Wow. You're 21 years old, and getting married. You've got a good job, a good girl, and a great God. He's doing crazy wonderful things in your life. I'm so proud of you and happy for you. But....you're getting married. How is that possible? You were just a little boy, teaching me how to walk Indian-style, and letting me go squirrel hunting with you and we were exploring the jungles of Africa together.
Just yesterday (or so it seems) we were at Edisto Beach, and I accidentally almost drowned you. You were trying so hard to save my life, and I fell in the water, and pulled you in with me. Sorry about that, by the way.
And that same day was the day that you went far out in the water, even though it was freezing cold (in February or March) and you were wearing a sweater, just so that you could save my favorite headband. You were my hero.
Do you remember the picnic we had outside that windy winter day? We have pictures of it somewhere, but I couldn't find them. Remember the old cooler that we used as a table? That's one of my favorite memories.
Do you remember that time I shot at a squirrel? To this day, I claim I killed it. At the time, you said, "Nah, you didn't kill it. Even if you did, it doesn't count if you can't find it." Funny, it always counted when you couldn't find yours. :)
Remember that time I was wearing your camouflage pants, and you left me sitting in Dad's driveway? You said, "I've gotta run in the woods, so you stay right here and don't leave, cause when I get back we're going to go have an adventure." I waited, but had to go to the bathroom so so bad! And you must remember how you came back and I had wet my pants. I mean, your pants.
Remember the above picture? We had a sprinkler, and we held hands and ran 'round and 'round it.
Do you remember those times you drove me home from Crossroads Choir, and how we would listen to Switchfoot, and you would be so silly? I loved every minute of those rides.
Do you remember when you went to Washington that summer long ago, when we were little kids and I missed you so so much? And you sent me a postcard, which I still have. And then remember the summer not too long ago when you went to Washington again and I called you to tell you how much I missed you? I think I cried while on the phone with you.
Remember when you went to South Africa? I was so proud of you for going to tell people about Jesus. When you came back, it was like Christmas morning. I just remember seeing you walking up the terminal and you were smiling so big, and I was crying, and finally meeting your eye and knowing that you were okay.
Do you remember the day you and Becca got engaged? Of course you do. Such a great day, and yet, kind of sad, too.
Remember when you went to FLOW in 2011? I sat in your bedroom almost every night, and looked at your Beatles' posters and your dirty socks on the floor and the guitar picks scattered here and there. I think I cried almost every night you were gone.
Remember last July when you moved out? You were really tricky and did so that we wouldn't really have to say goodbye. But I remember the first few days being so hard. I would walk into your room, and it wouldn't be your room anymore. And I remember having no one to stay up late with at night and listen to music and laugh so hard and maybe record some music and hearing cell phones ringing in the background because Becca would call.
Do you remember the above picture? Mimi took it last Thursday night when you and Becca were at our house planning your rehearsal dinner. I wasn't home and missed seeing you. When I just found it in Picasa, my first thought was: "my boy is a grown-up man now."
Thomas, we've known each other for a long time. 17 years, 8 months, and 18 days. So many memories, so many songs, so many times you've made me so angry I could spit and made me laugh in the next second. So many times I've cried because you weren't home. So many times you've said, "Jennifer, you've gotta here this song." So many times you've said, "Love you." So many hugs. So many late nights in your room. So many fights.
You know what? I wouldn't change one minute of our friendship. Cause that's what we've got going on here, Thomas. It's a friendship that is going to last me a lifetime. It's a friendship that is real and true. I know that no matter what mistakes I make, you're still going to love me and encourage me and give me good advice. I know that no matter what stupid things you may do, you're still going to be my hero and my best friend.
So thanks, Thomas. It's been a wild, crazy, fun-filled ride. I can't wait to see what the next 17 years hold.
I love you.