“There is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one’s self, the very meaning of one’s soul.” –Edith Wharton
My Grandpa said once, if you find one person in this life who you can truly call a best friend, you're luckier than most.
I'm luckier than most, because I have found someone I can call a best friend. Though, it would be a more true statement to say that Naomi found me first.
Today my darling friend Naomi turns 17! She is now one year older than me...for about nine days. Then we'll be equals again. ;-) I've known Naomi since she was fourteen...which seems super strange now, because that means we've known each other almost three years. We've been best friends for about two years. Sometimes it feels like it was just the other day the name Naomi was just an anonymous commenter here on The Blog, and now Naomi means one of the brightest, dearest, best people in my life.
Anywho, it being her special day -- her special seventeenth day -- I wanted to do something in her honor here on the ol' blog. For a long time I couldn't think what. I wanted it to be memorable, unexpected, but not cliche. I thought for awhile, and this is what I came up with: a list of Ten Things. Just like in Because of Winn-Dixie, when Opal gets her daddy the Preacher to tell her ten things about her mama; one thing for each year she's been alive. I wanted to make a list of Seventeen Things about Naomi; Seventeen Things about what she's like, and why she's the bestest best friend a girl could ever have.
~ Seventeen Things ~
#1 Naomi has a huge imagination. She's always making up wonderful stories, wondering things about people, coming up with clever scenarios that make life much more interesting. If she's ever bored (which, trust me, doesn't happen often) she'll pretend she's a character in a book. (It helps.) Oh, and do you know what she told me once when I was moaning about how stressed I was over school?
"You know what you should do? Pretend you’re in a terrible Oliver-Twist-like school and that you HAVE to work real hard or otherwise you’ll get a public thrashing. It helps."
Isn't that SWEET?
#2 Naomi is a creative soul. She likes things to look nice. She's always telling me about re-decorating her room and I WISH I could see it in person. Oh, and her blog always looks tidy and lovely and fresh.
#3 She loves gossip. The good kind of gossip. This is something we share. ;-)
#4 She reads books like CRAZY. Seriously, it's insane. You never knew anybody who reads faster than Naomi does. She is reported to have read GWTW in a single day and lived through it. *stares blankly in the face of such heroism*
#5 She also writes like crazy; she's always working on some story or other. I've read three of her books and some of her short stories, and if you don't know this already, the GIRL HAS GOT TALENT. (Even though she misspells things sometimes. That's what I'm here for.) ;-P I consider myself extremely fortunate to have the honor of being the first to read much of her writing.
#6 She writes really long and fluttery letters, and equally long and interesting emails. She doesn't see a long-distance friendship as a burden -- we both know we're incredibly blessed to be able to talk to each other at ALL across so many miles and oceans.
And her letters are stinkin' beautiful -- the first card she ever sent me had a picture of Emma Woodhouse and Mrs. Weston on it. :-) AND she always adds little notes to the postman on her envelopes, which I imagine must tantalize him like crazy.
#7 Naomi makes up words. Like 'spinkly' and 'alore' and, my personal favorite, 'magneglyforious.' That's GENIUS, folks.
#8 She loves Newsies as much as I do, and someday we're going to stand on top of a roof and sing "I'm the King of New York!" loud enough to deafen all the neighbors.
#9 Naomi cares about people. She loves her parents (who, admittedly, are pretty stinkin' awesome), all her millions of siblings (Naomi is one of those people who was meant to be born in a huge family), her friends, even strangers in her French class. Above all she loves the Lord, and you can see that radiate through everything she does.
#10 She is really good at giving compliments -- and she means them, too. She once told me one of my characters was a "darling bumblebee". How's that for a special compliment?
#11 Naomi is honest. If she doesn't like something, she'll tell you. (She'll try to be very nice about it, though.)
#12 She doesn't like animals -- at all. We're working on this. ;-) Though she does admit that my bunnies are the cutest she's ever seen. (You did say that, didn't you dear?)
#13 She's trustworthy. Tell her something that's weighing on your heart, and she won't take it lightly. She won't tell anyone else, either, if you don't want her to.
#14 Naomi's smart. If she doesn't know how to do something, you can bet she'll figure it out.
#15 She's insatiably curious. She wants to know everything, be in on everything. She asks a LOT of questions. This is annoying and lovable all at once. ;-)
#16 She doesn't like spending time outside much. See, her books are inside, and she doesn't like reading outside. (????) I keep telling her to get more sunshine. (So does her grandma.)
#17 Naomi can make a person laugh. If you've read her blog posts you probably know this. ;-) She has this witty, sparkly sense of humor that can be subtly funny without having to use exclamation points. (Funniest of all -- in my opinion -- are the conversations we often have in caps lock. We have strong emotions, see, Naomi and I. Thank goodness we've got each other.)
Thank goodness indeed. No, how about thank God. There's definitely something divinely orchestrated about this wacky friendship of ours. Who'da thunk a farmgirl from the Empire State and a delightfully crazy bibliophile from this teensy European country called Belgium would ever find each other? What's more, become inseparable best friends? It didn't just happen. It was fate, luck; no, it was a blessing. God knew we needed each other. And I'm so, so, so eternally grateful. :-)
So Happy Birthday, dear old pal. Here's to seventeen!