Sometimes you will never know the value of the moment until it becomes a memory. -Dr. Seuss
Meet my friend Elli. She is my best friend’s gorgeous fourteen year old daughter. She has been one of our friends since she was one. I met Elli face to face at six months old. She was a beautiful round faced ball of cuteness. From then on she went everywhere with us and did everything we did. She was the only kid in our group of friends and we spoiled her and loved her dearly. We went out to lunch, she munched on bagels and sandwiches too. We walked around for ages shopping at Target, she oohhed and aahhed with us. We got pedicures, she got pedicures. We laughed, she laughed. We ate frozen yogurt, she are frozen yogurt. We bought make up, she bought lip gloss. She was our little buddy we adored.
She did have a stage of screaming “NOOOO!” She wasn’t too fond of us taking her best friend, her mommy, away from her. It only endeared us to her more. She was our friend, just a littler version.
As I look at her incredible life this year I have seen her heroism rise to the surface. She has always been a brave girl. Her courage was sometimes a cause for laughter. I can remember her four year old immunisation shots. Her itty bitty sister was also getting shots. I went with her mom to help with the baby. We talked about how brave she would be and how we would get a toy after all the way there. When it was El’s turn she decided her baby sister should go first. No tears. She just looked quite annoyed at the doctor for poking her. Now it really was Elli’s turn. Oh my. I took the baby out while El screamed bloody murder and the commotion sounded like it took every nurse available to help. As I sat in the waiting room I looked around while kids with massive eyes were looking at their parents as if to say “there is no way I’m going in there.” We all head to the car a few minutes later, and as we are pulling out of the parking lot Elli proudly replies, “I am SOOO brave.” I actually cracked up laughing to which my friend who is an incredible mommy rightly hit me to shut up. I muffled my laughter in that moment, but you know what? El was right. She was unbelievably brave that day and models it still today.
Elli has just made one of the most massive transitions of her life. She has left the town she grew up in, the school, the church, the dance classes, the basketball teams…the world she knew and loved. She has one of the most amazing friend groups I have seen and relationships that are special and important to her. She had to say good bye to living next to grandparents and the most amazing Aunt. It is a huge deal at any age, but at fourteen it could be earth shaking.
This girl has done it with honesty, grace and even joy. I called her one night just to check on her and after I got over the shock of her sounding like a teenager (I haven’t seen her in a few years) I was impressed with her dedication to making this new city work. It isn’t easy when your parents move. I in fact never had to make this transition. But as I watch Elli try new things like her new basketball team, (she loves basketball and is incredibly good) I was so proud of her that she went into this massively large new school and started practicing at the high school level. I didn’t ask her, but my guess is there had to be a few nerves. But like that day so many years back El can face a terrifying new situation and get through it. She is filled with courage as I watch her navigate a new city, new sports teams and new friends and each day get up and try again.
It might not have been her choice or her favourite thing but what I admire about El, and what makes her a hero is she is giving it a fighting chance. I’m sure there are days she misses her friends so bad it hurts; that’s just the unfortunate reality when you leave such special friendships. I’m positive there are days she longs for her old neighbourhood and house. Days where she wishes for the way things used to be. But what she is doing is taking life as it comes and trying her hardest to make a great life where she is. That’s hard to do at any age. To face our worst moments and not look back on what was for too long but embrace the moments we are in right now. I struggle with that. I can enjoy reminiscing more than making new memories. Elli leaves me inspired and more brave as a person as I watch her. I’m so proud of who she is and love her more than she will ever know. She is a world changer and who she is now and who she is becoming is only being made stronger and better by this season. That’s the rub in life isn’t it? The hardest times of life often make the best parts of ourselves rise to the surface…if we will only let it.