How did we get here?
I'm sentimental and ornery and you're creative and bouncy. You knew me when I was quiet -- when I used to mostly talk on the internet, before I started listening to country which had to be a hundred years ago -- and you were eager to learn and way too excited. You liked my name and I liked how you signed with x's. Something clicked inside and suddenly we were friends. How did it happen?
We wrote tons and tons of emails and you saw the other sides of me and I finally memorized all your siblings' names. We wrote and wrote and dreamed and planned. One spring day I drove with my mom to the airport and there you were coming out of the terminal, and I swear my heart leaped and got caught somewhere around my throat. I don't think they like it when you scream in airports. But hugging you for the first time was one of the biggest things that's ever happened to me, and you know how we are -- we have to scream.
Remember the ferris wheel and the hotel steps and the strawberries and the kittens and the kayaking and the bookstores? And singing Stars in the van with all of us kids? Grandpa made us popcorn and Mrs. H said you had lovely teeth. (You do.) Everyone thought your accent was the coolest ever and I don't know how many times I said, "This is my friend, Naomi, she's visiting from Belgium." And I was so proud to say it, and to introduce you as my best friend.
I never had a best friend before you. I'll never have one after you either, cuz you're my best best friend.
And now I've known you for four years and you're eighteen. (Or, you will be in a few hours.) Eighteen, and beautiful with frizzy brown hair and laughing eyes. Eighteen with a heart ready to serve and hands ready to work. Eighteen with a deep love for your family and for your God.
You inspire me every day, and that's not a joke. You make me want to be a nicer person and a better writer and a more faithful Follower, and you make me want to take lots of pictures and eat lots of ice cream and talk to little boys and make people smile, because you make me smile. You're like no one else I know -- you're totally unique and totally weird and totally genuine.
I'm cowgirl boots and you're tennis shoes; I'm horses and dogs and you're sparkles and washi tape. We're so different. You don't get my gory westerns and I was freaked out by Call the Midwife. But we're okay, you and me, and I am blessed beyond reason and anything I deserve to have you. Have fun watching P&P with your girls and eating garlic bread; I'm wishing dreadfully that I was there, but you'll have fun without me and someday soon we'll see each other again.
Happy birthday Naomi! <3