it was back in mr. flynn's 4th grade class that we met.
well, we weren't really friends.... yet.
one day, she was in tears.
she wouldn't talk to anyone really.
and i asked our teacher if i could sit with her in the hallway to try to help her feel better.
to my surprise he let us sit in the hallway.
we took 2 chairs out there and sat there.
i pressed my glasses up between my eyes, and sat there.
i didn't know what i was going to say, but i just wanted to say something to make her feel better.
she finally began talking to me.
it was her dad.
he had just passed away.
he wasn't even sick!
he just passed away....
she was so upset.
she loved him sooooo much.
i didn't know much, but i learned empathy. i learned sympathy without even knowing what the word meant.....
i remember us hugging, and thinking to myself, "i hope she doesn't think i'm weird. i hope she knows i just want her to feel better."
and from then on, we were inseparable.
she was my buddy.
my best buddy.
she was quiet and had an attitude unlike anyone you've ever met in your life,
but we loved her!
she did this thing, where she'd rolllll her eyes and cross her arms, and bite her long thumb nail (all of her nails were long)....
her toenails were even long.
"they're easier to paint," she said.
but we loved her.
all of us.
my whole family.
we had sleepovers all of the time.
we would turn our closets into "ships," hanging flashlights from ribbons, hanging down from the hangers and swing it back and forth as if we were sailing the rough seas....
when it got too hot, we'd come out for a drink or for some food.
we used to stay up late to watch jerry springer....
back when a "fight" wasn't the norm, but it really spiced things up.....
it came on at 11 pm, and if we were able to stay up THAT late, we were shocked!!!!
we both has passes to knott's berry farm. and we went ALL of the time.... together.
(no, that's not blossom in the top picture, it's me.
no, that's not a boy in the 2nd picture, that is us, and yes, we ARE sniffing deodorant.... "Smells like teen spirit," remember??
and that photo was taken in a photo booth in Knott's berry farm)
yes, we were inseparable!!!
we used to walk to McDonald's outside the park, and offer homeless people food.
at our sleepovers, we would play this game called "white eyes."
it was when we'd stand in the front yard, at night, and yell "white eyes" when we'd see a car coming, and we'd drop and roll alllll the way to the edge of the sidewalk.
and laugh hysterically....
we would toilet paper people's houses.
and eat lots of junk food.
one time, we were at a pizza joint in our old neck of the woods, and i had to go to the bathroom, she came to the bathroom with me, and stood by the sink and waited.
there were a few other people in the bathroom at that time.
i totally farted, and laughed and farted some more.
i couldn't stop! it was hysterical.
she was outside by the sink, laughing SOOO hard, she almost peed her pants!!!!
we laughed about that for a long time.
when i spent the night over at her house, we would go to the grocery story and spend SO much money on toilet paper!
we'd stack it SO high in the middle of the aisle and take pictures of us in it.
our next mission....
to cover someone's house in toilet paper!!!!
next morning, we'd eat blueberry bagels.
she loved blueberry bagels.
i'd never had them before her.
as cheesy as this sounds, i still think of her to this day when i eat blueberry bagels.
we had boyfriends in middle school, and although i broke up with mine, she stayed with hers into high school.
i think it was during high school that we slowly started drifting apart....
she had a new group of friends.
she split from her middle school boyfriend, and she began dating a new guy....
they dated for many years....
our senior year in high school, her mom decided to sell their home and move up north.
lauren had 2 options.
1. move up north with her and finish high school in another state,
2. find a place to live
she was 18 by now, so....
they bought a home together, her and the boyfriend.
she had worked as a waitress for a looooong time, from high school and even after.
it was all she'd done.
a while later, they became engaged, and she became pregnant.
Lauren had endured MANY tough times up to this point.
her dream was finally coming true....
she was going to marry her high school sweetheart, and have their baby....
a little baby boy....
Lauren was scheduled to be induced on July 7th of 2006.
her entire life changed the night before she delivered, when her fiance passed away on July 6th.
We hadn't talked a whole lot up to this point, but the second i heard the devastating news, i texted her.
i still had her number, of course i did.
and i'm not entirely sure why we hadn't spoken for quite some time.
i texted her asking her to call me immediately....
it was a few days, but she called.
she called and we talked.
for a long time, we talked.
we caught up on what we'd missed in our time away from each other....
no matter how much time had passed between our conversations, we always seemed to pick up RIGHT where we had left off before....
the closeness never left....
I got my own place when Dylan was a few months old.
she would come and visit.
i remember staying up with her at all hours of the night, because Dylan wouldn't sleep through the night very well.
i remember how frustrating it was, and how we both sat and told each other, we hadn't planned our lives to be single mothers....
it wasn't how it was supposed to be.....
but it was....
we just didn't know that at that time.....!!!!
we sat there, sometimes angry at God for putting us in this position....
how were we supposed to make it with kids and no fathers?
we'd stay up late, into the wee hours of the night, rocking dylan with a bottle, while making soft brownies, just because we could.... (and no, we weren't on drugs. it was more like sympathy food)
i remember for the first time, us sitting and talking about what had gone on the past few months and crying together....
from that moment, that she was going to be okay,
but i wasn't thorougly convinced SHE knew she was going to be okay.
she had so many questions left unanswered.
she had so many feelings she couldn't put names to.
it was a rollercoaster for her,
and rightfully so....
i remember just wanting to hug her again.... to sit and talk with her again, just like we did in the 4th grade....
i wanted to empathize with her.
i wanted to sympathize with her.
i wanted to help her to see that she was going to make it.
that she had made it THIS far,
she was going to make it even FURTHER than she could dream possible at that time....
i knew she was going to make it....
and she still endured more since then....
(including our RANDOM trip to vegas. HA!).... i texted her on a tuesday, on my lunch break. "wanna go to vegas?" she asked, "when?" i said, "today. pack yo stuff and les roll!"
(ready to take on the town, and yes i was TOTALLY squatting down so that i could be more at her level.... i'm like a foot taller than her.)
she needed someone, sober, to tell her when to walk away from the tables.... (me!) even though she'd accuse me of taking her money and hiding it from her.....
me: "Lauren, it's on the table."
L: "Yeah, cuz you just put it there."
me: "yeah, i magically put it there.... i'm still in bed. shut up and go to sleep."
today she has since finished some schooling and is working as a Medical Assistant, with every intent on becoming a nurse.... she works in a great office by the beach....
she has an AMAZING little boy, who she just loves with all of her heart and soul....
and it shows....
she has since, reconnected with her middle school boyfriend and have remained so close since Dylan was a few months old.
They are now, officially back together again, and it makes me SO happy to see someone care for the BOTH of them as much as he does....
his family has accepted that little man into their house, into their lives and into their hearts like he were their own blood....
Lauren has taken a stand, against everything this world has thrown at her, and we are going to be celebrating his 4th birthday next weekend!!!! how cool is that??
Lauren is finally as happy as i think i've ever seen her, and that makes me INCREDIBLY happy too!!!
I want her to know how VERY proud of her I am for finishing her school, for going outside her comfort zone in doing things she didn't even think was possible.... i want her to know, now, that even when you feel like there isn't any hope left in this world, there is.... even if it's a glimmer that's SO small, you can't even see it.... even if you can't even IMAGINE it.... it's there....
i'm SO glad she is finally able to feel the love and the happiness that i always knew she had coming for her....