that said, I have to say that I can’t imagine how much more it would hurt for me to miss the JOY around me. The world is PREGNANT with hope! My friends (and sister!) are PREGNANT with new life! I refuse to let my fertility issues rape me of the JOY that is to be experienced as my family is expanded through my sister, my cousins, my best friends. Every one of those babies has an amazing purpose, and I get to be a part of it! Isn’t that exciting?

Someday Matt and I will have children of our own – either through childbirth or adoption. When that happens, I know all these other women will support me and share my JOY with me. Until then, I am not allowing my hurt to get the best of me. I will do everything to have JOY when there is new life to be born!

>The "I’ve peaked, and I’m kidding myself" Party

>My 10th high school reunion was last night. WHEW!

The planning nearly killed me at times, but last night ended up going really well. We had well over 100 people there, and I think they all had a great time. We had a money shortage, but everyone was AWESOME about throwing cash into the donation basket to help out. We’re still about $150 short, but that’s WAY better than $600.

This was my first reunion, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I feel like I have changed so much since high school, so I guess I assumed a lot of other people would have too. I was so wrong! From what I could tell, everyone is still basically the same. The jerks were jerks. The nerds were nerds. The pretty girls were still pretty…prettier actually. (Am I really the only one who has gained wait since high school??? SERIOUSLY!)

I actually found that I didn’t really fit in with many people anymore. A couple of my band friends were there, and they are good friends I have kept in touch with over the years. Other than those folks, I had a hard time feeling like I was connecting with anyone. People were really nice, appreciative for the planning I had done, and they feigned the expected interest in my life (Married? Kids? Job?). We reminisced about high school (middle school even!), laughed about the stupid things we had seen each other do, etc. I still felt like a stranger. It was weird.

It has been ten years…ten long, life-changing, interesting years.

(Fun blog connection: my classmate’s wife came up to me last night to let me know she reads my blog and even asked about how Buster was doing! Isn’t that funny? If you’re still reading, Melissa: It was great to meet you last night!)