Dear Sarah,

We have known each other half our lives.  The year, the age, the math leads to that conclusion.

How did that happen?  The passing of time is merely a fact of life, and yet that does not explain away its mystery.  I remember being excited about high school, naive little sophomore that I was.  I knew that I would be making new friends, because that seems to be the nature of school and being thrown in classes with kids with whom you may or may not have stuff in common.  I sought out and built on those samenesses and differences; I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.

We know the story.  We were thrown into the same typing class sophomore year.  Ms. Stotler, 1st period.  Alphabetical order – I was in the first row, and you were way across the room.  In between us were scattered other sophs, juniors, and seniors.  I think I got to know the four people sitting around me; and I vaguely recall the teacher calling your name throughout that crazy year.  15, what an age.

Then, the next year we ended up in the same intense AP English Language and Composition class.  The competition was kept off the table, because we knew the class would be hard enough.  Plus?  If Mrs. Faircloth had given us assignments about nothing other than our coming of age or self-discovery?  A bunch of ingredients went into that perfect goulash of a class, notwithstanding the diversity of personalities, which, of course, included yours.  

We also had Study Hall together that very next class, where we could untangle our minds a bit and relax.  I really enjoyed getting to know you those 2-or-so hours of nearly every day.  How we managed to gravitate toward each other I can only consider a blessing.  Yes, that junior year class was tight; we all bonded, but that few of us – you remember – had something rich and palpable and unique that I still and will always hold dear and close to my heart.

This past Sunday, in our women’s class at church, the teacher passed out pieces of paper with a quote about the greatness of women on it.  She told us to make a list of women who have influenced us for the better and have helped us become who we are today.  I don’t even have to say it; I almost felt silly because it wasn’t even a conscious thought.  You’re on that list.  Maiden name, only because we go back that far.  You’re on the same list as my mom and other exceptionally choice women.   The same list I was scribbling on like crazy to make sure I wasn’t missing anyone while sitting between the granddaughter of the president of our church and a Rockette.  Yeah. They didn’t make my list; you did.  You’ve always been on it, probably even before I knew you. 

And that has been half our lives. 

Happy birthday, Sarah.  Thank you for being born.  Thank you for the difference you’ve made in my life.  You’ve accomplished much in yours.  I’m so, so proud!  Can’t wait to see you.

Love, may