MY FRIEND, MICHELLE
The second time I met Michelle, I was wearing zebra pajama pants and crying. She lived in the apartment next to mine, and she had already briefly introduced herself the day that Michael and I unloaded boxes into out tiny mildew-ridden apartment. I knocked on her apartment door one Saturday morning (hence, the pajama pants), she opened it and gave me a typical, welcoming, Michelle-style, “Hiiii!” and invited me in. That’s when I said, “Um. Hi… do you hate me?!” and then I started ugly-crying in the middle of her living room.
The neighbor that lived in the building over had just berated Michael and I for allowing my younger brother to park along the fence and as we hastily tried to get far, far away from her she started yelling, “Why don’t y’all just MOVE?! Everyone in this complex HATES you!” And while the rational side of me was certain this neighbor-lady was just saying nonsensical things in the heat of the moment, a small part of me imagined that all the neighbors in our small complex had gotten together and talked about how much they wanted us out.
Although I knew it wasn’t probably socially acceptable to knock on stranger’s doors so that they could validate that you weren’t a horrible person, my overwhelming need to be liked beat out social cues that day.
I’m trying to imagine if the roles were reversed, but I don’t know if I would have been as nice as Michelle. I mean, how needy is that? Do you like me? I’m just going to go ahead and cry about it right here just in case you don’t. But you guys, from that moment on, Michelle was just my person.
Rexburg can be a lonely place when you don’t feel like you have a good girl-friend. Michael and I were only in our sixth month of marriage when I moved in next to Michelle, and while I was soaking up all the newly-wedded Michael time and loving every second, I found myself feeling lonely at church looking on at everyone else who seemed to be paired with their bestie. And while Michael will forever claim the part of my heart that has BEST friend scrawled on it, there’s really nothing quite like a girlfriend.
And there’s especially nothing quite like a girlfriend like Michelle. Because if you have sad news or good news or a doctor’s appointment or a bad day at work or a strong craving for Cocoa Bean’s brownie fudge ice-cream, she is just the best person to have on your team.
In these past 4 years we’ve shared some big moments together. She made potato casserole on my sealing day, she cut my hair and let me cry about the daily struggles of infertility, she got me through 2 miscarriages, she got me out of the house almost every day the last couple months of my pregnancy and let me waddle along beside her as we strolled around the park. She was there, stewing in her own personal grief at the time, when I would cry to her because I thought that I would never be able to get pregnant–and then she was also there, in the room, when my baby was finally placed in my arms for the first time. She checked on me, and checked on me, and checked on me in the days that followed after, and oh, how I needed it.
I was still trying hard to get pregnant when Michelle delivered her daughter, Rose. I was out of town and didn’t get to meet her perfect baby until an entire week later (it was torture!). I’ll never forget the first time I saw her as a mom. She was in her back bedroom when I got to her apartment. I watched her gently pick up her newborn and she was so in love that it somehow physically showed. I remember noting how beautiful she was in this new role, and how well it suited her. I cried in the car when I left her apartment that night, because I knew that she was changed. She was a mother now, and I felt that each of my friends, now her included, had moved on to this new, wonderful phase of life and that I was left behind in a sense. But she told me soon after, crying, “Ever since I’ve had her, Kelsey, I’ve prayed for you even harder. I want this for you so badly.” How did I get so blessed with such a thoughtful friend?
And then, a week or so later, I was at work when a text from her made me realize that she was suffering from days of little to no sleep and that she was feeling dangerously unwell, I told my boss, “Can I please go early? My best friend needs me!” And I sped to her house. I couldn’t get there fast enough. She’s picked me up when I was down, time and time again, and there is little I wouldn’t do for that woman! In that moment, I would have done anything to make her pain go away. And that is the beauty of friendship.
I truly believe that Heavenly Father puts people in our lives when we need them the very most, and how grateful I am that he put me in apartment E, while she was in apartment F. Rexburg wouldn’t have been the same without you, Michelle, and neither would I.
I’ve heard it said,That people come into our lives For a reason Bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those Who help us most to grow if we let them. And we help them in return. Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true But I know I’m who I am today Because I knew you.-Wicked