Cato and Leanna like to give me hell every now and then for not ever keeping up with this blog. I get it—I made this promise to write about our hang outs for the year. I did it five times. We’ve hung out half a million times. This is typically how life goes for me.
Usually I like to tell them, “Well, we haven’t really done anything.” At least not anything special enough to the point where it needs to be immortalized in print. But that’s me not being entirely honest, I’ve realized, because nearly every moment we spend together is hilarious, or enjoyable, or just comfortable, and if I could read back on all of these moments, I would. If I could have a camera on us at all times, capturing all of the weird conversations and interactions we’ve found ourselves involved in throughout this year, I would (although, it would need be seriously edited before viewed by anyone other than ourselves). It’s all so easy when we’re all together, and while I know this isn’t some entirely unique way for a group of friends to view themselves, it’s special to us in a way that I hope other people are experiencing or will experience with their own circle of friends.
Leanna’s moving to Hawaii in February. A years worth of fun things we’ve done together, and this is what inspired me to want to write. But I don’t want to write about Leanna moving, because that’ll break my heart just a bit (on a side note though: I know she’s going to love going back to the island life that she’s constantly reminiscing about. I’m ridiculously happy for her, while at the same time quietly devastated about it). I want to write about how much love I have for these people and about the moments that made me pause and be thankful—the kind of moments that you sink effortlessly into and regard with a special type of sentiment, thinking, “Yeah, this right here, happening with these people—it was pretty much predestined to take place since the beginning of time.” Because being with these people can’t just be some stupid coincidence or dumb luck (but if it is, I’m just as grateful and content).
There are moments in time that would straight up suck to forget, to put it most accurately. I can’t remember the moment I met or learned about Leanna, but I remember meeting Cato—freshman year, first day, animal science with Coach Gamble. I remember the first time I thought Leanna and I might be friends—in a hot tub, the summer after she and Cato graduated; they were hanging out with Jared and I was sitting inside, but then she
invited me to join. These were moments that I thought nothing of at the time, but I now would hate to not be able to remember. In the grand scheme of our lives, maybe these moments aren’t that important, and maybe another moment would have led to the friendship in which we’re currently involved, but maybe not, so I’ll hold onto these snippets in time. There are a hundred particular moments from the past year that I would like to pinpoint, but would likely be able to describe with only vague accuracy, incapable of entirely capturing the spirit of the joke or experience I want to detail. And I only know so many words, you know, so let me just blurt out what comes to mind:
I don’t want to forget these memories that we’ve made—
- Listening to Leanna laughing and screaming like a little kid beside me while tubing on the lake. Similarly, Cato pulling me onto the jet ski feet first (we’ll ignore the part where I thought I broke my nose).
- Sitting on the porch in Charlotte sometime well into the night, contemplating a second trip to Waffle House.
- Being in the pool while it rained.
- Being on the boat, watching fireworks.
- Going on our first family trip—Boone. On that note: nearly getting the car stuck in a stranger’s driveway and then asking them to follow our dogs on Instagram. Hiking. Sitting on that porch surrounded by the prettiest trees. The Blue Ridge Parkway. Our Food Lion feast at the dinner table. Leaving Makenzie and Lee at the gas station while Cato and I drove to take these pictures without them ever knowing we were gone:
- The many days spent watching the dogs and staying outside (these are simple, but some of my favorites).
- Being on the couch, listening to Cato play music with my dad, coloring with Leanna (again, so simple).
- Everyone holding back laughter, listening to Cato make outrageous prank calls (“Is this Mike?” “…yeah.”)
- The countless moments that have led to the sometimes incomprehensible and sometimes hilarious inside jokes written in my phone (I’ll make the scrapbook, Lee).
- Laying outside, looking at stars (“Man, you know what I love about coming out here is how you can always see the stars!”).
- Making a dog Instagram (Oh, Gordon).
- Utilizing snapchat’s filters and features for our endless amusement.
- Being on our own island (Jamlandia? Jamleedia?)
- Breaking out into poor-sounding (or is it actually really impressive-sounding?) beat-boxing and song.
- Carowinds, even though I could have died that day.
- Celebrating birthdays, and all that goes along with them—“It’s a Jamie thing. You wouldn’t understand.” Tie-dying on Leanna’s birthday (there’s no way that shirt isn’t my most worn shirt of the year). Getting a personalized cow onesie (I love you guys for that one alone).
And there are smaller, not as simply stated things that I would also hate to forget (as well as things that just have no place being on the Internet for all to see). I’ve always appreciated the respect and kindness Cato and Leanna show towards my entire family, but also the way they fit and meld so nicely into conversations and interactions with them. People tend to get along with my family, but it seems like they do it the best and most seamlessly. They’re polite and relaxed and express no judgement when my dad says something entirely inappropriate or off the wall, or when my mom asks where the cat is for the fifth time in thirty minutes (common occurrences at the Biggs’ house).
To play off of that: it’s so cool having the same best friends as your brother. And while I don’t doubt that Jared and I would still be close without having the common link of Cato and Leanna being our friends, I realize that we might not have the strong friendship that goes along with our brother-sister relationship. For that, I’m always going to be really thankful.
I also just admire Cato and Leanna as individuals in ways that I don’t think I’ve ever bothered to express to them, but hopefully they know. They’re both so independent and driven and focused when they need to be, but have retained all of the hilarious
and youthful qualities that most people lose when going through this process of growing up. Everyone seems so jaded, but they’re not jaded, and sometimes you need to be around people who still have a positive outlook on the future, and they’re those people for me.
Anyhow. Reading what I’ve written here has got me all weirded out with the prospect of anyone other than myself reading it, so that means it’s time to stop being so open and honest. The purpose of writing should be clear without the writer needing to state their intent, but if it’s not clear: my intention here was to express to Cato and Leanna how much I appreciate them and the times we’ve spent together this year. I love you guys.