**This isn't edited for grammar and spelling and since it's exam week I don't have time to go back and check dates either.**
I remember I always knew Rachel Rose. I knew her because she was my cousin Rachel Craig's best friend. More importantly, I remember the night we decided to be best friends too. I can't remember how old we were, I want to say between 12 - 14? We definitely couldn't drive. I had a party where several girls came over and we waxed and naired our arms and legs (my parents were never up on the supervision, but that activity seems really inappropriate for girls that age). Either way, we were hooked. Looking back over the last decade, Rachel seems to be one of the few things that has been constant in my life.
During high school we hung out in Andrew McCollum's basement playing video games, the Craig farm running around in the fields and singing karaoke in the basement, the Clark's house watching movies and sometimes at the Gilbert's and the Rose's. We were fairly innocent. We liked to take pictures, dress up and go to church dances. When we turned 16 we got the cars and that's when things really got fun. Our road trips started small. We would go to Edmonton, Lethbridge, Magrath, Cardston and Waterton.
At the Grade 11 talent show Rachel Rose sang Mariah Carey Hero. I remember it was so beautiful and I felt so proud to tell people I knew her. She denies this, but I know somewhere in a box I have the school newspaper clipping that confirms it because at the same talent show I also sang a kickass rock song that my violin teacher Warren helped me write/record. (I'm totally not one-upping)
After high school we both moved around from Lethbridge, to Utah, to Vancouver, to England. Rachel and I never kept up on constant contact. We always just knew that the other person was busy and we'd see each other again. When I was in England our best friend died. That really sucked. By the time I got home everyone had put it out of their minds. Rach was the only one who was willing to bring it up and talk to me about it.
We always had the most fun when we lived in the same city. The roadtrips became more tactical and complex. Eg: in order to maximize the time we were allowed to take off work we would jump in the car at ten pm and drive sixteen hours through the night to make it for the first morning ferry to Victoria, or to visit Rach Craig in Utah. The first sixteen hour road trip we went on I wouldn't let Rach drive. God knows why. On the second road trip I finally let her take the wheel. I guess this was a lesson for me about not being a total control freak. I learned I could trust other people. We listened to Sia Breath Me on repeat for about ten hours.
We worked at Heritage Point Golf Course together. That's where we met one of our other best friends Amy Marshall and took all the same classes at Mount Royal. We loved that we were all blond, young and lived in the country.
Eventually we moved to the city and lived in one of my dad's townhouses. That's when the real fun began. It seemed like every weekend there was a limo, matching outfits, and a huge party. We obviously had our own beds, but we always chose to sleep in one. At one point we set up a tent in our living room, so we slept there for a while too. Both our hearts were broken when we lived together. We drank a lot of tequila and would hold each other's hands when we cried. The boys began to matter less and less. If we saw a cute one we'd say 'may the best woman win'. We were never jealous. We were never annoyed. We have never even been in a tiff. I wonder now if I'm even capable of feeling a negative emotion toward Rachel. I've only ever been happy for her. Worried at the most. She always loved me even when I did the most idiotic things.
Both our dads are lawyers. We always talked about becoming lawyers when we grew up. Rachel was the first one to put this plan into action. She applied to school in Australia, got accepted and went. When she came back for a visit I knew something was different about her. The old Rachel was back. She was independent and whole. I guess I don't really know how to describe it. She had grown up. She went back to school and she finally met a man. A real man! Not just a boy.
I realized that I better get a move on with our lawyer dream. So this time, instead of waiting until we ended up in the same city again, I followed her. I came to visit Rachel and meet Jason for the first time. That night I cried before I fell asleep. Her life was complete. She had conquered the struggles of youth, faced all the skeletons in the closet, became a whole and happy person, and then found someone wonderful to share her life with. So they got married and had a baby.
Like I said at the start, Rachel has been one of the few things that has been constant in my life. We moved around, were emotionally up and down, started school just to drop out again, went through several diet fads, friends and cars. I feel blessed for all the time I've had with Rachel. I feel thankful for all the life lessons she's taught me. She has been a support and strength in my life. Thank you for always understanding me.
I hope that not only today is a happy day, but the rest of the days that follow. I hope when you face lifes' struggles, you will have perspective and know they are not permanent. I can't wait to see you achieve the rest of your life goals. Happy Birthday Rachel King.