To Emily -

Today is Emily's 24th Birthday. 

I was out dancing at Barberville today and having adventures at DeLeon Springs, 
so I didn't have time to write a huge long post about her (I mean, that could take YEARS), 
but it's okay because She & Tricia were celebrating at Disney anyways. ;) 

Emily is one of those "closest more than almost anyone" sort of best friends. 
We really do have the greatest times together, even when doing lame things like chores...
because we never run out of things to talk about and inside jokes to laugh at, and you know....
Disney songs to sing at the top of our lungs for the 2millionth time, because: Disney is LIFE. 

Life with her in it is pretty darn fantastic and the best. 
I'd never have known years ago when she was invited into our online chat group that 
we'd become so close, that she'd be one of my best friends, and that we'd share so much of life together. 
I'm soo thankful and I feel so blessed. We've walked a lot together - joy and sorrow. 
Frustrations, fears, the incomparable joy of meeting and knowing Em & Ben's little girls...
adventures and photography, cameras and those times the pictures just make us SO HAPPY. 

We can't wait to tell the other. It's deep friendship, it's real, and it's a beautiful thing. 

One day in September, I was driving at the scene of a very traumatic multiple car accident. 
(I wasn't in it or at fault, but it happened all around me)
Immediately after calling 9-1-1, she was the person I called, and she was the person who came
walking up 15 minutes later in the dark to see me shaking on the curb. I fell into her arms and sobbed. 
She talked with the police and she drove my car to a friend's house and she put her hand on my knee
and she held me for a long time. She was my anchor in the midst of panic on a very bad night. 

I've thanked God a million times they were behind me, and they weren't the ones hit, 
and I've thanked God a million times Emily was there when I needed her. Then, and after. 

She was there the next month when a dear friend of our family died suddenly,
and I couldn't get ahold of anyone to talk, and Emily listened for hours as I questioned
everything God was doing, and then said she didn't understand either but she loved me.

That He loves us the most. 

She's the person who can take one look at my face and know I'm going to LOSE IT, 
she's the person I've cried a million tears on, and also laughed so hard I've choked on my food, 
she's someone who will be the calm in your storm, and listen for hours when you need to talk. 

It sounds easy, but it's not. Friendship takes courage, unselfishness, it takes....kindness
It takes great love. 

We laugh. A lot. There are lots of things that never make their way onto social media. 
But we bring it up under our breaths and cry hysterically on electric trains 
because we want to film people's convo's so badly and we can't stand how awkward life is sometimes. 

When we can't vent about how frustrating and maddening life is, we send each other lists, 
and usually the other one ends up crying laughing because we're sorry but not sorry, 
because we know how stupid it is but also how hilarious that person looks mad! Hahaha! 

We pray. We share random dreams that do not make sense to most people. 
We finish each other's sentences, for real. Sometimes I drift off trying to explain a shot,
and she'll pick it up and take it from there. We really do just GET each other, and that's so comforting.

There's a way that friends can feel like HOME. And Emily is that for me. 

Emily is leaving our physical home state and moving out of state with her little family. 
It's going to break both of our hearts, but in the same way, it will bring so much joy, 
because life is about adventures, and keeping best friends in your heart, wherever you go. 

It's about Skype and social media and knowing your best friend can pick up the phone and call. 
It's getting excited about seasons and the fact I can fly or drive to where they are, and see them again. 

{I have so many words about this, but I'll stop here for now}

Mostly it's knowing that Jesus will be with you wherever you go, 
and knowing you love each other is enough. 

It's also knowing that if we never get other jobs, we might get hired as GAP models, because SASS. 

Seriously. Someone hire us. 

Emily, every day together is a gift, and I loved spending yesterday with you!!! 
{and thank you, Jesus, for Old Navy Rewards} 

I'm so proud of you, the amazing Mama you are to G & Phe,
and the lovey way you love/adore the One Who Cannot Take a Bad Photo Ever. 

I'm grateful to have you in my life, my heart, and to know if I ever need to drop a 
FRIENDS reference that you'll get it, and if I yell "Model turn", it will never resemble a model,
and that every time we see a statue, we'll always think of that exceptionally well defined one in Bham,
and that when we make faces at each other, the other one GETS IT IMMEDIATELY, 
 that when we hear "Danny Boy", all we will think of is screaming happily 
in the slowest car at speed kart while the wind blew our hair everywhere and 
gut belly laughing to a million memories because life has been so sweet. 

And I love you for it. Happy 24th Birthday, T. Sweets/Train Mouse. You're the grandest. 

Love always,
~ Jean Marie ~