Seat Belt Beans and Best Friends

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We were riding in the back of Megan’s mom’s old purplish-brown Chevy Monte Carlo. I attempted to unbuckle my seat belt so that we could go inside the restaurant for Megan’s birthday dinner. But as hard as I tried, the seat belt would not release, and I was stuck.

“My seatbelt won’t unbuckle!” I exclaimed from the backseat in anguish. Mrs. Jill, Megan’s mom, looked back at me from the driver’s seat, puzzled at first, and then she laughed as she realized the problem. “Oh, that’s because Amy stuck some kind of bean down in the buckle the other day!” She apologized and laughed at the same time. All of us in the car chuckled a bit, thinking about the bean impeding the seat belt from unbuckling, but also wondering how in the world I was going to get out of the car! It took some maneuvering, and a lot of laughs ensued, but I finally managed to wriggle loose, coming under the seat belt, which had to remain buckled.

This is only one of the many memories I have of my childhood growing up with my best friend Megan. We have known each other our entire lives; our mothers were friends prior to us being born (only 45 days apart). We were only a few months old laying beside each other on my mother’s dark blue carpet in an old picture together. We went to elementary school together during the school year and vacation bible school every year together at each other’s churches.

I eventually changed schools and we were no longer in the same classroom, but we still hung out together on the weekends. I can remember many sleepovers snuggled in sleeping bags in the cluttered playroom of Megan’s brick house. That playroom was a dang disaster, if I may say so. No matter how many times we cleaned it up, the organization didn’t last long, and it was back to a minefield of baby dolls, toy kitchen utensils, and plastic food items that we navigated back and forth across from the doorway.

There was a TV in the playroom, and we would stay up way too late each night watching Megan’s favorite show, “The Golden Girls.” Yes, we were young children, but for whatever reason, this was indeed my bestie’s favorite TV program (and still is today). I watched so many episodes with Blanche and her many suitors, and fortunately my young and innocent mind didn’t, at that time, have a clue what was really going on with her and all these men that visited that Miami house. I laughed at Sophia’s entertaining sense of humor, her feisty little Italian self always putting Dorothy and the other ladies in their place.

Once, my aunt took the two of us to spend a day at Carowinds amusement park. I don’t remember much from the actual day in the park, except for my aunt coming up with some crazy word, “Frugenlicker,” as for some reason “We were trying to figure out how people decide what to call things, such as inventions” (per my aunt). And thanks to my aunt, there is a picture posted on Facebook today that she found years ago and decided she would upload in order to embarrass the heck out of Megan and me. I’m wearing my white Old Navy dog shirt. (I really loved that shirt, for whatever reason.)

And then there’s the time we got reprimanded by Megan’s mom for washing a small kitten outside in the cool March weather. As young and uneducated as we were, we didn’t realize that it indeed was too cold to wash a kitten outside at this time of year. Despite the chilling bath, the kitten lived. Thank goodness!

Megan and I have so many memories together. Our Girl Scout troop and going to camp, chasing a pig around the backyard, so many birthday parties and Megan’s many birthday dinners at the Japanese Steakhouse (that was her favorite place), high school prom, just to name a few.

Megan grew up to become a preschool director at our local school in Hollywood, SC, where both of my children were enrolled for 3K and 4K. The circle of life has continued and she has played a large role in forming my own children’s’ young minds and first educating them in a setting other than home. I write this article today on my daughter’s 9th birthday after Megan texted me to tell my sweet girl “Happy Birthday.” She doesn’t have kids of her own, but she always remembers everyone else’s children and she loves them so much!

It’s hard to have friends as an adult woman.

And it’s hard to keep in touch with those friends, especially to keep in touch with a friend that you’ve had your entire life. I am so incredibly thankful for Megan’s friendship, and for God keeping her in my life for all these years. Friendships are so important, especially in our current times, and I always know that I have Megan by my side, even if now we don’t keep in touch like we should.

I am thankful for the women we have become, and the memories we have from our childhood together. I will forever have these memories, each of which makes me smile, and some that even cause me to break out into a complete fit of laughter. Most recently we added the memory of Megan’s father’s funeral to our list, and I’m sure as we grow older we will lose more people in our lives that we were close to.

Life changes, but our friendships live on, through the good times and the bad, the happy times, and the sad.

But Megan and I both know that we can each call on each other in one another’s times of need. Because we are not only best friends, but we are lifelong, true friends that will support each other no matter what. I treasure her friendship so much, and I love her much like a sister. And I’m so very blessed that God put her in my life, starting out just as little babies on that blue carpet.

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Cameron Dixon
Cameron was born and raised in rural Ravenel, just outside of Charleston. Her hardworking family owns a blueberry farm in Ravenel, which helped put her through rigorous nursing school at Clemson University. She has been a registered nurse for 10 years, working almost 8 years fueling her passion for caring for sick babies in the Neonatal Nurseries at MUSC. She recently changed nursing jobs, still exhibiting her passion for the tiniest patients and their moms, but now working as a Nurse Case Manager for high-risk maternity and NICU patients. Cameron is happily married to Andy, her handsome high school sweetheart, and together they have one beautiful daughter and one rambunctious son. They LOVE the outdoors, especially in the Lowcountry, and their favorite hobbies are boating in the picturesque waters around Charleston, riding their ATVs, and camping with their friends. She has five dogs, two of which are dachshunds, which she is obsessed with! Cameron loves living in the Lowcountry - her roots run deep in this land, and she couldn't imagine living anywhere else!

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