That’s how long I looked for her.
We became friends in the fourth grade. She was my first bestie! When her family moved 500 miles away without notice, I was left with a friendship hole that I didn’t know how to fill at the ripe old age of ten.
Somehow we managed a few letters back and forth at the beginning. But keeping up with current addresses wasn’t exactly easy for grade schoolers, especially before the magic of Google and social media were available.
Her birthday – June 18th – became my favorite day of the year. I’d internally wish her a happy birthday every year. I even tried to plan my wedding on the same day. (It ended up not working out, so I planned it for the week afterward.) As I passed life milestones, I found myself wondering if she were doing the same thing. Did she go to college? Was she married? Did she have children?
I looked for her for twenty years and never found her even with the help of Google and social media. I made other friends along the way, as I was sure she had also, but a part of me just always wanted to find her.
Earlier this year, I decided I needed to move on from the friendship that just wasn’t meant to be. I let go of June 18th, and I let go of the idea of ever finding her.
And then it happened. Less than a week later, I got a Facebook friend request from someone I didn’t know. I ignored it for a few days. Then the mystery person sent me a message that got stuck in my other folder which went unnoticed for a few days. Once I finally found the message, I still couldn’t figure out who this person was. They said they knew me from school. That we were friends. How on earth could I NOT remember this person?
Then a little light in my head came on, and I realized that not only had my bestie indeed gotten married, but she’d also shortened her first name.
I was so happy that I cried! Some people won’t understand the emotions behind that, but I’m very relationship-driven. I like to form solid friendships and hold onto them. We caught up as best we could, and we do some catching up on something new every week or so. It’s amazing to have this friend back!
That was a few months ago. And the thing I want to share with you for my Friday Favorites is a “birthday in a box.” This year was the first birthday I could celebrate again with my friend, and I wanted to make it special. A birthday in a box is something I do occasionally if someone lives out of town. They’re so easy to make, are completely customizable, and always make recipients smile!
Most boxes contain typical birthday items – everything one needs to celebrate their birthday without me, things I would give them or do for them if I were there. But because I hadn’t seen my friend in so many years and because we’d missed so many milestones, I also sent her cards for those big events that I missed in her life.
Her birthday box included a tablecloth, plates, napkins, party hats and noise makers (for her, her husband, and her daughter), candles, and of course, cake! (Sometimes I send streamers, confetti, balloons. Sometimes the box is themed like a beach party or a farm party.) I also included a small gift for her and wrapped the entire box in festive paper before I mailed it out.
I was very glad to hear that, once again, the birthday in a box took my friend by surprise and she loved it! It was a great way to celebrate her first birthday since our virtual reunion.
Whose birthday do you celebrate from afar?
Do you think they would like a birthday in a box?
What would you put in it?