To this day, I still regret some of the ways I handled my wedding. I had most of my friends and family gathered in one place, and didn't take the opportunity to tell each one of them what they meant to me. I didn't want to be the teary-eyed bride, so I avoided saying mushy things. I don' t know why I ever thought there was anything wrong with that.
Luckily, I tend to learn from my mistakes. So now, because I have the opportunity, I want to tell you what you mean to me. I still can't believe you're leaving Germany.
When I met you in the recycling class, I had no idea how fortunate I was about to become. If I would have had a glimpse of our future as friends, I probably wouldn't have blabbed so much during our first conversation. I would have called you sooner...I would have run into you intentionally.
You always made me smile when you came through "my" line at the commissary. That was such a crap job, and you were so good at distracting me from it for the short time you were there buying groceries. I always admired your cute hats (it was freaking cold that winter!)...and I never could have imagined back then that you actually knitted them yourself!
When you and I had our first discussion about politics, I was so excited that we shared common ground. I felt at home when I was with you. I was so amped when you shared your blog with me. When you and I would sit at Quartermaster and talk about something you had posted, I remember getting all worked up about some of the commenters. Even though I spoke in a jumbled mess, you seemed to know exactly what I was talking about (and you would summarize it beautifully).
To this day, I feel sorry for people who don't know you (more specifically, mean commenters on your site). When they make assumptions about you based on one post you've written, I just shake my head. I used to get all upset and want to find their address so I could show up at their doorstep and kick the sh...Well, nevermind. But now, I seriously think...Dang, that poor bastard doesn't know what he's missing out on. Seriously. Anyone would be lucky to know you.
I was concerned about introducing you and Kelly. I thought you guys would hit it off, but you know how some friends just don't click? I knew there was a possibility of that. Fortunately, it went our way. The three of us just fit together like puzzle pieces. No one could have planned something so perfect. So many things the three of us did together...knitting those self-striping socks, birthday dinners, deployment crappiness...eating meatballs at IKEA, Poland (smuggling Foxy over the border...we're such criminals!), the birth of four puppies, Thanksgiving.
And speaking of illegal activities...Seriously, if I had to choose to be in a Polish jail for the rest of my life, I would choose you and Kelly to share that time with. But I love that you've never even smoked a cigarette, and you were willing to be an accomplice in illegally smuggling a three-legged-raunchy dog to Germany....And then when we found out together that she was pregnant and saw those cute little unborn puppies moving around on the ultrasound, you made me believe that it was going to be ok.
I'm going to miss so many things about you. Like the way you don't like chewing gum (I'll never forget the time you asked me for a piece and then spit it out 30 seconds later). The way you talk to Charlie like he's human. Some of the words you use, like "gi-normous." The way you actually rinse out cans before you recycle them. The way your eyes twinkle when you laugh at the jokes Russ makes. The way you are so smart, but never snotty about it...How I can call you and ask how to cite a source in APA format that isn't listed in my guide...and you actually know the answer. The way you live life deliberately, with a plan. The way you speak six languages (even if you won't admit to it in front of other people). The way you tell stories. The way you wear sneakers around the house. And the way that you think my bruschetta is so awesome.
I'm dreading the day you leave. But I'm allowing myself to be a mushy mess. But with a friend like you, who wouldn't be?
After saying all that, I still don't think it summarizes how I feel about our friendship. This is all fun stuff to remember, but it doesn't even begin to skim the surface. A part of me is leaving with you...And that part of me will be with you at WalMart. Every.Single.Time.
Thank you for making me a better person, Sarah. I'm going miss you terribly.