And so the theme this week continues to be FRIENDSHIP! I have just finished reading Melanie Shankle's book, Nobody's Cuter Than You. Apparently she and her best friends say this to each other when the other needs to hear it. I wish I had thought up this marvelous phrase, it's so something I would say. No, what I came up with, and this was years ago, was "You ROCK!" It's not nearly so precious, but it's what came out of my mouth one day,and I meant it, and it was then transcribed onto a cute note card and mailed. My friend, Jennifer, told me she repeated this mantra to herself often, "Bustle says I ROCK." So, the phrase is mine, I'll own it. But I like Melanie's Nobody's Cuter Than You better.
And I really like this book. I don't know what I was looking up on Amazon, but it led to Giddy Up, Eunice, and then to Melanie Shankle. You can pretty much trace my rabbit reading maze through Amazon's You Might Also Like... She is coming out a with a new book, Church of the Small Things in October and blogs on thebigmamablog.com.
I also feel a solid affinity to Melanie (can I call her Melanie?) because she is a San Antonio girl. And now when I go home to visit, I'm going to hope that I might run into her. No big deal, just me all breezy, "Hey, whassup? I'm cute, too. Let's be friends."
As this book chronicles Melanie's lifetime of friendships, I started thinking about my own friendship timeline. It made me not just a little teary and emotional and so supremely thankful for all the good people God has placed in my life. I'm reminded of something Mindy Kaling said on one episode of the Mindy Project, "A best friend is not a person, it's a tier." I have a lot of best friends; no, I'm not shallow, I just a have a huge capacity for best friendship. And if you're not my best friend yet, well, I'm coming for you.
So, let me tell you about me and Vim. We met in 7th grade Speech class. Middle school is a terrible time for making friends. "I'm a mess, she's a mess, everyone's a mess-mess." Adding to this state of middle school wretchedness, I was brand new at school, and my, but was I stumbling. Not just getting lost and going to the wrong lunch and so missing a class, but trying to meet people and make friends was going so epically bad that I still can't watch movies that take place in middle school; the cringe factor just sends me spiraling.
The teacher had assigned us to give an Informative Speech. Vim stood up with this humongous poster and started talking about Palm Reading. Palm Reading! I had previously attended this Baptist private school that posted a new DO NOT rule every day: Do NOT wear florescent colors, Do NOT listen to this music, Do NOT watch this TV show. And here, this perfectly good New Friend Candidate was waxing on about palm reading, something I was pretty certain was on the Do NOT list! Consternation set in, like for real, y'all.
After school both of us were sitting on the front steps, waiting for our moms to pick us up. "Do you really believe in palm reading?" I asked with all the seriousness you can imagine. Vim had kind of a bemused expression and said, no, she just found it interesting. She was polite enough to not ask me if I believed in being Preppy. Preppy -- that had been my Informative Topic.
You will be pleased to know that Vim and I quickly got past Preppy Palm Reading, you know, as you do. But here's the thing: most of my middle school friendships (and I think I can say most of Vim's middle school friendships) did not last. They were crazy dramatic, "She said what about me???" -- a roller coaster, "I've decided I'm not speaking to you today," or they just fizzled out into that good night. But never for me and Vim. Sometimes in the midst of the crazy, we would just share a glance, an eye roll, and I would feel grounded. The real grace here is that we stayed connected while at separate colleges, and continued to be friends in adulthood. In fact, Vim met my husband while in college and introduced us to each other years later.
I just did the math. Vim and I will be celebrating 32 years of friendship this Fall. And let me tell you: Nobody is Cuter than Vim, and she totally ROCKS!