You know how you have friends that you go weeks… months… with out speaking to, and then the second you answer the phone you are right where you left off? The kind of friend that you think about often… almost daily? Something will remind you of a fun time you shared with them, or you see something in a store and you think about how much your friend would like it? I have probably said this fifty times on this blog, but I am sooooo blessed to have REALLY great friends in my life. One of the nearest and dearest to my heart is Amber. She and I met when she was a senior in high school, and I was a freshman in college. She ended up coming to the same college I went to and we quickly became great friends. I don’t know why, but I always felt really protective of Amber. I felt like I needed to help her… help her get the easy professors, help her drive late at night when we would travel together, help her with her boyfriend woes… I just always felt an overwhelming since of loyalty and protectiveness when it came to Amber. Halfway through my senior year I was driving the five hour drive back to college when my phone rang (it was Superbowl Sunday… why do I remember that?). I was soooo sleepy. It was late and when I picked up the phone and saw Amber’s number on the caller ID I was excited. I knew she would talk my ear off for the last hour of the drive and I could stop driving on the rumble strips to stay awake. That is the exact moment when everything in our friendship completely flip-flopped. At that very moment… Amber became the grown up. She was calling to tell me that she was pregnant. I cried, she cried… I told her not to panic… maybe she was just taking the test wrong (I was 20… cut me some slack). She had been dating the same great guy for quite awhile and marriage had already been discussed. So of course, the logical thing for her to do was to move back home to finish college, marry her sweetheart, and start their family a few years earlier then the original game plan. They were happy. Everything was perfect. And I (this is about to sound horribly selfish. Again, I was 20… cut me some slack) was heartbroken. My best friend, my roommate, in a week… was gone. We still talked all of the time and saw each other quite a bit… but now she was a grown up. She lived in a big new beautiful house, had a loving husband, and was counting down the days until her first baby arrived. I on the other hand was eating Doritos for breakfast and going to my eight o’clock in my pajama pants. Don’t get me wrong, I was so, sooooo happy for her, I just felt like I was left behind. Gosh Darnit… we had a plan. I was going to graduate one semester before her, and maybe I would stay there until she was done. We had a plan. Funny how God doesn’t always follow OUR plan.
Fast forward nine years…
NINE YEARS. Holy cow I’m old.
Amber is still one of my very best friends. She is still married to her sweetheart. She still lives in a big new beautiful house (the 3rd one). And that secret she called to tell me about on Super Bowl Sunday? She’ll turn nine this year.
OH MY GOSH is she perfect. So sweet… so loving… just like her mama. They live in Tennessee… and that’s what she calls Amber… mama. Don’t you love it? I knew Amber would be a good Mom. But you just can’t imagine how this woman has got it together. If you have self esteem issues… you might want to stop reading this post about now. She is now the mother of THREE beautiful children. Children with bedrooms that she hand painted murals on the walls of. Children that get taken to church every Sunday. Children that say “yes ma’am” and “no sir”. Children that eat homemade cookies and sit together as a family to eat dinner every night. Children that play in a beautiful kept home and ride to school in a minivan. Children who have all of that… and a mama that looks like this…
Another thing I love about Amber? I love that her kid has on a red tutu. I also love that her kid has her tongue stuck out in this picture… and that is why Amber likes it. She loves her REAL family, and that is the family that she wanted me to photograph for her. Not only does that make her a perfect friend, but also a perfect client.
I sure hope you are reading this thinking… “Wow. I want to be her friend”. That’s the kind of person that she is. The girl that you meet the very first time and when you leave in your Chrysler Pacifica you say to your husband “I want to be that ladies friend!”. Am I the only one who does that? Sometimes I come home from a session with a new client and Otey will ask how it went and I’ll say “I loved the Mom… like I loved her like I want to be her friend loved her.”
I know… I’m a dork.
How about some dancin’ kids?
Amber’s the kind of Mom who puts one of these dancing photos on her Christmas card.
Seriously. It’s on my fridge.
This next photo is one of my VERY favorites of 2008. Actually, one of my very favorites ever.
If you browse through my website you’ll find several photos of Amber and her family. The one below is in the rotating banner on the top of this blog. Did I mention that she is also a Special Ed teacher? I think teachers should make $100,000 a year. It’s hard enough to raise your own kids, let alone another person’s kids.
For my city friends… he’s skipping rocks while the girls count the jumps.
You know how I said in the beginning of this post that I always felt an overwhelming need to protect her? Well now it’s just an overwhelming need to be the kind of person that deserves a friend like her. She makes me want to get my act together. She makes me want to jog on a treadmill while wearing matching clothes, in full makeup, answering emails, teaching my kids math, with dinner upstairs in the crock-pot and homemade chocolate chip cookies in the oven. She makes me want to be a better Mom… a better wife… a better friend. If you don’t have any friends like that, I would suggest trying to find one.
Amber… I love you more that Snappy Tomato Smores Pizza. ‘nough said.