My oldest friend in the world marks another revolution around the sun today. Sarah - the girl who has been the most consistent and continuous person in my life (aside from family) - joins me in the "Oh My God I'm 30" Club today, and this post is for her.
It all started back on the first day of Grade 1, I think. I was assigned to one table, and she to another - we were seated in such a way that our backs almost touched. While the teacher took attendance, I twisted and whispered "Wanna be best friends?" and she said "Yeah!" From then on, it was sealed. I thank my lucky stars for some excellent intuition at such a young age - I didn't wait for us to talk, compare stickers, or share a skipping rope at recess before I decided that she was a friend I wanted to have, and it's been one of the best decisions I've ever made.
We only went to the same school for a couple more years. Around Grade 3 or 4, we both departed from our original elementary schools for greener pastures, but that didn't stop us. Our parents never understood our affinity for sitting on the phone in our respective living rooms, watching the same show on TV and giggling, screaming, or gasping at whatever unfolded - without saying much else. We were often the odd ones out at our birthday parties - while we made good friends at our new schools, we were always that other special friend who had a special place at each other's celebrations. She ate Jamaican food at my house, and I ate Vietnamese food at hers - and while we may have looked like the most unlikely pair, it just worked.
We've grown from girls to women, having each other's backs the way we did that day in Grade 1. Through parental divorces, death, puberty, first dates (Sarah: remember E and S from Ingersoll or wherever?), university acceptance letters, quarter-life crises, illness, marriage and more, she's always been there. As we grew older, time would start to lapse between phone convos and dinner dates - but as soon as we were in each other's presence, we instantly fell back into our comfortable familiarity. These days, the Atlantic keeps us separated - I'm in Toronto, she's in London, England - but I think we've done a great job of flexing, bending, and growing into each new phase of our friendship as the years pass.
Over the last few years, I've had experiences that have really shaped my mindset on grown woman sisterhood. I've also been lucky to have a wonderful set of female friends who inspire me to be a better woman and friend myself. Whether she knows it or not, Sarah has had a hand in all of that. Her sincerity, her gentleness, her creativity, her patience, her generosity; the fact that I can email/call/Skype her any time and she's always there; the way that she loves to make others happy but has learned how to make herself happy too; the fact that we've been friends for over 20 years and she hasn't given up on me yet - it all makes me want to be a better friend and a better Bee, but above all, it makes me feel lucky.
If you have even one true friend, you can call yourself a blessed person. I'm blessed to have more than that surrounding me, but infinitely so to have one that has been more of a mainstay in my life than some blood relatives. I thank God for my boldness in Grade 1, for the fact that she didn't say "Ewww - no!" to my BFF request, and I thank Him in advance for the next 20+ years of friendship to come.
To Sarah - happy birthday! You don't know how much you mean to me through this friendship and sisterhood we've shared, but I hope this post helps you to understand. Oh - and your gift is on the way :) xo, Bee