“Eight years ago Anna Mott had her tenth birthday party. We all gathered into her backyard and decorated individual cakes, ate yummy food, and ran around in the backyard to our hearts content. I can't remember for sure what happened, maybe it was that she didn't laugh as I messed up the icing on my cake, but helped me fix it, or maybe it was the way she smiled and laughed at my jokes- but that birthday party changed our friendship, and that was the day it truly blossomed. From that day on-we were inseparable. Both of our families gained another daughter and each of our siblings gained another sister- if Anna wasn't at my house, we were at hers. It was a summer full of smiles and laughter- from swimming in the swimming pool, roller skating in the rain, dancing on the hardwood floors, making and recording our own cooking show, pretending to be twins everywhere we went (don't worry, of course we had matching outfits) and trying to stay up all night (we were usually asleep by 11:00.) Anna kept me laughing, and here we are eight long, crazy, and difficult years later- and we are all still laughing.
I have always admired Anna's spirit, her thoughtfulness, her courage, her faith, and her caring nature- and each of these characteristics became even more evident as Anna battled the unthinkable- from brain cancer, to radiation and chemotherapy, to a stroke, and to complete rehabilitation Anna was ALWAYS positive, charming, thoughtful, and happy- the smile rarely left her face. And even through the worst possible time of all of our lives- she still laughed at my jokes.
A lot has changed about Anna over the past, almost two years, but her smile, her laughter, her ability to love, and her Anna-ness is still there- and I know it's because of the person she is that she persevered, and came out smiling. Anna changes people, you don't recover from knowing Anna- she makes everyone around her a better person, and just by knowing her and being her best friend all these years- I know she has changed me and helped me smile.
So here we are, a long road away from those two little girls that decorated cakes at your tenth birthday party and laughed and giggled probably more than we formed actual sentences. Many things have changed, where we live, what we eat, and even what we look like- but our friendship hasn't, we're still happy, we're still smiling, and we're still laughing.
Happy 18th Birthday Anna Banana. I love you more than words can say. Thank you for still laughing at my jokes, and not making fun of me when I'm being dumb.
Congratulations on 18 years of being a person we can all look up too. It's funny, I'm older- but it's you I want to be when I grow up.
I love you more than there are stars in the sky, thank you for everything.
Happy Birthday to my hero, and my absolute best friend.”