A Permanent Cheerleader

Twenty years ago, if you had told me that this girl would be my best friend and lifelong sister, I probably would have laughed and shook my head. We were just too different. She was loud and outspoken, I was reserved and quiet. She loved to be surrounded by people, I liked to be alone. It would’ve been easier for me to simply say, “She’s too much for me,” and move on, surrounding myself with other circles. And to be honest, my middle school self sometimes did. But no matter where we were, every season of our lives seemed to get entangled with one another, and what started as an almost obligatory acquaintance of two gangly, blonde preteens, each awkward in their own right, bloomed into a beautiful sisterhood spanning two decades.

Andrea turned 33 this week, and while this post is a bit tardy, our friendship has always been right on time.

When I was a nerdy, quiet 12 year old, trying out for 7th grade cheerleading, God knew I’d need a bolder, louder counterpart.

And later that year, when her parents went to Russia to adopt her brothers and she lived with me, God knew I needed someone to swap late night secrets with and choreograph rollerblade dances to boy band songs on my driveway.

And when she needed someone to tell her chunky bangs and mom jeans weren’t in style anymore, God knew I’d be the one to hand over the butterfly clips and take her for the haircut.

And when she said she hadn’t given her life to Jesus yet, God knew I needed to invite her to church camp, where her life would radically change.

And when she needed to carpool with someone to marching band practice every morning, God knew I had a car, and those twilight conversations on two-lane country roads would be the building blocks of our forever friendship.

And when I moved away to college, and my world turned upside down, God knew I needed an anchor back home.

And when my love asked me to marry him, God knew I’d need a right hand gal. She showed up at my house at midnight just to celebrate with us. She planned showers and made decor with us and she was the last person to send us off on our wedding night.

And when our first few years of married life brought death and darkness, God knew I’d need someone to pray for me. To hold us up. To meet us in the middle of it all.

And when my grandma died, God knew I’d need someone to cry with at the funeral. Because it was her grandma too.

And when my babies were born, God knew they needed a bonus aunt. And later, a Disney Sugar Mama. 😉

And when she got diagnosed with cancer, God knew she needed a sounding board, a safe place to land. Someone who could walk through the unknowns with her because we’d done it so many times before.

And when she turned 31 and needed to celebrate a new decade after cancer stole a year of her life, God knew she’d need a party planner and a 90’s dance partner once more.

And across countless adventures and vacations, God knew we’d need a travel companion. Never a third wheel, always a part of the family.

And as life continues, and dreams grow, I know we’ve found a permanent cheerleader in one another. Only this time, we have better hair and far more wisdom than those 12 year old girls could’ve ever dreamed.

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