Onto the topic at hand: someone I miss. I'm skipping over family members because I feel like it's a given that I miss the ones that I don't get to see very often (although don't hold me to that when this topic comes back again for week 18). Instead, I opted to share about a friend that's near and dear to me even though I very rarely get to see her anymore: my friend, Kaimey.
Kaimey and I met waaaay back during Spring Break in 2004. Kaimey was an intern with the student ministry (youth group) at my home church at the time, and was one of the leaders on the middle school mission trip to Corpus Christi that week. I was still in college at the time and had agreed to come on the trip as a volunteer.
I remember being nervous because aside from the Youth Minister, I knew none of the other leaders or students that would be going on the trip. In case you didn't know, middle-schoolers can be intimidatingly awkward and unwelcoming, so I was hoping that if they were too cool for me, that at least the other leaders would make me feel welcome.
In the end, I was surprised when I became close to a handful of 7th grade girls (with whom I still keep up with today), but didn't so much make a connection with the other leaders, Kaimey included. She had already graduated from college and had established relationships with the students and other leaders, and truth be told, even though she was nice, she intimidated the heck out of me!
The leaders posing for a pic- don't be fooled by the fact that we're standing next to each other- we weren't big pals yet (although I was obviously big(ger) then ;)
Fast forward a year and at the same time I was starting my first post-college job as a National Consultant for my sorority, I had agreed to serve in an internship with that same student ministry during the time I would be at home. I soon came to find out that Kaimey had converted to a permanent position on staff and would be working there, too. Once again, I was intimidated, but hopeful that we would become friends.
Though we certainly had our differences (she was an avid Texas Tech fan and I a loyal Aggie, for one), we quickly came to realize how much we had in common. We both had an eye for detail that drove our co-workers crazy. We were both passionate about using appropriate grammar. We were both fluent in sarcasm. We both very much loved the students we worked with, but also wanted to sometimes lock them in the youth room and throw away the key.
Four of the female staff members at our tacky Christmas party in 2005 (L-R: Me, Jen, Kaimey, Beth)
One trait we also shared was a willingness to be honest. Like me, Kaimey was not one to dance around the truth, so I appreciated that I could always count on her to call a spade a spade and tell me if I was being ridiculous (which never happened, of course). She kept me in line, which is a feat few people in life have been able to accomplish.
I really did learn a lot from her, and I don't know that I ever told her as much (good thing she's going to see it on the blog!). In addition to the everyday ways she would challenge and encourage my faith, she also taught me a lot about relationships, which was extra important since Brian and I were then navigating the bumpy road of long-distance dating.
It's safe to say that in between mission trips, lock-ins, retreats, and all the highs and lows of "doing life" with middle and high school students, we had a lot of laughs, a lot of tears, and countless memories. And when the internship wrapped up in August 2006 and I made the decision to relocate to College Station
I'm thankful that our story didn't end there. In the years that followed, Kaimey and her husband, Scott, battled infertility and ultimately ended up with a set of boy/girl twins as a result of IVF. During that time, I prayed for her and was sad to hear about their struggle/excited to hear about their new additions, but of course had no real idea what they were going through.
Me meeting Harper & Hudson for the first time in December 2008
And because God is God and knew exactly what he was doing when He sent me on that mission trip back in college, you can guess who my first phone call was to when Brian and I were referred to a fertility specialist. And as those years came to pass, Kaimey was always there to pray, listen, and give advice as we trudged forward and eventually decided to give IVF a go.
And again, when we learned that we were expecting twins, though she was 2.5 hours away and in the middle of trying to once again grow her family, Kaimey was always ready and willing to answer questions about how to (sanely) gestate and then raise two humans at one time.
Kaimey, Harper, and Hudson meeting Colby & Clara for the first time in May 2013 (husbands present but not pictured!)
So here we are, 11 years after first meeting, now raising our own respective children instead of hanging out with the youth group kids. She and her family live in Austin, and now that I don't have family there, we rarely make it back that way.
Kaimey, I want you to know that I miss you, but I also appreciate you and all the ways you have provided support, encouragement, and love over the years, regardless of the distance. Thank you, friend!