Sunday, July 26, 2009


This post is for a girl I love and respect so very much – happy birthday Katie!

Fall 1995 - Glasses and braces and bangs, oh my

I first met Katie back in fifth grade. She was new to my school. We weren’t BFF right away or anything. I just knew that the tiny girl with the big glasses in Mrs. McClesky’s class was named Katie. We weren’t in the same class that year or the year after, but we finally had a few classes together in seventh grade. I sat behind Katie in geography, where we analyzed handwriting and the boy that sat to our left. Dominique. What a ham. I wonder where he is now?
Katie and I bonded because we had several things in common: mutual friends (shout out to Carlee), a love for Auburn, and our older sisters were best friends. Eventually we went from acquaintances to good friends. We made the same cheerleading squad in eighth grade and I think she was the only person that still liked me at the end of that year. Or maybe she was faking it?
The similarities continued in ninth grade: more classes together in ninth grade, on the same cheerleading squad again, in the same circle of friends, and halfway through the year, found ourselves liking the same boy. Dum dum DUM! I had ended one “romance” (if you can call them that in ninth grade) and started one up with one of my good guy friends, who was also one of Katie’s good guy friends. Eek. That happened late January. Cue the Valentine’s Dance! I had already invited (and therefore attended it with) my ex-boyfriend, Katie had already invited (and therefore attended it with) my current boyfriend, and at the actual dance, not a single one of us had a good time.

Katie and I dealt with it. I don’t remember any big blow outs. I don’t remember any erupting drama. And I fully credit that to Katie, who had more character than me and that boyfriend combined. I believe things were tense for a short period of time, at least until he and I broke up, and eventually Katie and I made up and moved on.
June 2005 - Matt and Katie's rehearsal dinner

The rest of high school we ebbed and flowed – she moved from cheerleading to volleyball, and I went from cheerleading to more cheerleading. Three years of high school flew by and before we knew it, we were both at Auburn.

I credit my sorority with a lot of things, but one of the biggest blessings I got from it was my renewed friendship with Katie. I was SO pleased that she was in my pledge class and looked forward to making many memories with her. It didn’t take long that ball to start rolling. Nor did it take long for the boys to flock to Katie. I latched on to one boy fall semester, and the rest of them fought over Katie. We double dated to lots of socials, date parties and formals, not to mention saw each other regularly at chapter and sorority events. When we both were in a house with 18 other people for spring break, I didn’t get to meet –but certainly heard about—a certain boy Katie met while in Destin that week. Nope, not Matt. He would come along later.
Walking in Memphis on a trip to visit Katie and Matt

We both lived on the Hall during our sophomore year. She spent lots of weekends in Birmingham with that boy, between our activities and work and boyfriends, saw each other only in passing. She was still a great friend, our circles just didn’t overlap as much as they did during freshman year. Katie moved off the Hall the next year, broke up with that boy and that March, met a boy in an orange shirt. Enter Matt.

Katie and I decided to live together our senior year – bless her heart for moving back onto the Hall. I had been tied up all summer with CWE in Auburn and we really didn’t see each other much over the summer. I guess we didn’t talk much either, because I had no idea how serious she and Matt were until the first night of pre-rush, when a candlelight arrived at the dorm. I wasn’t surprised when Jenny blew it out. I was VERY surprised, however, when the lights came on and I realized it wasn’t Jenny that blew out the candle – it was Katie! I was stunned. Several of my friends had serious boyfriends that I knew would lead to marriage, but Katie was the first of my close friend to be engaged.

It was great living with Katie that fall, but eventually I felt like the only thing we had in common was our room number. The poor girl was stretched to the max: she had one semester of class left in Auburn, a wedding to plan in Birmingham, and a fiancé in Memphis. We were still friends but our priorities were very different and that made things hard. Also hard? My parents’ divorce, which was in full swing. I would cry about that to Katie, and she’d cry about wedding planning to me (like that’s ever easy). Fall flew by and in the blink of an eye, Katie was all moved out.
Katie and Matt's wedding day

Her wedding was SO special. Like I said, Katie was the first of my friends to tie the knot so it was a very different experience than weddings in the past. This time, I was on stage with Katie, my dear friend, witnessing these vows. And then she had to go live with a boy? In Memphis? No fair. What would we have in common then?

As fate would have it, we still all too much in common. Unfortunately, just as Katie moved to Memphis, her parents’ divorce was in full swing. It was a rotten but beautiful situation. Rotten for obvious reasons, but beautiful because I felt yet another common bond with Katie. She was just venturing down the path I had walked. Many of the same questions, fears, and hurts I had expressed to her, she was expressing to me. I loved getting to be there for my sweet friend and return the favor of a listening, understanding ear that she had turned to me just a year prior.
After some Memphis BBQ on my first visit

We scheduled weekly phone dates, visits to Nashville and Memphis, and things were going okay. I knew a small part of what Katie and Matt were dealing with regarding trying to have a baby and just tried to be an interceding, listening friend. A year of tears and frustration went by until I finally got the call I had been waiting for. Mary Thomas was on her way. Oh, glorious day. She was the first to be engaged and now she’d be the first to have a child. I remember being on the phone with Katie, lying in my bed crying tears of joy and shrieking from excitement all the while trying not to wake up my roommate.
With Katie (and Mary Thomas) at her baby shower in January

And now I get the privilege of watching Katie in her finest role yet: not cheerleader, not volleyball star, not secretary of the sorority, but motherhood. She did all those other things well but she does motherhood PERFECTLY. It’s like Chandler said regarding Monica – she’s been a mother for quite some time, just without a baby. Thank God for Mary Thomas. Thank God for Matt. Thank God for Katie.
Blowing kisses at Mary Thomas

Katie, I am just a lone alto in the huge choir of people that could form to sing your praises. You have consistently been one of the kindest, most thoughtful, considerate people I know. No matter the circumstance, no matter the trial, you always handle yourself with such grace and class that I only hope to learn from your example. I am so thankful for the ways in which we have bonded, no matter how wonderful, or how hard. Thank you for being such a good friend even when I wasn't. You, Matt and Mary Thomas make such an adorable family and I pray that there will be many more little ones added to it.

When I was thinking of all the ways to describe Katie, my mind immediately went to Matthew 5:8 - "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Katie, you have one of the purest, sweetest hearts and being your friend for 15 years is truly one of my greatest blessings. May the next 15+ be just as sweet! I love you my precious friend!


  1. thank you, my sweet friend. happy birthday to me. love you!

  2. You made me cry! What sweet words. Happy Birthday Katie!

  3. Once when you and Katie were living together in Berta Dunn, I liked a boy who didn't like me. Katie happened upon me crying about said situation and wrote me the SWEETEST encouraging note, even though we didn't know each other that well. What kindness to a silly sophomore crying about a silly boy. Even though I don't know you well, Katie, I think LJ is right - you've been a mother all along!


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