Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Two Andrews

The Two Andrews, 2011
It's my cousin's birthday today. (Happy Birthday, Andrew!) Just one month and thirteen days before mine. We talked about that a lot growing up. . . and we grew up together.

Today our own M Andrew is 16 months old- not an especially significant milestone; acknowledged and yet not particularly celebrated beyond enjoying the moments of today. The kids and I talked about how fun it is that M is learning new words and can follow simple instructions ("get your shoes, please" or "throw this away" or "go get your blanket" or "sit down."). He tries to keep up with everyone else; the day he rides a bike I think he will feel he has "arrived." This boy attempts to walk on walls, jump off diving boards, and climb everything just because he's seen it done. He has a strong stubborn streak and can be both very quiet or unmistakably loud. Day by day he is wearing himself right into my heart, deeper and deeper.

That's how it was with his namesake, too. From the time we were babies, Andrew and I spent lots of time together. My aunt even watched me while my mom taught elementary school. We don't remember those early days but stories are still circulating about mischief we caused. . .

By elementary school our bond was cemented. When I was in first grade I wrote in my journal that Andrew was my best friend. To my chagrin, we were never in the same class in our small, rural school. Still, we spent as much time together as we could. Since we only lived a mile and a half apart, we would ride bikes to each other's houses (spray painted, banana seat bikes!). I have great, green memories of climbing trees, picking apples and cherries and grapes, making forts and swimming in cow tanks. Remembering our straw and hay forts in the barn, wading down at the creek, mixing mud concoctions, playing with kittens and raccoons and dogs. .  all of these memories come flooding back in a happy wash that threatens to sweep me away.

Andrew really was my best friend, even through middle school and high school when I thought he talked less (maybe just because I was talking more?!). He didn't need to say as much as I wanted to, but he was a patient listener (I think he was listening; maybe he really was just playing Nintendo?). We had different friends, different activities. . .

Then we went to different colleges. Now we live in different states.

Still, some things run deep. For all of those moments. . . for years of moments he is still my best friend. He's an amazing husband and father now. (His wife is wonderful! I remember when he first told me about her; I knew she was the one!) Watching him with his girls is incredibly precious to me; I see that boy/man that I always admired. He bakes bread and reads them books and helps to clean the house (did I mention he's an arborist too?!). He does the cooking and shares my whole food outlook.

We talk even less now (I think he talks more and I try to talk less!) with our full lives. Yet we share so much that not much needs to be said. We're woven of the same fabric, with farm in our blood and layers of happy memories in our hearts. And so it was fitting that I have my own Andrew to make childhood memories with (my life edging into middle years), a man to admire for strength of character and humility, a man to laugh with and to love. Our Andrew has a goodly heritage.

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