And then I hit college. I found that my list of best friends shrank drastically. This is when the real friends separate from the friends of convenience. Today, I want to talk to you about one of my REAL friends. I met her when I was in 4th grade. She was Brother 1's friend's little sister....
|Here is a Diagram to Explain that Slightly Confusing Relationship|
I do not remember how we met. I do not remember the first time I went to go play at her house. But we had an instant connection, I tell you. We still do. Years later, she is still one of my closest friends (in spite of the 560 miles that lay between us geographically).
|(Every friendship has a few rough spots, but that sure as heck didn't stop us!)|
Reasons Ashley's House Rocked
- Ashley had cable. I did not. I would rush over there right after school, so we could catch our favorite TV show, which only played on cartoon network in the afternoon. SAILOR MOON. Seriously folks, we were obsessed. After watching the show would spend hours playing Sailor Moon in her ginormous backyard.
|We loved it because the heroes were girls in mini skirts, instead of boys in spandex!|
- Ashley only has 1 sibling....I have three. Clearly Ashley's place was the preferable location for our carefree reenactments of our favorite animated shows.
- Ashley's house had Eggo waffles! I always had cereal for breakfast. Ashley introduced me to the world that is Eggo Waffles for Breakfast. A new obsession for me was born. I still have two waffles for breakfast almost every morning....one with Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter on it, the other with I Can't Believe it's Not Butter (Spray), a product I was introduced to at her house.
- Ashley had a swingset. I had a pool. This may seem like I had the better backyard in this case, but you would be wrong. Ashley's backyard was HUGE, and completely unoccupied by anybody but us. My backyard was normal-sized, and it was filled with a pool that was constantly occupied in the summer, and freezing in the winter. My only grassy refuge of playtime was the cul-de-sac in the front yard. That was far too public for our tastes. In this case, rare as it is, swingset > pool.
- Ashley had all the best Barbie clothes. Rather than moving all the clothes and barbies to me, I moved my two or three barbies to her. Much simpler!
Just like the between most young girls, our friendship was not without its problems. Firstly, we always secretly felt the desire to compete with each other. When we played make-believe, her characters were always the main characters. The damsel in the distress was always the most fun to play. My characters were never the lead, never the damsel, and rarely the TRUE hero....but I tried to compensate by over developing their few traits, exaggerating their flaws and desires to the point of stupidity....of course, to my 10-year-old mind, they weren't overdone, they were just awesome.
Honestly, Ashley and I love each other to death, but back then, we also probably secretly wished to be each other. Here are two lists to prove it!
Reasons I Wanted to be Ashley
- Her hair is awesome. Always has been, always will be. It was long, and sleek, and smooth, and soft, and straight, and blonde. MY hair was a nasty muddy brown that frizzed and curled and refused to cooperate no matter how long I spent trying to coax it to behave in an even slightly manageable fashion.
- Ashley had her own room. I shared mine with Sister. Enough said.
- Ashley had WAY cooler clothes. I was stuck with hand-me-downs, not from Sister (as you might expect), but from Brother 1. This is because I was not shaped like Sister. I was shaped like my taller, older, skinny brother. So I wore BROTHER'S old jeans, and Brother's old t-shirts, completely missing out on Sister's feminine clothes. ASHLEY, as the only daughter, had all new clothes, just for her. No hand-me-downs there!
- Ashley was always a passionate kid when she was growing up. When she did something, she really threw everything she had into it. I was always far too scatter brained, and far too easily distracted as a child to really commit to any one task at a time. Truth be told, I am still very scatter-brained. Sometimes I even lose my sunglasses, only to discover that they had been sitting on my head for hours!
Reasons Ashley Wanted to be Me
- I had a private pool in my backyard. While I would have preferred the big yard of grass, and we spent most of our time there, I think she secretly wanted to be me because I had access to a pool that we both felt comfortable playing in, just like we played in her backyard. We would pretend we were mermaids, and tie things around our hips, pretending that our legs were fins. At the public pool, we had to share our space with other kids, and trying to "be cool" while pretending to be mermaids was an exceedingly difficult task. At my pool, it was Ashley, me, and more water than we knew what to do with.
- My kitchen was far better equipped with junk food. While I did not have the waffles I loved so much at home, I did have bowls of candy, bags of chips, unlimited access to soda, and parents that had long since given up trying to exert even the slightest control on what I ate.
- Ashley has beautiful dark brown eyes. It's really cool because her eyes are SO dark for a girl with blonde hair. This was not good enough for Ashley. Ashley wanted MY eyes. Because mine are green. While I admit that I wouldn't want to change eye color, I can't imagine why she ever had issues with the color of her own. It's exotic looking. Also, Brown matches with more things than Green does.....Just saying. Brown is a NEUTRAL. Green is NOT.
- Secretly, I always thought Ashley wanted to be me, because I am just that awesome. But I think we all know this is silly. Because see, there are only four reasons she wants to be me, and there are.....um.....four reasons I want to be her.....so....yeah. We are at least equally awesome!
Ashley was born the same year I was, but she is 7 months older than me. This means that she is also one grade above me in school. When I was in 4th grade, she was in 5th grade. We never got to have classes together....but we did get recess together sometimes!......Er.....At least I think we did.
Everything was awesome, and really cool until....Ashley started going to a different school. Not just because she got into middle school a year before me. No. Ashley went to a different middle school, AND a different high school, AND a different college. This totally sucked! Preteen/Teenage girls want to have classes with their best friend! And we didn't. It was not cool, people. NOT cool.
Lunch time could have been like this:
But alas, it was never to be. =( Instead, we sat at our lunch tables, in different schools, without the company of each other, wondering what the other was doing. I think there might have even been crying. Because, I mean, who WOULDN'T cry when they missed lunch with me?
Now we are both grown-up. We are both adults, and we're still the best of friends. We work together on projects sometimes (art, writing, music, etc), we talk whenever we can on aol instant messenger and/or facebook chat. We encourage and advise each other when we hit rough spots in our lives.
I have done my best to be honest, and even serious, about my friendship with Ashley, while still injecting a bit of humor into the story. However, there is nothing funny about what I'm about to say.
Ashley has been a blessing in my life. We have helped each other learn and grow, developing as human beings. I would not be who I am today, if not for her. I will close today's post with a special thought just for her.
|Also, thanks for putting up with my craziness for so many years!|