I’ll never forget the day I met my best friend. I walked into my eighth grade English class and immediately noticed we had a new classmate at our table. She had blonde streaks in her hair and glitter under her eyes, and she was as smiley as can be. I thought to myself, I have to be her friend.

I later learned her name was Kelly and we had several classes together. I wanted to make sure she felt welcome, so I invited her to eat lunch with me and made sure to introduce her to as many people as possible.

It wasn’t long after that she was coming over after school almost every day and I was claiming her as my best friend.

There was something about our personalities that just clicked.

She was always bubbly and upbeat and had a way of instantly changing my mood on a bad day. She became a part of my family and I a part of hers—we were inseparable.

When we moved on to high school, it was great having each other to lean on. High school brings its fair share of challenges and fair weathered friends, but Kelly and I only became closer as time went on.

We sang in the chorus together, were each other’s tennis partners and tried out for all of the same extra-curricular activities.

And the laughter—oh the laughter!—it never stopped. I’m pretty sure there were a few incidents that we literally peed our pants from laughing so hard. ?

Of course, we also had our differences and plenty of times that we had to take breaks from each other, but one thing always remained—we were best friends, no matter what.

After graduating high school, Kelly and I moved on to colleges in different towns and I remember being so worried that we would drift apart. We had both inevitably lost touch with our circle of friends and I couldn’t imagine how she and I would stay close when we were thousands of miles away.

But here we are, 16 years later and we are still best friends. Our friendship is still as strong as ever.

There has always been something so unique and so special about our friendship, and after all these years we’ve clung to that.

We’ve been there for each other through many relationships, loss of family members, incredible hardships and life-changing events—like motherhood. (In fact, I’m not sure there have been many milestones in my life that she hasn’t been a part of-which I am so grateful for.)

I’ll never forget the time that she rushed out to Colorado to be with me after having my son so she could give me some much needed rest.

I’ll never forget when she came over with wine because I couldn’t seem to get myself together enough to get out of the house.

I’ll never forget the many times that she has sent words of encouragement in a card or a letter during what seemed like the never-ending tantrum phase my son was going through, “You are such a great mom Rach, keep it up.”

I am eternally grateful for the constant love she has shown my son and now my step-kids—she is going to make a great mom herself someday.

Above all, the thing that is most special about our friendship, is the way we pick up where we left off no matter how much time has passed. There is something amazing about being around someone who just gets you. Someone who has known you since you were thirteen.

Someone who knows your past but doesn’t judge you for it.

Someone who is there to pick you up, just when you need it.

Someone you can call and vent to when you need a listening ear.

Someone you can go to when you really need advice and know you’ll get an honest opinion.

Someone who totally gets the chaos of your life because you’re a mom and doesn’t hold it against you for not calling more or forgetting to respond to a text.

Someone who after 16 years of friendship, you can still call your best friend and know that nothing will ever change that.

Someone who is your “person.” Thank you for being my person, Kelly.