I don't miss the pine needles or endless arguments about putting lights on the tree, but I do miss the tradition of picking out the tree. To me, it's a big part of Christmas, every year searching for The Perfect Tree. I remember one year as a little girl, finding a beautiful tree. We brought it home on the top of our car, only to find that there was a hole in the front of the tree -- a big empty spot with no branches. How could we have missed that? My Mom sat there trying to decide what we would hang in the big empty space, but then my Dad had a brilliant idea. He grabbed one of the branches that he had sawed off the bottom of the tree and gently nailed it into the trunk where the empty space was. And the tree was perfect. No empty spaces.
So there's this other tree of ours. The Family Tree. Unlike the Christmas Tree, we don't get to go to the lot and pick those out. You just get what you get. I've never been very close to my extended family -- everyone's scattered or uninterested. And there have been some big gaping holes in my family tree. Big empty spaces where it just seems like something should be. But growing up, God has been faithful to send friends who became like family, maybe even closer than family. It's almost like He's gently "nailed" new branches into my family tree to fill the holes.
One of those branches is Becca, my life-long-though-I've-only-known-you-six-years friend. God knew that I needed another sister in my life, so he set Becca down in a house right next to mine, along with a girl ChellBell's age, a precious son, and a husband who likes the same things mine does. And wah-lah, our sisterhood began.
Becca is fiercely competitive, smart, creative, and organized. I'm serious, all that rolled into one person! She is a great Mom, an avid reader, and a gracious hostess. She lives life deliberately -- she plans things out. She reaches goals. And she bakes.
And she is an amazing friend.
Becca and I have learned a lot from each other over the years. Like sisters, we are different in so many ways. And alike in so many more. She has filled a big space on my family tree, and I am overwhelmed at the gift of her friendship.
Becca, wishing you the happiest of birthdays today. If I was there, I would give you a cupcake. I love you, my sweet friend! Thanks for being my branch...