When I met Jaclyn, she was screaming my name down the hallways of our high school.
That’s not 100% accurate; she didn’t start screaming my name down the hallways until a few minutes after we met.
I started going to public school in 9th grade. Jaclyn was one of my first friends. From the minute we met, it was like she could sense my commitment to introversion and tried to scare it out of me by screaming “BEKA WATTS!!!” every time she saw me in the halls. Jaclyn didn’t help me come out of my shell; she busted me out. When I think about our friendship in high school, those hallway memories are the first to come to mind. Not far behind: memories of building our friendship on a foundation of microwaving gigantic chocolate chip cookies from the cafeteria every Friday during lunch for 4 years.
No wonder our friendship was built to last.
Even still, when we graduated from high school, I never anticipated that I’d be the maid of honor in her wedding one day. Or that she and Kevin would move a mile away from my parents’ house. Or that she would be my lifeline when I unexpectedly moved home for a year and a half. Or that we’d spend every Friday night making our way through the entire series of LOST and figuring out the next chapters in our lives. For me: career. For her: baby.
Fourteen years ago, when Jaclyn was screaming my name down a hallway, I had no idea that one day, I’d be screaming and jumping up and down and crying happy tears in her living room when she told me she was pregnant. I also had no idea that the baby would actually listen to me when I talked to him on speaker phone in the womb and asked that he not come out until I was back on American soil after spending two weeks in Africa dangerously close to his due date.
I didn’t know then that watching one of my oldest and best friends become a mom would look like pure joy, but that’s exactly what it is: pure joy wrapped up in a 9 lb bundle named Dylan.
Dylan, I love you so much it will probably scare you someday in the future. But don’t worry; your mom scared me too at first, and we ended up being the best of friends. It will totally be the same for you and me.
I’m going to teach you about all of the important things in life, like the proper way to microwave a cookie and how to take pictures while driving and why the Packers should be your NFC team (just don’t tell your grandmother). I can’t wait to tell you about how your mom and I talked about you long before you were born, and how you and I pulled our first prank together and made her wait a long (long) time to meet you. (Good job on that, by the way.)
Most of all, I can’t wait to watch you grow up. If you are looking for me, I’ll be the one screaming and jumping up and down and crying happy tears during every major and minor event of your life.
Your Almost Aunt Beka