July 23: I knew today was somebody's birthday, and it struck me midway through my morning walk that this is Elizabeth's 14th birthday. Elizabeth is the daughter of two of our best friends from college in upper East Tennessee. Jesse was 4 months old when Elizabeth was born. In the picture above, she is six days old. We lived in Oxford, Ohio then and Robert and Debbie lived a couple hours away in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. I was working as an editorial assistant, Randy was a stay-at-home-dad and in graduate school at Miami University, Robert was working on his PhD at UK, and Debbie was a pastor at a local church.
This was Elizabeth's first trip to visit us, age six weeks. Jesse was just starting to pull himself along, infantry-man style. I remember being awed at how much difference there was in just four months of babyhood.
This is one of my favorites from their early days. We were hiking one day in November. Jesse is about 8 months old and Elizabeth is four months, and no doubt they toppled over after this picture in their marshmallow suits.
Many years later, when Jesse and Elizabeth were six, we were all back down in Tennessee but two hours apart. For the first several years, we continued to Elizabeth and her family every couple of months. Jesse and Elizabeth were wired exactly the same way. Both outrageously creative, they were a formidable team. We never knew what they would come up with. They were perfectly matched and perfectly at ease with one another. And then the busyness of our lives hit. I'm sad to say that it's been nearly three years since we have seen our wonderful friends (and we live just two hours apart). Jesse's now taller than I am, and I imagine Elizabeth is, as well. If I was astounded at the difference between four months and six weeks, I can hardly imagine the difference between age 11 (the last time we were all together) and age 14.
And so, Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Grace. May this be the year we reconnect.