Yes. I am 34 and one of my best friends is 12.
It’s a long story, but telling stories is why I blog so here goes…
In 2007 I was lost. Like…completely lost. I had just finished my first trip around the world and I was back home. Home…whatever that was. I had seen the world, met people from 26 different countries, experienced different cultures and truly found my passion…travelling and loving people. But, all good things come to an end. The trip ended and I came home. Home to friends who had lived their lives for a year who didn’t understand the new me, home to a family who loved me deeply but could not comprehend that the girl who left was not the same girl who came home, home to a few personal belongings none of which mattered at all (except my passport). I had to get away. I had to do something different. I had expressed that desire to only a few people and within a day I was planning on moving to Texas to become a nanny for a family that I didn’t know. One of my best friends lived across the street from a family who needed someone to live with them and take care of their 4 and 8 year old girls for the summer in Texas. SIGN ME UP!! I would live across the street from Sarah Rinn ( Posey)who was on the World Race journey with me (she understood why I only needed one pair of shoes and why I actually preferred going to the bathroom outside on occasion…not that I did that in America). I had a phone “interview” more like a conversation with Becky, the mom of the two girls and when I hung up, I mapquested how long it would take to drive to Texas. 22 hours. GREAT! I left the next day (the day before my 27th birthday).
The ride was uneventful. I made one stop to talk to a group of college students about my previous trip and one to see an old friend. I am on a mission when I go on road trips. Quick stops…just get there!! I arrived in Texas at Becky’s house in record time. It was beautiful. Nicest house I had ever lived in that is for sure. She pulled up a second later in her little red sports car and she hugged me so tight. I instantly felt AT HOME! It was a feeling I was searching for for a very long time. All it took was the hug of a stranger. We jumped in her car to go meet the girls. They were at their grandparent’s house. On the way there Becky and I got to know each other and she told me how shy the girls are and how they will probably not talk much at first. Boy was she wrong. I met them and remember thinking that they were the prettiest little girls I had ever seen. Makes sense because you should see their mom!! We got back in the car and before we were at the first stop sign, I knew everything about the girls. They were talking a mile a minute and I loved every second of it. I had met so many strangers over the last year and lived with so many families temporarily that this wasn’t new to me, but it was to them. I tried to keep that in mind.
The next day was my birthday and they celebrated with me. We had party hats and everything. I was the happiest I had been in months. This was the second best decision I have ever made in my life (marrying Dan is the first…although that probably wouldn’t have happened had I not moved to Texas and that happened years later…so in all fairness up to this point in my life…BEST DECISION EVER!!!)
Years have passed since that day but to me, Sam, Grace and Becky are HOME!!
Sam is now 16 and, in my opinion, perfect in every way. Smart, talented, athletic, beautiful, kind, godly, funny and compassionate. The world needs more Sams.
Today, January 9th is Grace’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIEFIE!!! She is someone I would give my own life for. I love her more than I love myself. I didn’t know that was possible, but it is. I miss her every day (living in Florida is silly, really). Grace has given me confidence when I didn’t have any, she loved me when I felt unlovable, she has made me laugh when I was sad, she has taken care of me when I was sick, she has encouraged me when I needed it, she has taught me patience and she has shown me what it looks like to live a life that makes God smile.
My favorite Grace moment of all time was when she prayed at our wedding. It was such a precious moment for me to watch that little…well not so little anymore…girl hold the microphone and thank God for bringing Dan into all of our lives.
She is going to change this world and I couldn’t be more proud to call her my best friend.