A Bloggy Birthday Gift

This post is in response to the Bloggy Mom’s May Challenge: Blogging about our most cherished friendship.  I must say that I have MANY cherished friendships, but there is one in particular…AND today happens to be her birthday.  Sooo…Happy Birthday my sweet friend.  This one is for you…
Warning:  This post is a wee bit lengthy since my friendship with this amazing woman has been a wee bit lengthy as well.
I met my BFF, Tonya, way back in elementary school.  We went to different elementary schools, but we went to the same church and Sunday school.  She claims to anyone who will listen that my “outgoing” personality “scared her”.  Oh, yeah, I should mention she was VERY quiet and shy back then.
A few years later we found ourselves in the same sixth grade class at the middle school.  I would have to say this is where the friendship began to blossom, if you will.
Throughout middle school, we went to camp, took art (this class may have been where we learned we could egg each other on into fits of laughter), took applied technology together (where our submarine wouldn’t hover, our bridge wouldn’t even hold the bucket, and our sailboat took a nose dive and wouldn’t travel, but where we DID dare each other to file our nails on the electric sander), and had our first sleepovers together.
By high school everyone knew that we were BFF’s.  Even though I was a band geek and she was a cheerleader, we still did everything else together.
We took Spanish class together and made paper flowers for Cinco de Mayo.  She and our other BFF, Erin, were MUCH better students than I was.  Maybe I should have paid more attention…since, well, I TEACH Spanish now!
We were in Dutch Dance together.  Oh yes, living in the West Michigan town were we do, this was an actual High School extracurricular.  I even lettered in it.  Boo ya.
We went to the themed high school dances together.  I believe this was a 70’s dance. I’m pretty sure we were mixing decades here though. And what I wouldn’t give to be able to confidently lift my shirt and reveal my tummy for a photo again.  You will NOT catch me doing THIS any time soon.
And of COURSE we were both at our senior prom.  And since it IS prom season, isn’t this photo fitting? I mean, scary?
After high school we went our separate ways to different colleges, but always kept in touch.
She got married in 2000, right before either of us graduated.  I was there.  In her wedding.  With a bun in my hair.  She is still bitter about this, by the way.  The bun, not me being in her wedding.
She was also diagnosed with juvenile diabetes around this time.  I was devastated for her.  I tried my best to be supportive and always gave when she did the JD  fundraisers and walk-a-thons.  I wrote her a long letter about how she could NOT let this take her away from me.  She cried.  I cried.
Tonya and I are two peas in a pod.  We are so very much the same, but different enough to be perfect for each other.  She has become part of my family and I a part of hers.
I am high-strung, full of anxiety, and very stabby when I get mad.  Tonya is laid back, easy-going, and never freaks out (well, not in front of me anyway).
She always loves me for who I am.  Seven years ago, I went through a very hard break-up.  Tonya and her hubs showed up at my doorstep and took care of me for the next six months.  After telling Tonya that I guessed that love wasn’t really forever, she wrote me a note saying,
“I loved you before he did, and I am still loving you after he is gone.  Real love IS forever.  I will love you forever.”
I still have that note.  I still cry over it.
In June of 2005, I got married to one of my other BFF’s from high school.  Tonya was my matron of honor.  She started crying and couldn’t finish her toast at the reception.  It was one of the only times I have seen her breakdown.
A few years ago she and her hubs moved to Chicago so she could teach.  They always wanted to live in a big city.  I almost fell apart at the thought of Tonya leaving me, but we have had some GREAT fun in Chicago since then.
We saw the Sex in the City movie there together.  Seeing a movie about a big city IN a big city–much cooler than seeing it in a little town.
And she lets me do some sight-seeing when i am there and doesn’t even act embarrassed about it.  This is us in the reflection of “the bean”.  See how touristy I can be?
She has given so much to me–so much more than I feel I have given in this relationship.  But this girl?  She doesn’t keep track.  Not at all.  In fact, she just keeps giving.
In fact, she arranged for my birthday to be celebrated BIG this year in Chicago.  She told me I deserved it since I was pregnant on my 29th bday (and then miscarried), pregnant on my 30th bday (and then miscarried), pregnant on my 31st bday (and then had Eddie!), and so my 32nd bday needed to be BIG.
She made my birthday weekend SO special! And she means the entire world to me.  Every day I wish we were together to get pedicures, go out for coffee, browse book stores, shop for cute teacher clothes and handbags, and just dish about celebrity gossip and teacher pet peeves.
I think she wishes this too.  But we are both very happy where we live. She LOVES the big city and what it has to offer, and I am just a small town, suburbia girl with my little family.
And that is Ok.  She is never far when I need her, and I know she knows that I would be there in two shakes if she ever needed me.
We are meant for each other for ever.
She and my husband are my Best Friends…and they know how to make me laugh when I don’t want to.
Happy Birthday, girlfriend!  I love you more than you can ever know!
About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Trisha V. says

    This is the sweetest thing ever! I just love it and may have even gotten a little tear. Great friends are the best things to have in life!!

  2. Jeremy and Tonya says

    Thanks for choking me up on birthday! You really are the best! Miss you and love you! Can't wait to kick it with you this summer…

  3. Such a sweet post. Saw your link on Bloggy Moms!

  4. designHER Momma says

    you two are awesome! miss you – might have to hang sometime if I ever make it back to Michigan.

    I kid, I kid….

    Happy Birthday ms. tonya!

  5. Kimberly says

    What a great post…pass the tissue! You are so lucky to have each other!!!

    I have been putting off my entry because everytime I start to write, I start bawling…LOL!!

  6. What a sweet post! Love that last picture – really captures the love!