it seems like one of those nights,
we ditch the whole scene and end up dreaming
instead of sleeping.
22 - taylor swift
I connect with people by trying to figure them out. In some ways this a neat and interesting quality, and in other ways it's problematic. I can relatively quickly watch, process and conclude "what a person is like" but I can also turn people into a "project." Which is bad. But. I often have one specific moment where, in my mind, I finally "get" someone.
For Rachel Leigh
, it happened while I was grilling hamburgers. Rachel has been a longtime blog-friend. I've always been fascinated with her crazy long hair (can your hair give my hair lessons?!), her simple and good reminders of happy and true things, and her celebratory happiness for her friends. I guessed (deduced) that she was a fresh, kind, talented and smart girl. Which, she is.
From what I could tell online, Rachel seemed demure and ballerina-like. And almost as if she had been dropped into 2013 from a Green Gable somewhere a number of decades back. Not because she looked old, but because she seemed charmed in a southern grace, bonnet and dress, walk in the fields and read sort of way.
Last week, Rachel and her best one, Allix (who you'll meet in just a second) came all the way up from Texas to be my guests and to "break the cyber barrier" and MEET. IN. PERSON. Rachel instantly surprised me. Though she was just as kind, graceful and intelligent as I imagined she would be, she was not nearly as quiet or reserved. Rachel is full of conversation, question, thoughts, stories, facts and humor. She is extremely well-spoken, quick on her feet and bright. Her vocabulary is golden, her opinions are thoughtful and her confidence is strong. I loved it.
And it all dawned on me while we were visiting Caleb and the boys at the house. My tradition is to bring hamburger meat up to them for lunch. Every day. We charcoal grill. Patty to grill, patty to bun, bun to mouth. No utensils, plates, napkins, toppings. They like it hot, well-done and fast. They've cut the hamburger meet with their saws (which is gross) and use 2x4's as a serving platter. But since I had some ladies with me, I tried to be a little more hospitable. I brought some fruit, chips, paper plates and water bottles. While our lady-lunch was grilling Rachel asked if I had plates. "Yes! They are in that bag on the ground." "Do you want me to get them for you?" "Eh, we have a little while before the burgers are done. I'm good. Thanks though!" A minute or two later I see her pawing through the bag. She stops. Comes and stands by me. I felt like she was on the verge of saying something, but she didn't. I continue talking with Allix and her mother (who joined us for the day! So much fun.) and I catch Rachel eyeing the bags again. She finally blurted out "Do you want me to get the plates out now so that when the burgers are ready, they'll be ready?" And it clicked for me.
"Rachel!" I laughed "I figured it out! You're a control freak!" Hahaha. "Yes, go get the plates. You're very concerned about them!" She immediately started laughing too. "No, no! I just, well, I want to help and...!"
I cut her off. And I really was mostly
teasing. More than control-freak, this is what The Paper Plate Pleading showed me about her: she is an initiator. I think I thought of her more as a sweet follower. But no. She is a bold, aware, gentle initiator. Whether it's trips or stories or practical needs or match-making... she is taking action. I think it's an incredibly beautiful and important quality, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that in her. Though I teased her about the plates for the rest of the day, I was more impressed than anything.
Rachel, I loved
meeting you and am justsoglad you made the trip up to visit with me. See you again soon, yes? Oh. And never forget that us "Leigh's" will always hold a special place in each other's hearts ;)
If you know who Rachel is, you definitely know who Allix B
is. And vice-versa. They're often asked "Are you two sisters?!" And they seem to be with each other all day, every day. Which, I know they aren't. But it's rare to "find" one online without the other nearby. They're the best kind of best friends. Different in nearly every way, yet too many similarities to count. I would have been actually sad
if I hadn't been able to meet them both together :) Thanks for making me happy, guys.
Now, while I had "imagined" Rachel as more on the hushed side, I pictured Allix being a CRAZYGOOFBALLFIREWORKALLTHEDAYLONG. I was certainly "closer" in my guess with her than I was with Rachel ;)
However! For being only 17, I was, again, surprised and impressed with Allix's sense of calm and stability while maintaining giddy, dimple-y, instant happiness. I decided that she writes much more exclaimated than she acts (at least during first impressions), but she is really as happy as she seems. Her cute sense of style, her smart business sense, her love of words and writing well, and her obvious talent with a camera are just cherries on this sweet sundae.
I'm sure she has her moments (who doesn't?) but Allix was much less "dumb blonde" and much more "Eva Gabor." She isn't just
funny quips, easy laughter and bright colors. She has a processing, analyzing, deep brain - and it's not hidden. It's obvious. She knows what she likes and doesn't like, because she has thought about it. She isn't "about the trends." She is gracious and patient and really just so kind.
It was great getting to watch Allix enjoy, friend and even play with her mom all day long, too. They have such a trusting, close relationship. The kind where you finish each other's sentences and mutually care deeply about the other's opinions and preferences. I'd be willing to bet that most of Allix's relationships are like that: she is all in, and she is all in because she cares. It's impressive, and I hope never ever fades. You must come visit again. I won't stand for it otherwise :)
Girls! You were such a lovely part of my week. And I want the whole world to know: Rachel and Allix are so much wonderful.
Follow them and be their friend, and get ready for fun times.