I was in kindergarten when I met my first “sister.”
I was just five years old, shy, quiet and reserved. I was basically the teacher’s pet. So when my bilingual teacher decided to move me into the English-only class, I was in shock! I’m sure they spoke to my parents about it and received consent and signatures, but at that moment I felt like I had done something wrong.
More than a Friend, a Sister
Luckily for me, that was the day I met one of my best friends, who I now consider to be my sister, JoAnne. She was my very first English-speaking friend. They partnered her up with me because she was the most outgoing, talkative and friendliest person in the class. We love telling the story of how we met way back when in kindergarten.
To this day, after 28 years of friendship, she is still the exact same person to me. It’s funny how at just a mere five years old, I met a friend with whom I hope to grow old. We will definitely be the old ladies having shopping dates, wearing pearls and sporting big hats! We’ve been through a lot together, we shared so many laughs and memories, yet our paths are so different.
JoAnne is the smartest person I know. She’s the smartest person I’ve known practically my entire life. She’s level-headed, compassionate and brave. But — a little warning — don’t get on her bad side, or she will use “smart” words to kindly put you in your place.
In elementary school, JoAnne and I started “The Hot Cheeto Club.” During recess in second grade, and we’d meet under Mrs. Serna’s classroom table and share Hot Cheetos. We would find any reason to hang out and eat junk food that our parents were against. We were such rebels . . .
The New Girl in Class
In fourth grade I met my other sister, Hurley. I remember vividly how we met. She was a transfer student from another school and I was intrigued by her appearance. She had the fairest, lightest complexion that I had ever seen — she still does. Her porcelain skin was covered in freckles and she had the rosiest cheeks.
After a few days I just HAD to talk to her. “Where are you from? What country are you from?” I couldn’t believe that she could be from the Rio Grande Valley, where nearly all of my classmates shared my darker complexion and dark hair. Confused by my question, she answered that she was from Mexico — which she wasn’t, but that was her response. We laugh about this now as adults. We were instantly best friends.
She basically lived at my house, she slept on my bed and sat next to me for dinner on most nights. Hurley was spunky and loud and unforgettable. She still is. She loves deeply and just has so much passion spewing out her veins.
In Junior High, JoAnne, Hurley and I were in the Lisa Frank Club. We would make our moms buy us only Lisa Frank school supplies. We were so cool. I can’t believe Lisa Frank is still around. I can’t wait for my little one to ask me for Lisa Frank goodies of her own. Now that I am a mother myself, I completely understand why my mom would listen to my crazy pre-teen demands. Thank you, mom. You are the real MVP.
Growing Up and Becoming Moms
Both of these ladies have played such a huge part in my life. We’ve basically grown up together, and now we’re moms together. Both of them told me they were pregnant while inviting me out to eat. I have a thing for food, I still do.
JoAnne and I were seniors in high school when she told me she was pregnant while we were eating breakfast at Denny’s (instead of being in school). She was a teen mom, but she graduated high school as our salutatorian, she went to college and continued on to law school. She’s been practicing law here in the Valley ever since and furthering her career. She’s amazing, she’s unstoppable, and she’s my friend. My little one calls her “Tia Choane.”
Hurley told me she was expecting one hot afternoon while eating a spicy deluxe at Chick-fil-A. We were already in our late twenties, but her news was still as shocking as JoAnne’s. My best friends were moms without me. I wasn’t part of that club, not yet at least. Hurley has the cutest kids and one of her daughters is just a few months younger than mine. I can totally see “Liz & Hurley” growing up together again through our daughters. My little one also calls her “Tia Holy.”
Our kiddos will know each other as cousins, because we are sisters.
There’s so many stories I can share. I literally have a lifetime of them. Looking back I can see why God brought us together and kept us together. No matter how busy our lives get, we are always there for one another, just a phone call, a text, or a surprise visit away. I have two biological sisters and I love them dearly. But I got to choose these two sisters, JoAnne & Hurley.
We may not be related by blood, but we’re connected by memories, by laughter and by all the crazy stories we’ve shared.
What a sweet story!