When I look back on my life, I can say resoundingly that Tara was my first best friend. While we grew up in a small town and always knew each other as a result-- my sister was even her babysitter for a while-- we first became friends when we were in the same 4th grade class. One of my earliest memories of Tara, one of the ways that solidified her as that first best friend, is when she stuck up for me, a meek and shy 10 year old, when a classmate was being unkind. As upsetting as that moment probably was as it occurred...as much as I was probably focused on the mean girl at the time...when I look back on that moment as an adult I just see the beautiful beginning of one of my most valued friendships.
Tara and I shared so much during our adolescence. I have boxes full of notes from her, vividly remember our inside jokes, spent hours talking to her about any and everything. We were often kicked out of classes because one or both of us couldn't stop laughing, and I think if my life so far were to be replayed, so many of the moments that I have laughed the hardest have been with Tara. Middle school and high school can be challenging years, but I know that one of the reasons I look back at those years with such happiness and levity is because of Tara. She was always willing to be totally ridiculous and obnoxious without abandon, and we had an unbelievable amount of fun as a result.
Unfortunately college distanced us a bit, but I am so blessed that time and the bond one forges ruining plays together can sustain any distance time and life may create. Tara and I reconnected years ago, and I am so happy to say that I once again call her one of my closest friends. One of the most amazing qualities of Tara as a grown woman is that I still see traces of who she was when we first became best friends. She is unbelievably selfless, strong and kind. Her laugh is just as bountiful and contagious as it ever was; she's gregarious and exudes an infectious happiness and positivity you can't help but internalize in her presence. She's gracious and graceful, someone I know I can go to at any time for advice, for a laugh, for motivation. Anyone who knows Tara knows her to be a force of positivity and energy, and I am blessed to have her in my life. We are the Bunson to one another's Beaker, the Super Rockill to one another's Caped Canova, my fierce, loyal and amazing dear friend.