When Emma Kate and I were in college we used to sit in our room and talk about how maybe one day we’d get married and have kids and live on the same cul de sac. Since both of us grew up in the country, our only frame of reference for cul de sac living came from Knots Landing, and that is precisely what we wanted: to walk out of our front doors each morning and see our kids off to school and stand in the street drinking coffee just like Valene Ewing and Karen MacKenzie.
Only without all the arguing. And disappearing spouses. And split personalities. And whathaveyou.
We just wanted to live close to each other. We wanted our children to know each other. We wanted our husbands to be buddies. And we wanted to have pretty houses filled with – and I quote – “LOADS of stripes and florals.”
Remember, it was the 90s. Pink cabbage roses were all the rage, people.
The years since those days in the Chi O house have been filled with all sorts of highs and lows: grad school for me, OT school for her, two marriages, four kids, seven cities, untold tears, countless laughs, innumerable prayers. There have been several times when we’ve called each other and vowed we couldn’t stay married EVEN ONE MORE DAY – only to decide by the time we hung up the phone that we just might make it after all. We’ve walked with each other through Serious Life Junk, we know each other’s struggles, and as much as we act like sixteen year-olds when we’re together, we don’t hesitate to get in each other’s business. If one of us says, “NOW LISTEN HERE, MISSY” – well, you know somebody’s about to set the record straight about something.
It’s been a mighty long time since we were roommates, and we still haven’t made it to the cul de sac. I’ve eyeballed the land to the side of EK’s new house and thought that maybe we just need to build us a cul de sac, but that’s pretty improbable since we don’t exactly live, you know, IN THE SAME TOWN. Our kids don’t get to see each other very often but have big fun when they do, and our husbands are in fact buddies, which just delights us to no end. Odds are you could walk through both of our houses without finding a single floral anything – our tastes have changed a wee bit since the early 90s.
And our friendship is stronger than ever.
This past weekend I went to hear Beth Moore in New Orleans, and she asked us to make a list of the five people who have been the most influential in our walk with God. Before I even put pen to paper, I knew that EK was one of my five. She has been utterly patient with me at every single stage of my adult life (especially during what I like to refer to as The Trainwreck Years), and when she’s spoken a hard truth, she has flat-out smothered that truth with love. EK’s example and her faithfulness – her love for God’s Word and His people – have encouraged me more than she will ever know.
EK has a deep and abiding affection for chocolate chip cookies and slapstick comedy (sidenote: JUST BECAUSE SOMEBODY FALLS DOWN DOES NOT MAKE A MOVIE WORTH SEEING, EK). She has an enthusiasm for MSU football and basketball that makes me so happy and a fondness for procedural medical dramas that knows no bounds. She has, as my daddy would say, more common sense than you can shake a stick at, and she can organize anything if you’ll just give her a little peace and quiet so she can make her lists and find the right storage baskets. She loves her family – deeply – and she is fiercely loyal. She’s competitive as all get-out. She’s as tenderhearted as they come. She’s sassy as can be.
I just love her to pieces.
And if you knew her, you would, too.
Happy 40th, EKP!