She has been my best friend practically from birth, even though I was 2 months shy of my 5th birthday when she was born. There’s no irony lost on me that the number 5 would later become my favorite number.
She was the second of my nieces to be born into this world and from the moment she entered it, she put a smile on my face. As practically a baby myself and the aunt of now 2, I was overjoyed at having another baby in the family. My first word was “baby” and I was obsessed with them so no surprise that I was more than a little excited to hold each one of my nieces when they were little ones.
I’m not sure exactly when the bond started to grow so much between me and my second niece but it was probably during the first time they were staying with us at our house in Austin. As the youngest of my mom’s kids, I felt like I had little sisters in the house and was excited to play board games, barbie dolls and put on little talent shows with my nieces. It was definitely NOT an aunt/niece relationship at that time…it was like we were siblings and there was not a little “sibling” rivalry that ensues during those kid and pre-teen years.
Somewhere along the line, I clicked with my second niece more so than the others….I still loved all of them dearly, but me and the 2nd niece(Beckah) started calling each other Best Friends. But it was more than that, even…She went through this “underdog” period and I felt like I was her protector and it made me very sad whenever she was hurt. Sad in a way stronger than a best friend bond, I guess as I grew, I realized it was a “motherly” feeling that must have come from being her aunt. As I grew up, I grew also more into the Aunt role and instead of just playing games with my nieces, I had this strong urge to protect them against anyone who would hurt them and worry about them whenever they did something I didn’t think they should have. This is probably why as I hit my teens, I tended to argue some with my nieces about not doing what their mom or my mom told them to do. I just wanted the best for them but I wasn’t even at an age where I had finished growing up myself!
No matter how many arguments I would have with my nieces through the years, me and Beckah always got over them pretty quick and were back to being close. There were many occasions where people told me that “Beckah was my favorite” and I denied it, even when I secretly knew there probably WAS favoritism there. I didn’t mean for it to be, it was just that something about her reminded me of myself and yet, different….and I also felt like even if she wasn’t family, we would have become friends had we met. Really good friends…like the lifetime kind.
My oldest sister actually compared Beckah to me sometimes when she would do something she didn’t approve of and tell her to stop “acting like Sharon”. I would be lying if this didn’t hurt me…not because I didn’t want to be compared to Beckah BUT because I always felt like I was a pretty good kid and a good person and it hurt that my sister didn’t seem to think so. I also have my oldest sister to thank for doing this now because saying THAT was probably another reason why I felt more protective of her and stood up for her more.
Beckah now lives back in Indiana and I don’t get to see her much but I know she’s there for me if I really need her to talk to and I think she knows that I’m always there for her, as well. From the moment I asked her to be the Maid of Honor at my wedding…I knew the cat was out of the bag. I could no longer deny that she was more than just one of my nieces. The whole family knows for sure now that she is also my best friend. At first, I was worried that my other nieces would feel less special because of this but I hope they always know there is no reason to. All of my nieces are like an extension of myself even IF I didn’t give birth to them. They each have different personalities and different things to offer and I love them all equally and would jump in front of a bullet for them if I had to.
The only difference is that Beckah is my best friend that God chose to make a part of my family, too. Like a 2 for 1 special. She would be my best friend anyways but now I have the extra bonus of her being family to keep us forever bonded. That’s the best gift ever to have your best friend as a member of your family. AND I’m also lucky that the rest of my nieces are closer to me because of our ages. I couldn’t have asked for things to work out better even if at times, when I was younger, it might not have always seemed so.
Today is Beckah’s 23rd Birthday and I can’t be there because we are almost a full day’s worth of driving apart from each other. It breaks my heart that I can’t celebrate her birthday with her but I want to wish her the best birthday possible and give her this tribute as a special gift. Keep this post saved whenever you want to remember how much I love you and miss you, Beckah! 🙂
~A big virtual hug to you!~