Letters from Me, Day 11: Tanis R. Monroe, Fort Edward, NY

Dear Tate,

You may be my very oldest friend in the world. 

In fact, other than my family, I know you are. We first met - get this - almost 19 years ago. Is that even possible? I simultaneously love that our history is that long and hate that we are that old! But what that means is that we've lived a lot of life together.

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Our story began in the end of 1996, when we met through mutual friend, Judy. Among our first connections were music, nail polish, friendship bracelets made out of embroidery floss, late night movie sleepovers and chatting on AOL. 

It took a few months, but by the summer of 1997, we were hanging out every week, wrecking havoc in Lake George Village and the backyards of Queensbury. We became inseparable, confiding in each other every minute detail of our lives - over the phone (we didn't even have call waiting at the Clark household then!), in person and via our books. 

Our books are amazing...how many were there? At least 3 or 4.

They were simple Mead bound notebooks - standard rule (not college rule), so we could fit our sprawling cursive and ample hearts. We covered the front in stickers and emblems we designed. We filled the pages with everything - letters, diary entries, poems, secrets, song lyrics, photographs, drawings, magazine cutout collages. It was our real time scrapbook, our captain's log, our life in pictures and words. 

For at least 2 or 3 years, we passed those books back and forth, sometimes a few days at a time, or as the years went on, every few weeks. 

Recorded in those books were our crushes, our triumphs, our sorrows, our memories we were making every moment. As we wrote, we lived and loved and laughed and fought and made up and cried and smiled.

We were kids, but we were becoming adults.

We danced, we sang, we started a band, we snuck out, we experimented with cooking, we set things on fire, we chugged Surge and ate nothing but chunky peanut butter for several weeks in 1998. We had normal 13 or 14 year old afflictions, but we were also way ahead of our time.

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For at least 2 or 3 years, we passed those books back and forth, sometimes a few days at a time, or as the years went on, every few weeks. 

Recorded in those books were our crushes, our triumphs, our sorrows, our memories we were making every moment. As we wrote, we lived and loved and laughed and fought and made up and cried and smiled.

We were kids, but we were becoming adults.

We danced, we sang, we started a band, we snuck out, we experimented with cooking, we set things on fire, we chugged Surge and ate nothing but chunky peanut butter for several weeks in 1998. We had normal 13 or 14 year old afflictions, but we were also way ahead of our time.

tate-letter-2.jpg

You were my spirit guide those years. You helped me shed my middle school awkwardness and become more confident and self aware. I always admired the way you carried yourself. You were so graceful and feminine, sure of yourself and assertive, but still vulnerable and sweet. You were the perfect combination of girly girl and tomboy. I looked up to you, I fell in love with you, I followed you.

The years took us further apart as you moved to Warrensburg and I made new friends and got involved in theater and music.

But we stayed connected. I remember the summer of 2000, when your new boyfriend got ahold of me to invite me to be the "big surprise" at your 16th birthday party. I knew he was a good guy, even back then.

That boyfriend became your fiancè...and eventually, in the summer of 2005, your husband. I was honored to stand by your side in your beautiful wedding in Crandall Park and had tears in my eyes as the wind blew warm and the ducks paddled past and you two said your vows.

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Not two years later, I had a brand new reason to get tears in my eyes. You gave birth (in a harrowing display of womanly strength) to two tiny, perfect twin girls. Right from the start, when we were sitting at your apartment in downtown Glens Falls, I saw you holding Leigha and rocking her and quieting her when she cried, and I knew you were going to be amazing mother. You already were.

The years have flown by since then.

The girls began to talk..and walk..and run. Since I moved to Philly, we have made special time every few months for a visit, and I've always been astounded at how much they have grown and what they've been learning about and what they're interested in. Every year, I look forward to gingerbread house building and the summer picnic. Because there is nothing better than hopping twin girls up on sugar and letting them loose on crafts and playtime. I treasure my time with them, and can't wait to see what this year brings for them as you guys continue home school - which, for the record, looks like the most fun and educational days ever.

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But even after all of this, we still have us. The moments we share when it's just us two, the text messages, the whispered chats or long hugs when we share our secrets. Nineteen years later, we're still the best of friends. We still have each other, each others' backs, and each others' hearts. You will always have me, my dear and I hope to always have you.

Love,

Amanda