Sunday, August 4, 2013

Happy Birthday, Heidi

Dear Heidi,

When I woke up today, at least three electronic devices I own reminded me that it was your birthday. As did my calendar. As did my memories – as they have for many years.

You’ve been on my mind and heart so much this summer – connected by text and email and phone; by prayer and memory and love; by family and history and experience. We have so much of it together, and I want to celebrate you today.

You, who are there from my earliest childhood memories – Sunday School at Kalihi Bapist; seeing who could swing the highest on the swings (they don’t make them like that anymore, do they?); playing  Charlie’s Angels with Malia – everyone always wanting to be Jaclyn Smith’s Kelly Garret. I remember summers when our moms traded off taking kids – a smart move – but all I remember is how much fun we had. Whether skating and biking on the smooth level sidewalks at your house or roaming my backyard to climb the mango tree and gather leaves and berries for our imaginary games – we never had a cross word or a bored moment. Well, maybe one cross word. The only fight I can ever remember in our entire time together (and I couldn’t tell you what it was over) had us locked in a death grip in your living room, digging fingernails into each other’s arms with merciless intent. I guess we got over that one pretty quick.

I know we diverged for much of school time, but we never really lost touch, did we? The gift of families that stay close and an island that doesn’t let you get far away. I remember evenings out for dinner or a movie that would wind up on the lanai at my parent’s house – sitting out until way too late, just talking and talking.

What a blessing and a surprise to discover that you’d moved here to the Pacific Northwest – not long after I did, and we got to connect again. It was one of those times when time doesn’t stop and you really can just pick up and keep going from the last conversation. Was that at my thirtieth birthday in the park?

And now look at us – married with kids – and we’ve still got this connection that I just can’t live without. Enough time has passed that you moved from childhood best friend, to lifelong friend, to soul sister (thank you Train), to just sister. Our brothers roll their eyes and say, “what?” and not everyone gets it, but that really doesn’t matter at this point, does it? The gift of being “women of a certain age” is you can do whatever you want and call it good. And I think we’re there (sadly? finally?), and we’re doing it, and it is good.

You are my first phone call when tragedy strikes, my first email when joy explodes. Your wisdom and experience with counseling children in schools makes you my best resource for navigating a school system that at best – makes me a little crazy. Your faith in the face of life-threatening circumstances inspires and encourages me. There is no one else with whom I take all the censors down - all of them - and very few with whom I can be the truly real me. What a gift that is.

I love seeing our kids grow up together – although it’s always true that I wish we were a little closer and saw each other a little more. Our sister dates are
times I live for – whether its dinner and a movie again, or just a nice long camping out session at Barnes and Noble (Borders, we miss you so much!) to look at cookbooks and talk. I laugh that we still have stories to tell – old ones – that we have not heard yet. And laugh harder when we remember the stories that overlap that we’re oddly not a part of.

This history, this interweaving of our lives has become so much more than biology for me. Maybe I would feel this even more if we shared real DNA, but I’m not sure. Ours is a chosen, deliberate friendship sisterhood, grounded in faith, that spans a lifetime and is still looking forward to more.

So on this day. On your birthday day. I wish you happiness, health, peace, and more joy than your life can contain – so that you can continue to spill your amazing joy and encouragement into the lives of people you touch.

Love you girl

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