Monday, August 18, 2008

It takes a long time to grow an old friend

My friend moved away yesterday.

This weekend, I headed down to College Station to visit some friends and help Michelle, my next door neighbor, move into her new dorm at college. I had so much fun, having dinner with old friends, then staying up with Paris on Saturday night, eating ice cream and watching "The Breakfast Club," while her little yorkie, Marley, reveled in the sheer joy that I would come all the way to College Station, just to visit him.

I called Josh way earlier than college student etiquette allows on Sunday morning for breakfast, and fortunately he obliged despite my impudence. To kill some time after breakfast before the Bedenbaughs got into town, Josh and I went to the mall and I got the aforementioned awesome deals on clothes.

Then they were here. The whole family - mom, dad, brother, and boyfriend, bringing all Michelle's belongings that could fit into their Honda Pilot. It was time to move her in.

Everybody was a little stressed; Michelle because she was going to have to adjust to the complete world change that is college and the parents because they were going to have to adjust to the complete world change that is your daughter leaving for college. I helped where I could, bringing boxes up to her 4th-floor dorm room and making lists of forgotten items that we would have to buy at Target. It was kind of a nice experience for me, other than being worried about the sanity of my friends, because I got to see what it's like from the other side.

I was here a short four years prior, and standing in her little dorm room, it felt like yesterday. I too was stressed and worried and coping with the huge adjustment while simultaneously excited about what the next four years would bring. I could feel her joy and pain and was excited and worried for her all at once. From where I was, I could see it all flash by, for myself, for which already happened, and for Michelle, for which it was bound to happen.

And then we left her there. It felt a little wrong, leaving her all by herself, but we knew it was necessary. During the drive back I looked back at their car as it followed behind mine when I heard something on the radio that made me think of Michelle, and thought "Oh, I should tell her that when we get home." My heart sank when I realized that she would not be in that car when we got home.

I've known Michelle for more than 15 years now, and we've become quite close, especially during the last few years. Her whole family means the world to me, and I would pretty much do anything for them, as I know they would do for me. Michelle was one of my bridesmaids, and her mom pretty much made my wedding day happen as if by magic.

Michelle and I used to get on the bus every day together when she was in kindergarten. I was there when her little brother was born. She was at all my birthday parties. We used to scrapbook together in the summer time when I was home from college. We used to spend every Thursday night after I graduated watching Grey's and The Office together, a role she took over from Paris. I spent a lot of time sitting on her floor, and she spent a lot of time sitting on mine. We’re family. I’ve already put her winter break into my calendar so I know when she’ll be coming home.

Not only is Michelle a wonderful friend, but she’s also an amazing person. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to convince her to put off her homework when she refused (she always always ALWAYS does her homework when she first gets home! Imagine that!) She volunteers at the animal shelter. She’s incredibly kind to her brother and respectful of her parents. She wants to be a vet, so she joined FFA her senior year, when she could have slacked off, to learn more about animals first-hand. This girl is going to be wildly successful.

Goodbye for now, Michelle, and know that I will be looking forward to your return on weekends, holidays, and summers! A&M is lucky to have you!