My best friend got married this weekend and it was a day we had waited for our entire lives. Her wedding was in her parents' backyard—a place where I spent a large portion of my childhood—and also included a baptism for her 9-month-old son, Kai. Having lived in different states for almost a decade now, I am so proud of the way that we have been able to maintain our friendship and I am so excited that I could be a part of the first day of the rest of her life. So, as all maids of honor do, I put together a few words to celebrate.
I’ll never be able to tell you how much it meant to be standing beside you today. You’re my best friend, my confidante, my shoulder to cry on, my sister to laugh with, the one piece of my world that has stayed constant over 8 zip codes, 4 states, and 1600 miles.
How fitting it is to be celebrating your wedding day, here, when 16 years ago it is where our history began.
For those of you who don’t know, I grew up just half-a-mile down the street, and Ashley and I met on the school bus in 6th grade, just after her family moved to Camp Road.
On my first visit to the Jones home, Ashley and I offered to wash her mother’s car, and, like you may expect with any middle schoolers, we ended up drenched by hose wars and buckets of soapy water. And so it was here, at this very house, our first time ever hanging out, that Ashley and I first saw each other naked, stripping out of our shorts and t-shirts on the front lawn after being told that we would absolutely not be let in the house in wet clothes.
We’ve been best friends ever since.
Our story is the quintessential coming of age tale. We had sleepovers with scary movies, bike rides through the neighborhood, middle school boyfriends, and high school heartbreaks. There was ballpark boy-watching, trampoline tanning, CD mix tapes, and secrets shared only between us. We played sports and got jobs and tested our independence. We grew older and faced big moves and serious relationships and the new normal of long-distance phone counseling sessions. And, as most young women do, we dreamed always of being in love—really in love—and having happy marriages and big families of our own.
Ashley, I am so happy that Corey is the one to make that dream come true for you.
I remember you first calling me to tell me about hanging out with him, and I remember even more getting the scoop about Corey from your parents months later.
“You know what?” your dad said. “This one is actually really nice. I have nothing bad to say. I have no idea why he’s stuck around this long.”
I can tell you why.
He stuck around because he saw all of the good things in you that I see in you, too—your ability to connect with anyone and everyone, your unwavering compassion, your commitment to family, your carefree attitude that puts the world at ease.
He stuck around because he is decent and kind and in love in a way he never dreamed possible.
He stuck around because this is what life is about—finding those people that you can depend on, that love you unconditionally, that make things better just by being alive.
He stuck around because this world needs more people like you, Ashley, and Kai is only the beginning.
So it is with a heart full of happiness that I offer this toast to Ashley, Corey, and Kai, too—may life bring you nothing but love, laughter, and a million more dreams come true.
I love you, Ashley. Here's to another 16 years of friendship (and a lot more long-distance phone calls)!