I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how big of an impact people have on your life. Even people that you just walk past in the grocery store. Think about how it makes you feel when a complete stranger looks at you and shoots a smile your way. This may come as a surprise, but that’s one of my personal favorites. I think meeting new friends is just as important as keeping old ones.
I have been blessed with a lot of friends—definitely way more than I deserve. Nevertheless, I am unbelievably thankful for each and every one of them. Some people have different friends for different moments in their lives—friends to spill their guts to, other friends to go out and get crazy with, and even more friends to just hang out and lay low with. The cool thing about my friends is that all my friends, my very best friends, are there for every stage of my life. And some of them have been there for years and years and years. I love that my best friend from second grade is still one of my best friends today, 13 years later. I also love that the friends I’ve just made in the past couple of months have become some of my closest friends, too.
Although I can’t choose a favorite, I do have a friend that particularly stands out. This friend has been there for me since I was just two years old. She was the first baby I ever held in my hands. The first girl I ever played with. The first girl I ever fought with. The person that made me proud for the first time in my life. The little girl with the bowl cut who always had her thumb in her mouth, except when she needed to tell me something. The one who only answers her phone when she knows it’s me calling.
My baby sister.
Louise Glück once said, “Of two sisters one is always the watcher, one the dancer.” That’s always been one of my favorite quotes, because I’ve always thought that was the perfect description of my sister and me. I used to hog the spotlight a lot when I was a little girl and I’m even guilty of it to this day, making me the dancer and her the watcher. But when she’s the dancer, there’s no way that I’d ever want to do anything but let her steal my heart and watch her steal the hearts of everyone watching with me. I think the thing I love most about our relationship is that we always support and encourage each other to press on and keep going. I also love how she can tell me something she’s thinking about doing and after I tell her that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard she takes a moment and then simply says, “Yeah, you’re right.” The same goes for me. She’s encouraging, but she’s honest. And through it all, she always wants the best for me. Just as I want the best for her.
We’re sisters. And we’re friends. We fight, but it never lasts more than five seconds. We get sick of each other, but we miss each other the minute we go our separate way. We go weeks without seeing each other, but no more than two days ever pass without an extremely long phone date that discusses, in detail, everything that has happened to us since we talked last. Out of all my friends, I know that she’ll be there the longest. And although neither of us had a hand in us being born into the same family, I am so thankful that we have become so much more than just two girls who happen to have the same mommy and daddy. The older I get, the more I realize how rare and precious our friendship really is. Especially when I’m across the country and can’t just walk into her room, make her stop everything she’s doing, and just do a little girl talk. Or sometimes a little crying. Whatever it may be at any given time, it’s always completely rejuvenating and exactly what we both need at the moment.
Melanie Elizabeth Henderson is a woman of God, and a strong one at that. She pushes me to be the best servant of Christ that I can be. She is humble. She would give every penny she owns to anyone in need. She is the best listener in the entire world. She is loyal. And she loves with every bit of her heart.
If I live to be half the woman that my little sister already is, I’ll have lived a life worth speaking about. If not, at least I can say that my sister/best friend lived a life that always made me reach for more and always believed that I was already there.
“Do you think you could come and see me sometime soon? We could just hang out like we used to. It's late and I should go, but I can't hang up the phone until I tell you what I don't tell you enough: even though at times it seemed we were more like enemies, I'd do it all again. My sister, my friend.” –Reba