While skyping with the daughter early last week her cell phone rang, and she took the call when she saw it was from a good friend in Michigan. When she came back to skyping she was pretty excited -- she's going to be in another wedding party in a few months! But this time she won't have to buy a ridiculously expensive dress that she'll never wear again. For this wedding she'll be wearing a nice black skirt and "killer stilettos" because she's standing up with the GROOM, not the bride :-)
The daughter and "M" (we'll call him that since his first name begins with that letter) have been good buddies for a loooooooong time. Our families became acquainted when I went back to college and M's dad was my advisor. Then we ended up going to the same church and have come to count them among our dearest friends. So the kids have known each other since they were little. Not the most flattering photo of M so how about this one? Don't you just wanna pinch those chubby little cheeks?! They're covered with facial hair now.
So M and the daughter go way back and have a shared history of homeschooling, church and AWANA, later youth group...and then there was the two months M spent with us in Uganda. Since we lived in a small house with only two bedrooms, the daughter shared a room with her brother and M, with just a curtain separating them. Lest you feel sorry for her, know that it was poor M who slept with a panga beneath his pillow in fear of what my darling children might do to him next. Those two made life interesting for him! [A panga is a long curved knife, sort of like a machete and no, they never did anything bad enough to warrant using it -- but he was prepared, just in case. LOL]
During high school they were especially close, organizing retreats and all manner of activities for the youth group. For their 16th & 17th birthdays (they're one year apart) they threw a huge combined party that had to be held in M's barn to accommodate the crowd. M's family had found old video footage and showed it at the party. It shows the daughter (about 5 at the time) telling M and his little brother P which new Christmas present they could play with next (we were at their house, playing with their toys). Someone in the crowd at the party yelled, "Hey M! She's been telling you what to do for years!" at which point everyone roared with laughter.
Our families held a combined homeschool high school graduation and open house, too. You have to understand that neither family is what you'd call normal so after much debate about what would be tasteful, elegant and befitting our status in life we went with a Napoleon Dynamite theme. Complete with glamour shots in the barn, skeet shooting out back, a bad poetry contest, and tater tots on the menu. We.Had.So.Much.Fun! M's brother photo-shopped a picture that we used on the Open House invitations with M doing his Napoleon impersonation and the daughter in Deb mode. Isn't it great?! M also gave a rousing rendition of Napoleon's dance moves at the party. Woot!
We held the graduation/open house in early May because M was heading to Sweden for a year of ministry and the daughter to Uganda for one month and then the Florida campus of Word of Life Bible Institute. And it's been like that pretty much ever since. Heading different directions.
But they stay in touch, mostly via the internet now, e-mails and facebook. She was excited when he told her he would be proposing to his lady love on Friday the 13th and now she's honored he's asked her to stand up with him at the wedding. I'm confident that no matter where they go, how far apart they end up geographically, they will always be dear friends. Actually more like brother and sister, and I know the daughter considers M's family her second family.
That's where she spent Christmas after telling us, "I want to be with a family, a mom, a dad, brothers and sisters." And we totally understood and are so glad she has them nearby. [To say nothing of the fact that it allows M's dad to grill any new young man the daughter has in her life. Not sayin' that happened recently or anything.]
The last photo I have of the two of them is actually at another wedding, our son's. M was the photographer but I managed to get a shot of him and the daughter being silly at the reception breakfast. Good times.