A wonderful thing happened to me today - I got the chance to talk to my best girl friend in the world. I don't even know if she knows this, but she's my best friend.
Christina, or Chris, as I call her.
Most people take advantage of having a best friend, one who probably lives down the street and can come by for coffee anytime, babysit each other's kids, take neighborhood walks. Their version of a best friend is not the same as mine, but in my opinion I have the best kind. Read on...
Being married to a soldier, you don't get to choose when and where you move (unless you are really lucky). Sometimes you move very far away, and each time you adopt a new "home", you have to start over - new home, new neighborhood, new friends. I didn't realize how Germany would change me. Not just seeing the sights and learning the language, but meeting someone who holds a very large, dear spot in my heart.
We met ten years ago, in Germany. We were both new to the country, new to living overseas as military wives. I remember the day we met as if it was yesterday. On a cold winter day in early 1999, I met Chris and her husband walking near the post library. I marveled at her beauty, she had the most beautiful curly hair, and the biggest smile I'd ever seen. She was tall and so very friendly, and I think she even hugged me that day.
Chris and her family came to Schweinfurt just a couple of months after us (maybe it wasn't even that long...) I remember saying to Jon the day that I met her, "We should have them over for dinner, welcome them into the building." It is worth noting, as an aside, that we'd moved to Germany a week before Christmas, 1998, and another military family in our building invited us to Christmas dinner. It was an act of kindness that Jon and I have never forgotten, and we have continued the tradition of having new military friends over for dinner as often as we possibly can. They may not know it, but Chris and Anthony were our very first guests in that tradition.
We lived in Army housing in Germany - a trio of brightly-colored apartment buildings. For almost three years, she and I lived in the "blue building". Everyone in town knew what we meant. And, for almost three years, she and I created a wonderful friendship. We were there for each other - laughing, getting through the rough spots, worrying about our soldiers together, and trying to live through the adventure that was life in Germany. We sat in each other's bedrooms in our pajamas, laughing and talking like teenagers. We weathered a storm together, and after some turbulence, came out safely on the other side. I was ready to move when it was time to leave, but there was one reason I wanted to stay - Chris.
Over the last 7 1/2 years, since my family left Germany, she and I have not once had coffee, or babysat each other's kids, or taken a neighborhood walk. In fact, I have not seen her since July 2001, and we don't really get to talk to each other much at all - maybe 3 or 4 phone calls a year.
But, when we do talk, we pick up the conversation like we'd just talked 5 minutes ago. Not a moment has passed. We giggle like schoolgirls, laughing about our everyday adventures and the sounds of each other's one-liners. It is a beautiful blessing to have that with someone. Those of you who know me know that I have been burned by "friends" in the past, and have a very hard time making new friends that I can let into my world. Chris is a rare exception to that rule. She is the real deal.
Though we haven't seen each other in a long, long time, Chris is in my thoughts every single day. We have pictures of each other's families displayed proudly. I long to talk to her all the time, but the time zone difference (and life in general) often keeps that from happening. I wonder about her everyday - is she OK? What's she doing right now?
Today was a blessed day, because I got to spend some (phone) time with my best friend. I cried when we ended our call, but only a few of my tears were from sadness (at the thought that she's so far away.) Most of the tears were tears of thanks - that she is still in my life, and that we are still as close as sisters.
Thank you, Chris. I love you very,very much. (Let's get together in 2o09 - what are we waiting for?)