I’ll never forget the day I found my first best friend. We were out for ice cream one sticky summer afternoon, and my heart was beating fast in anticipation as we waited in a line of screaming kids with sticky hands and mud-spattered clothes. While in line, I squeezed my friend’s hand and smiled, exposing my missing front tooth. Finally, we were next. While I stood on my tiptoes to gaze at all the flavors, she ordered for us.
“I’d like strawberry in a cone,” she began, pausing to glance back at the flavors nailed to the wall of the little gray shack. I didn’t hear her finish ordering because by that time, I had two scoops of ice cream in my hands, and nothing else mattered to me. Hardly able to contain my excitement, I gave a hard lick and watched as a ball of pink tumbled to the dirt. As the tears swelled, I clenched my fists to keep from wailing, but just then my grandmother held out her cone.
“Here, you can have mine,” she said softly. I looked at her, amazed that she would give up two scoops of strawberry heaven and hesitantly grasped the wafer cone.
Giving up her ice cream cone was not my grandmother’s most honorable action. Throughout my life she has been by my side, holding my hand, giving me strength, and teaching me lessons without intending to. That day, she taught me the value of friendship, a lesson that I consider one of the most important in life. Radiating with strength, elegance, and kindness, my grandmother has been a continuous inspiration, reminding me that life is all about little pleasures and good friends to enjoy them with along the way.
A few years ago, she asked that I try on her wedding dress. I pulled the yellowed silk gown over my head, smoothing the torn lace while she and my mother snapped photos. My grandmother has always wished to be at my wedding, but because she is now 92, and battling the late stages of severe Alzheimer's, I don't know if this dream is realistic. However, whether or not she is sitting in the church, she will be with me—in a piece of yellowed lace sewn over my heart.