I knew that for Valentine’s Day, I wanted to do a tribute to important people in my life. I also knew that I wanted to do 10 people. For the most party, those 10 came to me naturally. The hard part was titling these people. I considered “10 Most Influential,” “10 Most Important,” and “10 I couldn’t live without.” However, none seemed to do these wonderful people justice, so I give you (in completely random order) “MY TEN.”
BROOKE – I have known Brooke since we were in Elementary School, but it wasn’t until the day we were paired for a 6th-grade social Studies project that we really got to know each other. We have been close friends since, and I’ll be forever grateful to Mr. Ward for putting us together. We planned a pretend trip to Canada for school, and the rest is history. We spent many weekends writing “novels” and it was awesome to have a friend who shared my love of the written word. Brooke introduced me to the church I love and therefore is responsible for my faith today. The values I gained in that church have lasted me 14 years and I’ll never forget that Brooke led me there. Not only did she lead me to a church where my spirituality would bloom, she has also always set a shining example of how to live. After high school, distance between us, the nature of our friendship changed. However, we have remained close, and every time we get together, we pick up where we left off – laughing, chatting, and getting to know each other on deeper levels than ever before.
BRANDON – Brandon is my best male friend by far. He possesses a certain innocence that forces me to look at the world through rose-colored glasses. I appreciate him always reminding me that I have a great thing going with my life, and that everything is going to be okay in the end. I respect him for his morals and views on life, and I love him with all my heart. He is one of those friends I’m certain will be there for me the rest of my life.
DADDY – I haven’t had the best of relationships with my dad, but it’s getting better every day. Despite our issues, I have tremendous respect for Daddy. He has overcome alcoholism, and renewed his relationship with God. He has a plethora of health issues, escaped death in his youth, and he still manages to maintain a positive outlook on life. He has the softest heart of anyone I know (I get my sensitivity from him), and at the same time, I can count on him to deliver his brutally honest opinion (yep, I get that from him too). I am proud that my relationship with Daddy is improving, and I hope it continues to do that the rest of my life.
NICHOLAS – I always heard and believed that having a child would change my life. I just never realized how drastically. Nicholas has taught me what is important in life… not money, fame, power. What is important in life is people. The relationships we form with others and the way we treat them… that’s what it’s all about. We should live life in a way that will make us proud to look back on in 50 years. Nick has made me realize that I want to enjoy each day as it comes, and relish each moment with loved ones. I am working on that now, and I have him to thank for it.
MAMA – My mom has always been, and always will be, the part of my life that reminds me where I come from. Though I’m not the typical “country girl,” Mama is quick to remind me without even saying so, that my roots are as southern and country as they come. I’ve learned to not only accept that, but to be proud of it. It’s when I’m with her, just chatting and laughing, that I feel most at home. Anyone who knows us both, knows that so much of who I am comes from my mom. My dimples, my wit, my attitude, and my ability to become a total bitch when someone messes with my family — all Mama. She is one of my closest pals, and we’ve always had a great relationship. I think we always will.
WENDY – From the moment I met this lady, I knew I had found in her, something I’d never had… a soulmate. We began working at Buffalo Wild Wings on the same day, and I immediately knew that she was going to be a huge part of my life for the rest of it. There’s no way to explain it – I just felt it. Though we don’t always have a lot of time for each other, living a couple of hours apart and having full-time jobs, I know she loves me, and that when we’re together, our relationship is as if we’ve never spent a day apart. She has shown me that “Best Friend” is not just a title…it’s an honor. When we’re in our 70s, we’ll regale our grandchildren with tales of late nights at Wild Wings, shopping excursions, and crying over toilet bowls (okay, maybe not that last part). When we’re in a crowded bar, and I see her smiling and laughing and just being Wendy, I want to raise my martini in her direction and say, “That’s my Best Friend.”
VERNON – My brother has long been my best friend. Growing up, we never really fought, and grew closer with each passing year. Now, both adults, we are closer than ever, and I am so proud of the man he has become. More responsible than me, more mature than our dad, kinder than our mother… he’s the golden child, and I’m okay with that. J I think he is the most amazing man of his age. He has taken care of me for years, something for which I can never repay him. I hope he gets everything he wants out of life, because he truly deserves it. And honestly, I think he’s on his way to the life he has always wanted.
GRANDMA – Though she has departed from this life, my Grandma remains one of the most important people in my life. It is because of her that our family is so close, so strong. She was one of the most generous people in the world, and the kind of person who would give you the shirt off her back. Not only was she such a wonderful person, she passed on to me a love for fashion. I have her to thank for my insane shoe obsession. I also thank her for setting an example for how to live your life with no regrets.
ASHLEY – Though I haven’t known Ashley that long, she is a huge part of my life. I see so much of myself in her one moment, and in the next, we are complete opposites. Behind all the dark, conservative clothes lies a burgeoning crazy woman. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it… a fearlessness I once possessed. Ashley makes me want to get back to the crazy lady I used to be. She is wise beyond her years, and more mature than a lot of people twice her age. If I start daydreaming and thinking ludicrous thoughts, she’ll at once play along and ground me. She makes me realize that while I’m only limited by my imagination, some things aren’t as easy as I make them sound. I admire her so much, and think that with her by my side, I’m a better person.
DUSTIN – It goes without saying that I love Dustin. However, love seems like such a minor emotion considering all the affection for him that runs through my veins. I don’t know what I did to deserve the kind of love he shows me. Dustin is absolutely brilliant, and I wish I held his kind of genius inside me. He is creative, thoughtful, affectionate, honest, and sincere. He also happens to be absolutely beautiful and I feel way fortunate to have him beside me. I met Dustin very unexpectedly, and I guess the timing was just right, because things happened so naturally. We immediately fell for each other, and I’ve known for a year now that he’s the one for me. The one I want to spend the rest of my life with. I never knew “it” would feel like this, and I don’t even know how to describe how “this” feels. All I know is, he loves my child and me, and we love him back… with all that we are. I don’t know what the future holds for us, but we’ll form our family, and following in the footsteps of my parents and grandparents, I’ll cherish what we have. I’ll make the most of my life with him and our children, and I’ll never regret a moment of it.