I sat on my couch tonight thinking about how our lives are both negatively and positively affected by those people in our lives. Whether we like to think it or not, we let people influence our decisions, feelings, emotions, and how we live. In contrast, it is people who pick us up when we feel like we can't go on, who listen to us bitch and complain, who let us cry on their shoulders, who are our constant cheerleaders and supporters, and most importantly, who love us. Sometimes, okay all the time, life happens, and I am guiltier than most of not taking the time to stop and smell the roses and appreciate those around me. So here's a tribute to some of my friends. Because I'm lucky to have lots of friends, this is part 1, so if you're not in this one, chances are you'll be in another later down the road....
Kassidy & Kayden: My two very best friends. End of story. These two are with me through it all. Nothing will ever replace them and the joy that they bring me. You other parents understand. I admit that I never did until I became a parent, the absolute unconditional love that you have for your children. They are my sunshine on a cloudy day.
Mom & Dad: Even though it's not always easy, and we have our differences, the opposite plays here for me. As a daughter, I hope you two have the same unconditional love for me that I have for my kids. No matter what, I'm always going to be your baby girl. Not knowing anything about me other than I needed a home and more importantly a family, you got your clearance baby "air mail". Words will never be able to express my gratitude for making that a reality for me.
Andra: Seems like forever ago when we were inseparable in high school, yet when we get the chance to talk, it's as if nothing has changed. I love the fact that we can pick up the phone having not spoken for months and just pick up as if we are sitting on that bus to Range Judging, or FFA Convention, or a game, or band clinic!!!!!!
Beth: A fellow single mother, I know you understand the struggles that go with it, but you also understand the great rewards that can be reaped. Thank you for always being straight forward and honest. I hope someday I can be more like that!
Jamie: Sweet, sweet, sweet Jamie. The girl who wouldn't hurt a flea, but wouldn't be afraid to punch someone in the face if needed. You've quickly become a go-to girl for me to vent to and celebrate with. I love our new friendship and can't wait to see where it takes us in the future. I'm thinking Vegas....
Janet: Oh how I miss your sweet voice. I know you're in a better place but I wish I could see the joy in your beautiful face. I am still in awe of your awesome strength and love for others you possessed while you were here. You may not be here physically, but you will always be my friend.
Jessica: Woman! We've definitely had some fun times, that have involved a lot of well, fun. The one person I can always depend on to call me a hooch or hussy. Those words were so foreign and forbidden before you entered into my life. Now, they're every day lingo that we throw around at each other so freely. Thanks for being my friend and letting me be me, and bringing out a part of me I never knew existed. Now, go make me some cookies or brownies, please.
Jim: Another new friend, but one that I know is always going to call it as you see it, and not sugar coat a thing. I think it's been good for me to really have someone tell me what you think, even if it's not what I may want to hear! I have a mountain of respect for your determination and for overcoming obstacles that most of us would not even attempt. Thank you for being you, and for being real.
Kathy: Mama K. What would I do without you? You've laughed with me, cried with me, and dubbed me your DLAG. Thank you for welcoming me into your life with open arms and understanding me. It means the world to me that I can speak freely around you and you will still love me no matter what, even if you don't agree with it. An amazing woman of God, you've been through the unspeakable. When I look at you, I see strength, faith, compassion, and love. I only hope I can be like you.
Melanie: Someone recently asked me how we knew each other, and funny enough, I was friends with your mom first. We've grown close over the past two years, and I'm so thankful for that. You're my voice of reason, my analytical partner in crime, and someone who can appreciate that a little girl time can be such good soup for the soul. The best part is knowing that I can spill my deepest darkest secrets to you and I know that 1) you won't judge, 2) you'll still be there for me, and 3) I won't read about them in the papers the next day. Thank you for that.
Paige: Sweet Paige. I owe so much to you. You have been so pivotal in me turning a new leaf and experiencing amazing things. Thank you for taking the chance on me one day, because it was truly life-changing. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have this new confidence, optimistic outlook, or just another sweet, loving girl friend that I can count on. Thanks for being you, and I still have a gift card for you.... : )
Rhonda: One of my newest friends, but another true gem. I'm excited to "work" with you this season and I appreciate your continued encouragement and friendship! I think we've just broken the ice on a very fun friendship. Besides, with lots of time together in the coming months, you're stuck with me!
Ryan: I wish I had your energy. Always on the constant go, you reek of enthusiasm and optimism. Your schedule makes me tired but you inspire me. Thank you for not being afraid to tell me what I need to hear, and for telling me I'm better than you know what. Sometimes you give me that last little boost that I need to get me over the edge. Someday, when you're famous, I'll be able to say, hey, I know that guy. And he's just as awesome as you think he is.