One little girl and one little boy holding hands on the playground of a small church spinning and laughing. Suddenly the little boy let go and the little girl goes tumbling to the ground.
” Ow Timmy, what was that for?”
” Who is that?”
And there she was. A cute little girl a year older than me with big green eyes, mousy brown hair, and a crooked smile. She was quiet and shy. She had hair almost as long as mine (which was quite a big deal for me at that age) and she had stolen my cousin Timmy’s heart. She is almost my first memory, she has always been there. She is Emily, my best friend.
Shortly after she came to the church I was moved from the nursery to the older class. This was due to the fact that I bit the other babies. And in the older class she was my friend.
That little boy Timmy? He was my cousin and his best friend was a little boy named Ryan. The four of us did everything together. And of course you guessed it the little boy Ryan, is none other than the man I call my husband. Timmy was my husband’s best man and Emily was my maid of honor at our wedding.
When we were old enough we started spending weekends at each other’s houses. We practically grew up together and in the forming of our friendship we adopted each other’s families. I grew up with two mothers, two homes, and a lot of siblings, as Emily has six and I have two! We have been there through every good time and every bad, through thick and through thin, whether joy or heartache. We have seen each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we have remained friends through all of it.
When I was 12 my family left the church I had grown up in. I was separated from all of the people I had grown up with, from my cousins, my aunts and uncles, the little boy I loved, but never from Emily. There is a lot to the story of why my family left, maybe someday, but let it be enough for me to say that our parents did not let the politics of what had happened keep Emily and I a part. Even though I went through a time when I felt so isolated from everybody I loved Emily was always by my side.
When I was 13 I hit a bit of a bad spot in my life. I am told it is called puberty! Somehow that word does not seem to embody the person I became. I hated everything and everyone, I was the poster child for anger for quite awhile. Looking back I’m not sure how Emily could stand me but she was the only one who could make me smile or laugh for it seems years. She would come over and we would talk or sometimes just read aloud to each other. Some days if things were really bad I would be too angry to speak to anyone and that included her. So she would sit in my room patiently singing to herself Sunday school songs. There was one that sticks out in my mind above all others. The words went like this.
“This is my commandments that you love one another that your joy may be full.”
The song said that line over and over and over again and Emily would sing it over and over and over again until I blew up and talked to her or I laughed. One way or another Emily always won. As meek as she can be She is one stubborn human being.
The years went by and things change as things always do and yet we remained friends throughout everything. I don’t think anyone expected our friendship to last as long as it has. As I have said she was very shy and quiet to I was not, I’m still not. I was strong and unafraid She was the opposite. People have always thought that I bossed her around that I take advantage of her but that is surprisingly not the truth. She lets me decide what we’re going to do or where we’re going to eat because she doesn’t like to decide and she doesn’t really care. But if the decision is important or she just doesn’t want to do something I would have a better chance of strong arming a mule. if something is important Emily won’t budge.
For many years now people have referred to Emily and I as a lamb and a lion. She is a lamb, gentle, quiet, unimposing. I am a lion, tough, strong, bold, sometimes too much so. She has always said that if it wasn’t for me she would have been a wallflower all her life. She would have faded into the background long ago. If it wasn’t for her I don’t even like to think what kind of a person I would have been. She says the lamb has made the Lion gentle and the lion has made the lamb brave.
God put us together for so many reasons I’m sure, but if no other reason is ever revealed to me this would be enough, that Emily in all her softness has been a pillar of strength to me throughout my life.
It’s funny how reading back over this there is an impression that Emily was like an older sister to me and that has never been the case. Somehow I have always been like a mama bear over Emily. Nobody messes with her, nobody. She is special. She is unique. She has an imagination that could go for miles, she is a writer. She lives in daydreams half of the time and the rest of the time she insists on never believing anything bad about anybody. She is always happy she is always joyful, no matter how much life gets her down she insists on seeing that silver lining. And so my goal in life has been to let one person hold on to those things past childhood.
Everybody should have just one Emily in their lives. So that when it storms you will have that one person that screams over the thunder hey isn’t this fun don’t you love storms. So that when your life a sunny you have someone to rejoice with you, and when it is cloudy you have someone to remind you that the sun is still behind that cloud and will show its face again.
This is my favorite picture of her. It was taken in our meadow in the White Mountains. It is her personality in a picture….