Friendships are an interesting thing. Some come on quickly while others take their time to develop and after awhile you kind of wonder 'what took so long?'
That's the story of me and Alev. Our boys met in Kindergarten. I like to think it was the very first day of school but I have been told (by them) that their friendship didn't begin until the Halloween parade at school. I, personally, like the whole first day of school story...in my story they were these lost and lonely little boys on that first day who sat criss cross applesauce next to each other by the teachers rocking chair, each of them comforting the other while tears flowed down their round little cheeks because they missed their mama's so very, very much.
I like my story, so I'm going to stick with it.
As their friendship grew, Alev and I eventually met. The boys would play at my house and they would play at her house. Let's face it, the boys played constantly...before school, after school during school. In fact, by the time they were in first grade, they had told everyone that they were cousins...not because they looked alike (obviously) but because their mom's did and were sisters.
Our friendship was slow to blossom...not because we didn't like each other, but because life was just busy at that time. Over the years, though, just like our boys, our friendship grew and grew.
Well...what really began to happen was our boys discovered the fun side to life and began to, ummmm, express themselves in ways that were, well, exhausting. They ruled the school (that would be each school they attended over the years) and they knew it.
And that is how how our friendship began....out of necessity.
It wasn't that we didn't like each other before, but now it was different. We didn't just like each other...we needed each other.
These boys of ours...well, they were always digging themselves into one hole or another. It was...crazy. From getting in trouble at school to getting tickets for jay walking to school (which still makes me livid. Come on...they got tickets for going TO school???) to barely passing choir in high school to, well, it was always something with them. But the beauty of it was that our two families started to become one unit. I mean, we were sisters after all.
The thing about Alev is that she never judged. She loves my boy...or I should say (plural) boys. Loves them like they are her own. She sees the good in them and because of that tries constantly to lure them away from me with her delicious cooking.
I'll forgive her...she feeds me, too.
Over the years we've laughed and worried and prayed and cried and yelled and then laughed some more. We've sent thousands (millions?) of texts to each other and kept each other up to date on the shenanigans of 'thing 1' and 'thing 2'.
My Italian Grandmother once told me that the best kind of friendship is the kind where you want to be better, to do better, to live better, to love better. That you should like yourself more because of the qualities your friends bring out in you.
So, to my friend Alev, on your birthday...thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for being a safe place for my boys. Thank you for being such a great cook. Thank you for for being such a great wife and mom.
(And, for the record, I'm not going to say thank you for being such a great work out partner because frankly, you are a pain in the butt when we hike...what's with the always walking one step behind me??? You are SO stubborn!)
Thank you for being my friend. I like me best when I'm with you.
Happy Birthday from me...and my houseful of boys.
Tonight...well, tonight we are at Alev's surprise birthday party and this is my speech. Kinda long (sorry about that, but oh well) but she's worth it.