This is Casey. Casey and I have been in each others lives since…well, I knew of Casey when we were in 5th grade but we went to different grade schools. We met and started our friendship in 6th grade. I don’t remember how it happened, I just don’t remember life without Casey in it. If 6th grade marks our beginning, then we have been friends for like 26/27 years or so. Once we became friends, it was something that we knew would last forever or so I like to think.
In 7th grade Casey was Fern in the production of Charlotte’s Web and I was Wilbur the pig. In middle school, Casey’s family also took me in as one of their own and my family immediately considered Casey one of theirs as well. Casey started going on family vacations and I knew where everything was in their house, including the most important drawer full of kool aid packets. We entered high school together and there we found some parts of ourselves but also in connection. When I played Alice in our school’s production of Alice in Wonderland, Casey played the Red Queen. When she became a Strawberry princess, I became her biggest fan and was probably the loudest when I screamed that she should have been queen. When she ran for Secretary in Student Government, I went for Vice President. We both complained about our high school boyfriends and dreamt about where the future would take us.
When we both got into Willamette University we made the bold move of becoming roommates for our freshman year. This put a strain at times on our friendship but at the end of the year we were still friends which will tell you that we will forever be friends for sure. During college, Casey grew more convinced that she dreamed of teaching and I started to discern a thought about religious life although she majored in religious studies and I majored in Humanities. Casey studied in Chicago and got back right when I left for Ireland but we emailed back and forth and still found each other again. We made different groups of friends but still went out for coffee to catch up here and there.
And at the end of our college time I went off to Chicago for seminary and Casey got into an amazing Masters of Teaching program, also at Willamette. She found her passion and I continued to wonder but always with Casey’s support. She came to visit and I called asking for student stories as she was immediately employed and instantly an amazing teacher.
When my dad had a massive heart attack during my first year of seminary, Casey was the first person I called and she immediately said, “Anything I can do. I am here” I never have to explain anything to Casey. She just knows.
When she met her now husband she told me that she found the man she would marry and I knew it to be true. I met Erik and knew it too.
When I returned to Oregon, Casey came to hear me preach here and there just to make sure to show up, never missing a Christmas Eve opportunity.
When I said I was getting married, Casey knew that she would be organizing the whole shindig even when she was soooo pregnant on my wedding day.
When she had Davis, I rejoiced and knew this was the kid she had always wanted and had been dreaming of. He is phenomenal which is no surprise because look at his mom!
When I told her about what had been happening about my disastrous marriage and that it was all falling apart, she showed up the next morning dressed all in black and ready to kick ass. She also came this way when the church I was serving was bullying. She came and sat in the front row so I would never sit alone.
And when I left for the Camino she gave me a hug and said to go find myself. It was time.
And when I returned, newly forming love, she greeted me with joy and told my newly forming relationship, “be good to our girl, she deserves it.”
And when my grandmother passed last year, Casey was just nearby because as she says, “She was my grandma too.”
And when I am home, we always spend time together over wine usually and it feels as though no time has passed. She calls me into accountability while being the most supportive consistent person since I was 12ish or so. Casey has never told me that I am being dramatic although compared to her solid nature, I seem emotional and irrational. Always, we end up laughing until our bellies hurt.
And I just hope that I bring as much to her life as she continuously brings to mine. This person is full of wisdom, quiet power, creativity and loyalty. She never invites confrontation but handles it well. She is an incredible mom and wife, daughter, sister and chosen family member.
And of course, you know it…just the tip of the iceberg.