You don't know that I made the decision to start collecting giraffes on a whim 11 years ago while in France when I saw a beautiful poster of a giraffe metamorphosing into the Eiffel Tower.
You don't know that our camera was broken the entire time we were in France so that none of the 300 or so pictures we took during our visit developed. Nor do you know that we ended up making a gorgeous scrapbook out of the pictures Scott had from his previous time in France and from pictures generously lent to us by a friend from when she was in Paris.
You don't know that Scott proposed to me at the Memorial Arch in Tilton, NH because it reminded us of the Arc de Triomphe.
You don't know how much I not only wanted you at our wedding but also wished that our relationship was the same and that you could have stood up as my witness.
You don't know that one of my brother's and his wife have 3 children together, giving me a total of 7 nieces and nephews on my side of the family.
You don't know that my oldest niece, whom you have met, is engaged to be married.
You don't know what craziness we went through toward the end of my pregnancy, not the least of which was being diagnosed with preeclampsia and having to deliver Sweetie 3 week earlier than her actual due date.
You don't know that I was able to have a natural birth that went very successfully, but that I was also put on some crazy magnesium sulfate while in the hospital and that I more or less have no recollection of Sweetie's entire first day of life.
You don't know that I had a grand mal seizure a month or so before Scott and my wedding, which has required me to be on seizure medication ever since.
You don't know that I walk with a walking stick now or that ever since giving birth my left upper leg can (and usually does) go completely numb after standing on it for only a short time or that I have terrible lower back pain - both of which are helped a small bit by the drug store back brace I wear almost every day and certainly when I know I'll be out and about.
You don't know that I had a hysterectomy a little over 2 years ago because - well, let's just say Sweetie broke my "oven" when she took residence there and it wished to leave my body one way or another no matter what!
You don't know Sweetie. Amazing, smart, energetic, imaginative, creative, curious, stubborn, sweet Sweetie.
You don't know how absolutely devastated I was when you broke off our friendship or how terribly, terribly guilty I felt or how much I knew in my heart that your reasons, at the time, were well justified.
You don't know how much I've thought of you over the years. I probably couldn't admit that it's been every single day, but certainly a very large portion of the days that made up the last 12 years of my life.
You don't know how many times I've tried to find you. Where are you currently living, what's your email address, what's your phone number? Are you on Facebook? What sorts of social networks, if any, would you be likely to join?...
...But you will know all of the above about me and so much more. And I will get to tell you everything myself. Because I've found you. And you responded. And you say you've thought of me all these years as well.
Twelve years is a lot of years to catch up on. So much can change in that span of time - especially when you're talking about the years just after college to full-fledged adulthood. Family, travel, births and deaths. A better grasp of reality and appreciation for how things had to be back then.
I can't wait to talk to you on the phone and see you again. Can't wait to meet the important people in your life now and for you to meet mine.
Yes, things obviously have changed. But you've always remained important to me and I knew, somehow, we'd one day get past our stubborn, young ideals and opinions and find each other again. Our relationship now will certainly be different - twelve years of life and living will do that to you! - but I feel we will regain a uniquely strong friendship once again.
For, honestly - did it ever really go away?