Titi Kelly

Kelly is my oldest friend.

Our parents were childhood friends and we grew up together. Here's proof:

She is a year older than me and when we were kids that was a big deal. I thought she was the coolest thing e.v.e.r. She taught me about boys and clothes and the best places to hang out. Our families shared Sunday night dinners for most of our youth and we took vacations together. Our birthdays are in the same month and we still celebrate together almost every year at the same restaurant. We stood up for each other at our respective weddings—here's further proof:

(photo credit: Todd France Photography)

But it wasn't until we had children that our relationship was truly cemented.

When Kelly's first child was born we lived four blocks from each other in New York City. Within days of having the baby her husband had a terrible motorcycle accident and she found herself caring for an infant and a convalescing husband. My baby was almost two and he and I spent countless hours walking over to her apartment with coffee to sit and keep her company. Her husband recovered and they've since had another child.

She taught me how to make authentic beans and rice (as taught to her by her Puerto-Rican mother-in-law) and she was the first friend to visit me in the hospital after my boys were born. My list of memories is long but the one which stands out as the most worth sharing here is this: when my baby was three and my husband and I decided to split up, Kelly was the one I called, and I'll never forget her reaction—she cried.

All these years later we find ourselves living in the same county, and despite busy schedules manage to maintain some of the traditions of our friendship. My sons call her Titi from the Spanish endearment for aunt, and hers do the same to me. She teaches fifth grade English and is always good for a book recommendation. She is practical and smart and never uptight. She has an infectious laugh and can be brutally honest. I love her as I imagine one would love a sister and my life, and the lives of my children, are richer for having her in it.