Dec 23, 2010

Posted by in My Life's Quirks | 9 Comments

My Life’s Quirks – A Christmas Memory and My Best Friend Mel

This is the week of Christmas and this is my Life’s Quirks post.  I’m sure many of you are expecting me to take you along with me as I look back at the many Christmases I have lived through.  Well, you’re not completely wrong.  I am going to reminisce with you, but I am just going to take you on a little trip down memory lane to one Christmas.  It was the Christmas where I realized that soon enough, I would not be a little kid anymore.  The one Christmas where I started thinking that soon enough, I won’t want toys under the tree.  I’ll want clothes and music and makeup.  You know, teenager stuff.  And this realization came courtesy of my dearest and oldest friend, Melanie.

Mel and I have known each other forever.  We met when she was three and I was two.  Her family moved to one of the houses behind my parents’ home.  I once asked my mother how Mel and I met and she says that I used to really like playing in the sandbox my father had built for me in my backyard and one day, Mel was there with me.  That was it.

We’ve been a part of each other’s lives ever since.  We did go through a few phases where we didn’t hang out quite as much.  In high school, we remained close friends but we ran in different circles.  She graduated after grade 12 and went off to college while I stayed to finish my grade 13.  We always stayed in touch but it wasn’t until she came back to live in Ottawa that we really re-connected.  But no matter how many kilometres separate us, I will always make it a point to stay close to Mel.  Why?  Because she is one of my heroes.

You see, Melanie is a Little Person.  Standing tall and proud at 3’11”.  I didn’t even really notice that there was something different about her until I was 7 or 8 years old…and even then, it wasn’t a big deal.  I just asked my mother why Mel wasn’t growing like me.  I got my answer and that was that.  Growing up in a small city wasn’t easy on Mel.  She would get stared at and pointed at a lot.  People would laugh too.  Once I became aware of that, I was really pissed at people.  The ignorance and the lack of manners and respect!  I started having staring contests with them.  If Mel and I were together and someone would start staring at her, they would inevitably look at me too.  That’s when I would stare them down.  I know I didn’t need to.  The reality was that it made no difference.  The other reality is that Mel could easily have kicked their arses.  She’s always been a tough “I won’t take your shit” cookie.

Life has not been smooth for Mel.  Being the only teenager in our city with her condition was tough on her.  I can only imagine how lonely she must have felt at times.  She lived in Toronto for a while and that’s where she found “Little People of America” and its other chapters.  That is when I started to really notice a change in her.  She was no longer alone…she found an insane amount of friends and she found love!  I will always remember the first time she told me about Ben.  She said:  “He’s this big (she put her arm straight up), he wears bike shorts with red socks, has a purple streak in his hair and smells like the Body Shop’s peach oil.”  Riiiiight…  This guy sounded…nice.  Turns out he was very nice.  Quiet.  But he took good care of my friend and that’s what mattered the most.  Mel was happy and they got married in 2001.  Their son came in 2003 (they conceived him on my wedding night!  Cool and Ew! all at once.)  I was there when she confirmed she was pregnant.  She ran out of her bathroom carrying that test stick and yelled “I’m pregnant!!!”  It was one of the funniest moments of my life!

Mel’s size has also caused her to have to deal with many health issues.  Lots of pain, many procedures and none of them fun.  But she endures.  She goes on.  Not always smiling, but always strong.  And she always makes it through.

…And wow did I ever get off topic here.  Christmas, yes.  You see, Mel was always a little more ‘grown up’ than me.  I will always remember the Christmas when we were 10.  Mel and I always exchanged gifts.  And as we got older, we stopped caring for surprises and started asking each other for specific things.  I loved My Little Ponies.  Loved.   There were these baby MLP out that year and I wanted a specific one.  So I told Mel to get me that one.  She, in turn, told me to get her the new Kool and the Gang cassette tape.

Um…excuse me?  A music tape?!  What about a toy or a game or…a toy!  Toys were the best.  Music was for…teenagers!  Even though I didn’t quite understand why she would want such an un-fun gift, I got her the cassette tape.  And she, being the awesome friend that she was, got me the My Little Pony baby I desperately wanted.  But wow did that hit me.  Mel, the girl who has always been a part of my life, no longer wanted toys for Christmas… And that’s when it occurred to me that soon enough, I would not want toys either.  Wow…what a wakeup call.

Even though Mel managed to burst one of my childhood bubbles at an early age *wink*, she is a true friend.  She was my Matron of Honor at my wedding and she’s the Godmother to both of my children.  I have watched her tackle and overcome so much in her life…but she always makes it through.  She is courageous and she is strong.  She is my hero.

Joyeux Noël Mélanie!  Here’s to almost 33 years of friendship and to 66 more!  You will be one crotchety old woman, but I’ll love you just the same!  xo

  1. Awww this post made me smile and tear up. Lovely!

  2. What a beautiful post Julie. Thank you for sharing this memory and introducing us to Mel.

  3. Dito to KB/KT Grant! It gave me chills too…what a wonderful friendship and such respect and love coming from this post! It really warmed me up from the inside out! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful thing with us Julie!

    As for the gifts, I was really big into my little ponies too! LOL…and Care Bears. 😀

  4. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, what a sweet sweet post. You are so very blessed to have such a great friend in your life, *sniffles*. 🙂

  5. Very well written Julie. 🙂

  6. that is the sweetest thing ever!! and not that she is just a little person but what a great friendship!! I really hope u guys make it another 66 yrs!

    ps…LOVED how she just “showed up” in ur sandbox…LOL!

  7. Katie – 🙂

    Jen – Mel is awesome sauce!

    Deanna – Care Bears! They were so cool!

    Pamela – I am really blessed.

    Stanley – Thanks! xo

    Sharon – That’s my favorite part too. 🙂

  8. 33 years of friendship is amazing, and so very special. What a great story. xo

  9. Aww.. thanks Julie. You’re my closest and bestest friend. May the love and caring we have for one another last for years on end.

    I wish you a Happy New Year! and by the way, I am due for a visit. 🙂

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