Today is Julie's 29th birthday. Hi Jules! Happy Birthday! I'm sad that we can't be there to celebrate with you. But we're eating all of your favorite foods over here, I promise. If I could get my hands on a bowl of cheerios to eat in your honor, I SO would.
Julie's birthday post is and isn't the hardest birthday post to write. See, it's hard to cram into a few paragraphs just exactly why I'm so glad that this woman was born. But at the same time, I could regale you with countless instances of times when my life would have just sucked a lot more without her in it. There's a balance to be struck here, people, and I'm the girl to do it. Even if that means I will be verbose. Oh, don't act so surprised. When am I NOT verbose?
A long, long time ago, back when Julie and I were newly becoming friends, I found out that this guy I'd liked for a long time liked me back (incidentally NOT the guy I married), and that he liked me so much that he wanted to make out with me in my dorm room, which we quickly got down to doing. I hadn't told anyone about it because the relationship was the kind that was (a) doomed from the start, and (b) not even off the ground yet, but I'd casually mentioned it to Julie because she was a new friend, and therefore a safe person with whom to share this most important piece of information. That, and I was so happy about it that I wanted to rent an airplane and fly a banner from the sky, so I HAD to tell SOMEONE.
I was home from school on Christmas break, and I was sitting at our wee little Macintosh computer, trying to interest myself in something other than starting yet another fight with my dad (I was 19, remember?). When all of a sudden, bling! went my Inbox (remember those old AOL noises?) and there was a message from Julie. We were friends, sure, and I had told her about my little hook-up, but up until that moment, I hadn't realized we were EMAIL friends, the kind of friends who emailed each other in that 4 weeks we weren't at school. But, as it happened, we were. So I opened up my email from her and right there, in the very first line, was a statement that went something like this: "You sound so excited! I'm so HAPPY for you!" And that was it. I mean, there was more to the email -- I'm sure she talked about the state of her life (which, at that time, was unreasonably hard and incredibly unfair, and I mean that) -- but it was those two little opening lines that opened the window onto what I knew was going to be a huge, groundbreaking, life-altering friendship. See, in that briefest little moment, sent across wires and cables and all the way from the midwest, I got a glimpse of the person that Julie is. And she's the type of person who, when her life is really especially shitty, still manages to get excited about another person's excitement. Especially if that person is me. Which basically makes me the luckiest woman ever.
See, a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, our friendship existed in a different space and time. We were sisters, friends, fellow-gatherers, whatever. But there's not a doubt in my mind that over history and through the ages, Julie and I have seen a LOT. And importantly, we've seen that lot together, and together we've made things easier for each other, gentler, better. Most people don't understand our friendship. And that's mainly because most people don't have a friend like the one that we have in each other. But for those out there who do understand our friendship, especially for those women out there who helped to show me how to be especially grateful for what I have in Julie, you know that being several continents and oceans away on her birthday is kind of sad, the kind of thing that makes you homesick and longing for that time when you'd share a pint of Phishfood Frozen Yogurt together on your couch. On the other hand, you also know that with a friendship like ours, oceans and continents really don't get in the way of sending her heartfelt birthday wishes, full of things like good karma and certainty of all the happy things that will come her way this year, and that when she wakes up on the morning of her birthday, I'll know it all the way over here, and I'll silently send a little prayer in the direction of her parents, for having the good sense to bring her into this world and into my life.
Happy Birthday, Julabelle. My life wouldn't be as good as it is if you weren't a part of it.