This is my niece, Lela's first day of school, ever. It was the day that my "best friend" status started to slide. I really couldn't compete with all the cool kids at school. The pesky school day interrupted our daily phone call schedule.
Lela was the first grandchild, the only grandchild for four glorious years. She instantly won all our hearts. It seemed as soon as she could talk we had our daily phone call. My mom watched her while my sister was at work, so when I called to check in with my mom in the morning I always ended my call with a chat with my best friend.
I had a job that was kind of boring and some days depressing so my chat with Lela was the highlight of my day. I have never met a child so in tune with everyone, so emotionally mature. Lela seemed to always know just what I needed to hear to keeping me smiling all day.
Lela was the first person in my family to meet my husband. We had a sleepover scheduled for the day after my first date with Dave. Dave and I were so instantly smitten that we couldn't imagine not seeing each other the next day. Dave met Lela and I at the mall and strolled around with us and tried to win Lela over. Dave instantly knew Lela was a special kid. He also knew that if he was in with Lela, he'd be gold with me.
Lela warmed up to him by the end of our circle around the mall and she summed him up perfectly in the car on the way home, "He's nice but kinda crazy". I think five years later she probably still feels the same way about him.
Lela starts fourth grade next week. I feel old. I feel sad that I won't be there to see her after her first day. I also feel so proud to be her aunt and to once have been her "best friend". So all you kids in fourth grade jockeying to be Lela's best friend can suck it, because I was her FIRST best friend! Yes, I just told some nine year olds to suck it, I'm not proud.
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